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Jesuit Father Michael Kelly is a media professional with 40 years of experience in writing and reporting, editing and publishing, TV and broadcast radio production in Asia and Australia. For 10 years he led Asia’s leading Church media organization - UCA News. Currently, he is the English language publisher of the respected Jesuit periodical La Civilta Cattolica.
Jesuit Father Michael Kelly

Ireland

Irish poll shows new distaste for Church

Pope Paul VI once called Ireland "the most Catholic country in the world" but a new poll shows the majority of Irish adults now have a negative view of the Church.

Published: November 04, 2011 08:37 AM GMT
Irish poll shows new distaste for Church

DUBLIN, IRELAND -- In yet another sign that the beleaguered Catholic Church in Ireland has a long and arduous road to a brighter future, almost half of Irish people polled say they now have an unfavorable view of the church. Once famously described by Pope Paul VI as the "most Catholic country in the world," Ireland's church has taken a battering over the past two decades and lost credibility because of the cover-up of clerical sexual abuse. Twenty-eight percent of those polled said they had a "very unfavorable" view of the church, while 19 percent said their view was "mostly unfavorable." Just 8 percent reported that their view of Catholicism was "very favorable," with 16 percent saying they had a "mostly favorable" view. A quarter had no view either way. Of those with a negative view, three-quarters cite the abuse scandals as a reason. However, a significant 23 percent say their negative view is due to the church's history and structures. The poll, conducted for religious think-tank The Iona Institute, also reveals that many people dramatically overestimate the number of Irish priests who have been guilty of child abuse. Middle-aged Irish people have the most unfavorable view, with 58 percent of those aged 45 to 54 holding such a view compared to 46 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds. When asked what influenced their negative view towards the church, 56 percent said child abuse and 18 percent said the cover-up of abuse, but 23 percent cited the church's history and structure as the reason for their unfavorable view. Women are more likely to agree than men that Catholic teaching is still of benefit to Irish society, with 50 percent of women agreeing compared to 43 percent of men. Overall, 55 percent of people agreed that church teaching is of benefit to Irish society. Full Story:Poll: Irish Catholics have unfavorable view of churchSource: National Catholic Reporter

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