Catholics oppose condom stance
A poll has found that 79 per cent of Irish Catholic adults oppose church teaching prohibiting the use of condoms for any reason, including the prevention of HIV and Aids. Patsy McGarry, Religious Affairs Correspondent.
They were responding to the question: “The Catholic Church prohibits Catholics from using condoms for any reason, including preventing HIV and Aids. Do you agree more that: the church position on condoms is the right one and should not be changed; or that the church position on condoms is wrong and should be changed?”
It also found that 87 per cent of Irish Catholics believed Catholic hospitals in receipt of Government funding should be required to include condoms as part of Aids-prevention programmes.
The poll, conducted for the Catholics for Choice group and published to coincide with World Aids Day today, also found that 86 per cent of Irish Catholic adults believed condom use saved lives by preventing the spread of Aids.
Catholics for Choice, also known as Catholics for a Free Choice, is Washington-based and was set up in 1973 as a voice for Catholics who believe their tradition supports a woman’s moral and legal right to follow her conscience in matters of sexuality and reproductive health. The poll found that a majority of Irish Catholics (59 per cent) said they had never heard a Catholic priest or bishop speak out against the use of condoms.
Involving 829 Irish people over 18, the poll was conducted between August 21st and 30th by Washington-based Belden Russonello & Stewart agency.
In all instances, younger respondents were most in favour of condom use. Of the under-35s, 86 per cent favoured change in Catholic teaching, compared with 74 per cent of over-35s.
Similarly, 94 per cent aged under 35 believed Catholic hospitals in receipt of Government funding should be required to include condoms as part of Aids-prevention programmes, while 92 per cent under 35 saw the use of condoms as a measure in the fight against Aids.
The poll, which was also held in the US, Mexico, the Philippines and Ghana, found that Irish Catholics were the strongest supporters of change in church teaching on condoms.
In the US, 63 per cent favoured change compared with Mexico (60 per cent), the Philippines (47 per cent) and Ghana (37 per cent).
Irish Catholics were also strongest in favour of Catholic hospitals and clinics in receipt of Government funding including condoms as part of their Aids prevention programmes.
This article was originally published by the Irish Times on December 1, 2007.