Austrians support priests' call for reform: Survey
Agence France-Presse August 29, 2011
A drive for reform by Austrian priests, urging the ordination of women and an end to celibacy, is meeting with widespread support, according to a new survey published Monday.
VIENNA - A drive for reform by Austrian priests, urging the ordination of women and an end to celibacy, is meeting with widespread support, according to a new survey published Monday.
A total 71.7 per cent of Austrians found the initiative "fair and adequate," with 64.7 per cent saying they would even sign a "call for insurbodination" launched in June, according to the Oekonsult polling institute.
The so-called "Priests' Initiative," signed by at least 200 clergymen, wants women and married individuals to be allowed to be ordained as priests, an end to the celibacy rule and the right for laymen to preach.
Members of other Christian faiths and anyone who has divorced and remarried should also have the right to communion, it says.
Among those surveyed, 30.7 per cent agreed that women and married people should be allowed to become priests, while 24.1 per cent favoured the abolition of the Roman Catholic Church's celibacy rule.
Some 86.8 per cent of respondents said celibacy created more problems than it had advantages for the Church, the Oekonsult survey showed, and 84 per cent believe that a refusal by the Catholic Church to reform could further alienate believers.
A majority Catholic country where every classroom and hospital ward still boasts a crucifix, Austria has nevertheless seen a significant flight from the Church following a sex abuse scandal last year.
Pressure from the initiative could help the Austrian Roman Catholic Church argue to the Vatican that reforms were unavoidable, according to 73.8 per cent of those polled.
The survey was conducted from July 20 to August 28 among 1,265 Austrians.
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