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Seventy five per cent of Catholics in Ireland say that Church teaching on sex is not relevant to them or their families, according to a new poll.
The survey, carried out by Amárach Research, asked over a thousand Irish Catholics, both those who don't attend Church as well as regular Mass-goers, “Do you believe that the Catholic Church’s teachings on sexuality are relevant to you or your family?”
According to the poll, commissioned by the Association of Catholic Priests, 75pc said No and 25pc said yes.
Among those aged 25-34, those saying that the Church's teachings had no relevance to them personally rose to 82pc, and among those aged 45-54 those saying no rose to 84pc.
The number saying that Church teaching on sexuality was relevant jumped to 39pc among those over 55, and 43pc among weekly Mass goers.
The poll also found that a majority of self-described Catholics disagreed with the suggestion that “any sexual expression of love between gay couples is immoral”.
Respondents were asked: “To what extent do you agree with the Catholic Church’s teaching that any sexual expression of love between gay couples is immoral?”
Sixty one per cent disagreed, while 18pc agreed. Women (70pc), those aged 25-34 (68pc) and those aged 45-54 (67pc) were the most likely to disagree with Church teaching.
Men (23pc), those from Munster (25pc), those aged over 55 (23pc) and weekly Mass-goers (26pc) were more likely to believe that homosexual acts were immoral.
There was widespread support for the right of the Church to speak out in the public square on a range of issues.
Respondents were asked: “Should the Catholic Church speak out on issues such as the current economic climate, social issues and climate issues facing Ireland?”
Eighty per cent said the Church should speak out on social issues, with those aged 45-54 (89pc), those from Northern Ireland (89pc) and weekly Mass-goers (85pc) most likely to agree.
Sixty eight per cent agreed that the Church should speak out on the current economic climate, with those aged 35-54 (68pc) those from Northern Ireland (71pc) and weekly Mass-goers (71pc) more likely to agree.
Fifty four per cent said that the Church should speak out on climate change, with those aged 35-44 (61pc), those from Northern Ireland (66pc), weekly Mass-goers (61pc) most likely to agree.