Strong support for a radical reform of the Irish Catholic Church is disclosed in a survey by the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), in the run-up to Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland.
The survey was conducted at four regional meetings held in July, on the ACP website in early August, in parishes, and with a number of groups from different parts of Ireland representing priests and people with age levels ranging from teenagers to elderly.
Participants were asked an open-ended question – “What do you want to say to Pope Francis about the Irish Church?” – and could give single or multiple responses.
A total of 1,396 participants contributed 2,288 submissions.
Regarding the role of women in the Church, the survey concluded that they are coming up against a “culture of misogyny” within the Church, which “needs to be recognised and erased.”
With regards to priesthood and vocations, the survey concluded that the Catholic Church in Ireland is “going to disappear unless Rome allows priests to marry and lifts the mandatory ban on the ordination of women to priesthood and diaconate. Firstly, married priests and, secondly, women priests.”
Respondents also felt that the Church’s teaching on artificial contraception is “ignored by the vast majority of Catholics” and described Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s encyclical prohibiting artificial contraception, as an “unwanted intrusion into the personal lives of Catholics.”
On the issue of sexual abuse, the survey concluded that “full disclosures should be made and apologies given.”
With regard to the LGBT community who feel “incredibly unwelcome by the Church,” the survey found that there is “huge support” for this issue “to be respectfully addressed, particularly but not exclusively among younger respondents.