A formal research investigation by a Münster University research group in 42 countries worldwide, has shown that an overwhelming majority of German Catholics disagree fundamentally with Vatican doctrines on sexuality. This will not surprise anyone: the German bishops are far ahead of their international colleagues on many of these issues, professional German theologians have taken the lead in calling for a fundamental rethink on all issues of sexual teaching, and the culture of clericalism in the Church, and the largest lay organisation recently called for the Church to begin offering formal church blessings for same – sex couples in committed, permanent relationships (such as civil unions). Continue reading
A new opinion poll from Northern Ireland shows that the country strongly supports same – sex marriage, and that this support has surged in the past year (possibly influenced by the referendum in the Irish Republic. Support in 2014 was at just barely over 50%, That has now risen to 68%.
Of interest to Catholics, will be that they are far more likely to be in favour than Protestants, This is in keeping with results from elsewhere, but by an unusually large margin:
Meanwhile, those from a Catholic background are more inclined to voice support for gay marriage, with three quarters (75%) agreeing that homosexual couples should be able to get married, compared to 57% of those from a Protestant community background.
Attitudes appear to have changed significantly since a 2014 Belfast Telegraph/Lucid Talk poll. Then, 50.5% were found to be in support with 49.5% opposing gay marriage.
The Irish referendum has encouraged Italian politicians to move ahead with plans for civil unions and there is a strong majority in support. However, only a narrow majority support full marriage, and a large majority oppose gay adoption. In Italy, Catholic Church influence has stalled civil unions progress up to now, but a new survey for La Stampa shows that even among Mass going Catholics, a two-thirds majority (67%) support civil unions.
Civil unions: Yes 67%; No 27%; no opinion 6%
Gay marriage: Yes 51%; No 37%; no opinion 6%
Gay adoption: Yes 24%; No 73%; no opinion 3%
Some extracts from the La Stampa report, freely translated:
Civil unions “yes”, same – sex marriage “maybe”, gay adoptions “no.”
What would happen if the Italians, like the Irish, were called to vote in a referendum on gay unions? The picture that emerges from a Piepoli survey for La Stampa suggests a moderate reform in our society: two Italians out of three (67%) believe we should just amend existing legislation – our country, without a law on the subject, is now isolated in Europe – but only one in two (51%) would like to follow countries like Ireland, Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Great Britain, Luxembourg and Finland, where same sex marriages are legal.
Italians prefer to follow the German-Austrian model, which prohibits marriages but allows civil unions (although Berlin now wants to step forward).
Age and sex
In general, looking at the responses of the Italian by gender, we see that women are more open than men on the issue. The same goes for the young: the proportion favorable to gay marriage and adoptions falls with increasing age.
Another decisive variable, is religious orientation. Needless to say, practicing Catholics are against adoption (only 17% in favor) and marriage (56% say no), but the majority of those who pray and go to Mass regularly (57%) would accept civil unions .
Attitudes towards same-sex relationships are softening in Northern Irelandwith over half of us now in favour of gay marriage.
The number of people who believe that gay and lesbian relations are “always wrong” has also dropped by more than half over the past two decades, according to a new survey. In 1989, 76% believed such relationships were wrong. By 2012 it was down to 28%.
But more than a third expressed disapproval of gay adoption and of lesbians having equal access to fertility treatment.
Researchers from Queen’s University Belfast interpreted the data from the 2012 Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey (NILT), which uses a random sample of 1,200 people living across Northern Ireland.
Iglesia Descalza assessed the Univision global survey on Catholic beliefs on sexual ethics, which it describes (appropriately) as a “moral disconnect”.
Another survey (raw data spreadsheet available here), this time by Spanish language media giant Univision, shows that the moral disconnect between Catholics and their Church is not confined to the United States. Last week, Univision polled over 12,000 Catholics in 12 different countries about some of the most controversial issues facing the Church today. The countries included the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, France, Spain, Italy, Poland, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, and the Philippines.
While Pope Francis received an almost universal glowing endorsement from his global flock, with 87% rating his performance as good or excellent, the magisterium of the Church he heads up received substantially less unanimous support. Catholics, especially in Europe and the Americas, simply no longer believe many of the traditional teachings of the Church on many issues of sexual morality. There is more support in Africa and in the one Asian country surveyed. Eventually, the pope will receive all the results from the Vatican’s own survey on these issues administered through the dioceses but meanwhile, here is what Univision discovered:
– full analysis at Iglesia Descalza
- Iglesia Descalza: The Pope’s survey of Catholics (news.queerchurch.com)
- Theology Professor: Welcome Gay Couples (and Their Children) (queeringthechurch.com)
- A Powerful Set Of Answers To The Vatican’s Questions (enlightenedcatholicism-colkoch.blogspot.com)
- Catholic Bishop: “Homophobia is an illness” (queeringthechurch.com)
There is an abundance of research evidence to show that US Catholics reject Vatican doctrines on almost all elements of sexual doctrines, from contraception through masturbation and cohabitation, to gay marriage. Conservative Catholics often respond to this evidence with the claim that outside North America and Europe, things are different. From a global perspective, they claim, most Catholics support church teaching. Findings of a new global survey show they are wrong.
