A survey published less than two weeks ahead of Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland has shown that the majority of Irish people support married clergy, women priests and agree with former president Mary McAleese that women are not treated equally in the Church.
The Sunday Independent/Kantar Milward Brown poll surveyed 875 adults across 64 locations between 23 July and 6 August.
The poll shows that 62 per cent favour the ordination of women priests, while 18 per cent are opposed; 11 per cent say “it depends” while 9 percent do not know.
On the issue of married priests, 67 per cent believe priests should be allowed to marry, with 15 per cent opposed; 11 percent say “it depends”, and 8 per cent do not know.
Another finding shows 55 per cent of people agree with former president Mary McAleese’s views that the Catholic Church does not treat women equally. Just 15 per cent disagree and another 30 per cent either don’t know or believe “it depends”.
Support for Mary McAleese is strongest among women, with 60 per cent supporting her.
Analysis of the poll findings suggests that in general, there is stronger opposition to the Church’s teachings on women priests and married priests among women and young people. People in Dublin tend to be more inclined to question church teachings than elsewhere in the country.
On the Pope’s visit to Ireland, the poll shows that one in five members of the public will attend a ceremony as part of the occasion while 64 per cent say they will not. But 50 percent of people said they will watch the ceremonies on television or online or listen to them on the radio.
Writing in the Sunday Independent, Paul Moran of Kantar Millward Brown said of the poll findings: “In effect, over two-thirds (69 per cent) of the population will pay heed in one way or another to this visit. For some, it will be for religious considerations, while for others it will be for the curiosity factor.”