UK survey points to issues ‘strangling’ Church

A survey by a UK group committed to the reforms of Vatican II has highlighted issues its authors say are strangling the Church.

A survey of 342 people, mostly Catholic, earlier this year by A Call To Action describes a widening gap between Church teaching on sexual and family ethics and the opinion and practice of many of the faithful.

Some 85 per cent of respondents rejected the Church’s ban on contraception and 88 per cent rejected the Church’s policy of refusing access to the sacraments for the divorced and remarried.

And 94 per cent agreed that the Church needed to be more welcoming to those in irregular relationships.

Sermons about family life were singled out by respondents as not being very helpful.

Respondents called for a more welcoming, family-friendly Church, less clerical and more open to lay involvement.

Lead author of a report on the survey, Andrew Hornsby-Smith said: “These issues are strangling the future of the Church at a time when the clergy is ageing and numbers are falling.”

“There are some real opportunities, but the Church leadership needs to modernise its policies, become more family friendly, and encourage lay involvement.”

The authors of the report said the project was conducted “in a spirit of critical loyalty”.

The authors admit, “It would be incorrect to claim that these results are a representative sample of churchgoers”.

Many of the respondents were older and white.

Nearly half (49.4 per cent) of those who completed the survey were more than 71 years old, while 37.6 per cent were in the 56-70 age bracket.

Objection to a question on abortion reportedly resulted in a reduced the availability of the survey.

The report has been given to the Catholic bishops of England and Wales as part of the Church’s preparations for the Synod on the Family in Rome in October.

Sources

News category: World.

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