Pope Francis faces church divided over doctrine, global poll of Catholics finds
Most Catholics worldwide disagree with church teachings on divorce, abortion and contraception and are split on whether women and married men should become priests, according to a large new poll released Sunday and commissioned by the U.S. Spanish-language network Univision.
On the topic of gay marriage, two-thirds of Catholics polled agree with church leaders.
Overall, however, the poll of more than 12,000 Catholics in 12 countries reveals a church dramatically divided: Between the developing world in Africa and Asia, which hews closely to doctrine on these issues, and Western countries in Europe, North America and parts of Latin America, which strongly support practices that the church teaches are immoral.
The widespread disagreement with Catholic doctrine on abortion and contraception and the hemispheric chasm lay bare the challenge for Pope Francis’s year-old papacy and the unity it has engendered.
- Catholics around the world more liberal than the Vatican (prayingforoneday.wordpress.com)
- What do liberal Catholics want? (theweek.com)
- Vatican surveys find Catholics reject sex rules (sfgate.com)
- Vatican Surveys Find Catholics Reject Teachings On Sex, Contraception (talkingpointsmemo.com)
- Swiss Catholics Reject Sexual Doctrines (news.queerchurch.com)
- Global poll of Catholics shows more liberal views than traditionally held (al.com)
- “Real” US Catholics Love Pope Francis – and Support Gay Marriage. (queeringthechurch.com)
The Austrians have found it so, the Germans have found it so – and the Swiss have found it so: Most Catholics reject Vatican doctrines on sex and marriage.
Churchgoers surveyed: Catholics voice pragmatic attitudes about sex
Most Swiss Catholics are in favour of birth control and living together before marriage, according to a survey commissioned by the Swiss Catholic Bishops Conference. Nearly 24,000 people answered the questionnaire, which focused on marital and family issues.
The questions, posed by Pope Francis, were designed to help the Catholic Church get a better idea of the attitudes held by its members.
Asked how they felt about having a church wedding, about 80% said it was “important” or “very important”. Nearly all said that a Christian upbringing for their children was a priority.
However, as the SPI pointed out in its report on Tuesday, being close to the Catholic Church doesn’t mean participants agree with all of its guidelines.
For example, about 75% said they were in favour of couples living together before getting married to determine their compatibility as spouses. The survey also found that about 70% preferred artificial methods of contraception to natural ones – despite the fact that the Catholic Church is opposed to birth control.
Nearly 90% said they wished the church would recognise and bless marriages between divorced people. And about 60% said that the church should also recognise and bless same-sex marriages.
via – swissinfo.ch.
June is a big month for marriage equality. In the UK, it’s now clear that the House of Lords will approve the Marriage (Same – Sex Partners) Bill, in the USA, the Supreme Court will make two rulings that will most likely further advance the cause (while stopping short of declaring a full right to marriage). The Church of England has accepted that it has now lost the political battle against the gay marriage bill, and will instead concentrate on improving the detail. Already this year, three countries and three US states have legislated for equal marriage, and the Brazilian court has confirmed that even without legislation, gay couples have the right to marriage.
This political progress to full equality, and the fierce opposition that it has encountered, has obscured an even more remarkable movement, of greater significance for queer people of faith – extensive acceptance of civil unions/ civil partnerships, and of our relationships. This chart from the Pew Research Centre illustrates how strong this has been, in the USA. (Similar growth applies elsewhere).
Polls on gay marriage have become commonplace, especially in the US, done frequently by a wide range of polling firms. The Pew polls are particularly notable, because they’ve been doing it for a long time, and so have a powerful collection of comparable data with robust sample sizes, and also because of their specific interest in religion, as indicated by the name. (“Pew Research Centre” is associated with the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life). For any Pew poll, it is worth digging into the detail, for cross-tabs on religious denomination. This graphic illustrates the results for the question on “allowing gays and lesbians to enter into legal agreements with each other that would give them many of the same rights as married couples?”
% in favour of legal unions
For American White Catholics in particular, these results are remarkable: just more than four out of five support legal recognition – even more than for the “unaffiliated” group (essentially, those with no religion). In the UK, a similar pattern was observed in the House of Lords debate on the equal marriage bill. The interventions by Catholic peers included some from all sides – in support of the bill, in opposition to the substance but in favour of advancing to committee stage debate on detail, and opposition that was so strong as to reject even progressing to a second reading. But in all interventions, there was clear support for the principle of equality and non – discrimination – opposition was based only on concerns about the word “marriage”, and that civil partnerships or similar provided sufficient equality.
