Irish people have fallen out of love with the Catholic Church and that’s official – a new poll says almost half of Ireland’s Catholics have an ‘unfavorable’ view of their church.
The clerical sex abuse scandals account for the dissatisfaction of three quarters of those polled while 23 per cent say that their negative view is down to the church’s history and structures.
The poll was conducted in September by the Irish pro-religious group, The Iona Institute.
It claims that 28 per cent of those polled have a ‘very unfavorable’ view of the church while 19 per cent are ‘mostly unfavorable’.
Just 8 per cent of the one thousand adults polled said that their view of Catholicism was ‘very favorable’ with 16 per cent having a ‘mostly favorable’ view. A quarter had no view either way.
Some 58 per cent of those aged 45-54 hold the most-unfavorable view compared with 46 percent of those aged 25-34.
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Just 46 per cent of those surveyed believe church teaching is still relevant and 55 per cent of Catholics agreed that church teaching is of benefit to Irish society.
Theologian John Murray from the Mater Dei Institute in Dublin, told Catholic News Service: “Having an unfavorable view of the church doesn’t necessary mean that person is anti-Catholic per se.”
He added: “The poll indicates that around a quarter of the population can be put in this category. That is quite a high percentage, but given the huge amount of understandable anger at the church because of the scandals, perhaps it is surprising the number isn’t higher than that.”
Ireland has been rocked by various clerical sex scandals in recent rows with a major row developing between the Government and the Vatican after the publication of the Cloyne Report earlier this year.
A Vatican report into the matters raised by the Cloyne findings is expected early next year.