Poll finds Church divided on teachings

Clear East-West divide evident in poll

Catholics around the world are divided over Church teaching on subjects such as contraception and women priests, a major new survey claims.

Undertaken by Univision, an American-based Spanish language broadcaster, the survey, conducted among 12,000 Catholics across 12 nations accounting for the largest Catholic concentrations worldwide found that, aside from strong support universally for the Church’s teaching on gay marriage, Catholics are greatly divided in numerous other areas of teaching.

Perhaps unsurprising, the division at its simplest is seen as an East-West phenomenon, with Europe, the United States and parts of Latin America at odds with Rome on issues such as abortion and contraception, while Africa and Asia display strongly conservative numbers on these and other topics.

On abortion, for example, the survey reveals that while, overall, 57% of Catholics believe in the provision of abortion in some cases, such as a threat to the life of the mother, this jumps to 76% in the US, but falls to 27% in The Philippines.

On the Church’s bar on women priests, meanwhile, divisions are again clear, in the bar being supported by 80% of African faithful, 76% Filipino, against 30% in Europe and 36% in the US.

However, in addition to the stronger figures supporting Church opposition to gay marriage – 40% in the US and a staggering 99% in Africa, there is also universal support for Pope Francis as he approaches the first anniversary of his pontificate. A full 87% worldwide approve of the ministry of the current Pope, with the lowest regional support recorded in Mexico, at 70%.