Tuesday, January 26, 2010

73% of Belgian Catholics support married priests

The Beligian newspaper, Le Soir, this week published the results of its survey of Catholics and their beliefs and practices in that country in a series of articles under the general title "The Jesus Crisis". Among the findings: 73% of Belgian Catholics now support allowing priests to get married. This is up from 66% in favor of abolishing mandatory celibacy in 2005.

The survey also finds the same disconnect on issues of sexual morality and "life" between Catholic laity and the Magisterium that has been noted in surveys in other countries:

  • Only 1% of Catholics surveyed said that they always follow the teachings of the Church to the letter in sexual matters while 48% said that they "never" follow the Church on these issues
  • 90% of Catholics surveyed supported the use of artificial contraceptives
  • 61% supported euthanasia
  • 39% were tolerant of abortion

All of which may explain the most dramatic finding in the survey and one which should give the Church in that country pause: one out of three Beligian Catholics has abandoned the faith. While 87% of those surveyed were born into Catholic families, today only 60% still consider themselves Catholic. According to the survey, the percentage of Belgians who consider themselves Catholic has been steadily declining from 72% in 1980 to 68% in 1990 to 60% today.

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