It is against this backgrounyd that we must assess recent declarations by Catholic bishops for some form of legal recognition and protection for same – sex couples. As os so often the case with Catholic bishops, like Gilbert and Sullivan’s renowned Duke of Plaza – Toro, they lead their regiments the church from behind, following where ordinary Catholics have already gone. Those speaking up now, are simply catching up with the real church. This catching up, what is more, goes well beyond the simple matter of supporting legal contracts to protect gay couples – it challenges the whole of church teaching on same – sex relationships. The same Pew poll shows it clearly – the majority of American Catholics no longer believe that “engaging in sinful acts” is sinful (once again this is up sharply from ten years ago), and even more now believe that homosexuality should be accepted by society:
However, opinions among Catholics have changed substantially. In 2003, more Catholics said homosexual behavior was a sin than said it was not (49% vs. 37%). Today, a third of Catholics (33%) say it is sin, while 53% disagree.
….. wide majorities of Catholics (71%) and white mainline Protestants (65%) say homosexuality should be accepted by society. And those without religious affiliation favor societal acceptance of homosexuality by roughly five-to-one (79% to 16%).
The Washington Post had a story last week headlined “The political war over gay marriage is over. The culture wars continue” (or something like that). Change “culture” to “religious”, and that’s my position, exactly.
The political wars will take time to reach completion, but it’s only a matter of time. The churches must now deal with the implications, for themselves. The cardinals and bishops who are speaking up publicly are only those will to show their noses. There are many more, just waiting to do likewise. Once they start talking about legal recognition, they will have to start talking also about the inherent value of these relationships – and then, of the need to find some way to recognize and celebrate them, in church congregations. That can’t be done, without accepting that same – sex love in itself, is not intrinsically sinful. Exciting times, ahead.
As the old platitudes for against gay marriage fade away, we need to create a more reasonable, constructive debate about the real meaning and value of marriage – and other forms of relationships. But this needs to look at the realities, not nonsense about labelling opponents as “homophobes” on the one hand, or dire warnings about the destruction of the institution of marriage, on the other. The fact is, that marriage has constantly evolved (been “redefined”) over many centuries, and taken countless forms in different societies. As Mark Jordan observes in his superb ”Blessing Same-Sex Unions“, many so – called “traditional” weddings today are far removed from any real religious content, with the chief presider over ritual no longer a priest or pastor, but the wedding planner – closely followed by the photographer, caterer and the florist. There’s as much of real Christianity in these marriages, as there is in the modern “traditional” Christmas, which has been equally debased by commercial interests.
Our experience as gay and lesbians in loving, committed relationships, without the distortion of these commercial weddings and based on real partnerships, freed from artificial and customary role models and patriarchal assumptions, will be useful in teasing out a new, revitalized understanding of the real value of marriage and other committed relationships – .useful for the whole church.
A continuing constructive debate about the religious value of marriage, as distinct from the secular protection in law, may well result in further redefinition of marriage – for the better.
“A revolution in attitudes towards gay men and lesbians: Church out of Touch”.
In this month celebrating 40 years since Stonewall, the Times reports this weekend on an important opinion poll showing strong support for further advancing legal protections for LGBT equality.
On marriage, the current situation provides for “Civil Partnerships”, which in practice and in legal status are almost identical to marriage, except in name. Even so,
“61 per cent of the public want gay couples to be able to marry just like the rest of the population, not just have civil partnerships.”
On adoption, the law currently insists on the right of gay adoption, and directs that adoption agencies should treat all potential parents equally. This has brought the Catholic Bishops into disputes with the law over the church agencies, but
“Half (49 per cent) believe that gay couples should have equal adoption rights, eight years after it became legal for them to adopt in a highly controversial move by Tony Blair. Some Roman Catholic adoption agencies are fighting to retain the right to turn away gay couples, which they are now specifically prohibited from doing. “
“But perhaps the most surprising discovery is that 51 per cent of the public want children to be taught in school that gay relationships are of equal value to marriage.”
- Equality and inclusion advancing, worldwide. (Queering the Church)
- UK Queer Christians Support Marriage Equality Campaign. (Queering the Church)
- The Roman Catholic Church indulges in moral relativism on civil unions (Pink Banana World)
- Straight Couple Denied Civil Partnership (Gay Rights Change)
- Straight Couples Fight For Right To Domestic Partnerships [Rights And Rites](Jezebel)
- Straight British couple seeks ‘gay’ partnership (The Himalayan Times)
- Watch: Third Couple Challenges Ban on Gay Marriage in the UK (Towleroad)
- Straight couple don’t want ‘patriarchal’ marriage (Pink Banana World)
- Will you ?Civil-Partnership? Me? (Pink Banana World)