half of Irish people "favourable view of the RC

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ctr
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Re: half of Irish people "favourable view of the RC

Post by ctr » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:00 pm

Cato wrote:
ctr wrote:I will copy a post from politics.ie

all credit to the user Cato
The Iona Institute has commissioned a poll by ‘Amárach Research’ into attitudes towards the Catholic Church in Ireland.

The results of the poll are here.

The article covering the poll on the Iona website is here.

David Quinn’s reaction to the poll in his ‘Independent’ column is to be found here.

Amárach carried out a nationwide survey of 1,000 people.

The percentage of people identifying themselves as Catholic is 69%, and of those only 44% have attended mass in the past month. (Which means, extrapolating from this poll, that only 30% of the population have attended mass in the last month.) The age profile of both matches what one would expect, i.e. fewer of the younger groups identify as Catholic or attend mass compared to the older groups.

Only 24% of the those surveyed have a very favourable or mostly favourable view of the RCC with 47% having a mostly or very unfavourable view. Of those who have an unfavourable view, the main factor for the majority is the child abuse scandals (56%).

46% agree that the teachings of the RCC are of benefit, but the age profile here tells a tale with only 33% of 15-24s and only 36% of 25-34s agreeing compared to 67% of 55+. Only 31% of the total number disagree that they are of benefit.

Only 20% of respondents believe that the government is hostile to the RCC with 40% disagreeing.

Finally, the report shows that the majority of those responding have grossly overestimated the percentage of priests that have been involved in abuse, with the average estimate being 28% compared to 4% who have been accused.

Amárach asked but they do not report the figure for those identifying themselves as having ‘no religion’.

The report confirms the battering that the RCC has received over that last decade or two and confirms the continuing decline in numbers of those identifying with the RCC and general religious practice of those who do identify themselves as members.
Why thank you!

The report confirms the continuing decline of religion in Ireland. From the points of view of the various churches, particularly the Catholic Church, now is really the time that they should be trying to strike a balanced deal, instead in a decade or two when they will be in the minority. Thankfully, they seem determined to try and maintain their dominance and seem unwilling to strike a deal - in a few years time they will end up negotiating from a position of weakness rather than their one of strength today. This is a mistake from their point of view, but a happy one for those of us who hold secular views.

It would be interesting to get an accurate read on the number of practicing religious people in the country, rather than just those who are nominally so. The Iona poll indicates that around 30% of the country are attending mass at least monthly. Along with the other faiths, the figure is unlikely to reach 50%. It is more than likely that in terms of 'practicing religious' that they are already in a minority.
Ah didn't know you were here....

Glad I gave the due credit :wink:
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UDS
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Re: half of Irish people "favourable view of the RC

Post by UDS » Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:56 am

Couple of thoughts:

Iona obviously have an axe to grind here, but if they want this research to be an effective tool in whatever lobbying or campaigning they hope to employ it in, they want it to be credible. It makes sense for them to employ an independent and expert research organization to conduct the research. I have no opinions, one way or the other, about Amarach, because I don’t know anything about them. But to my mind the credibility we attach to these figures doesn’t depend on the agenda of Iona, but on the reputation of Amarach.

The mass attendance figures may be a bit rubbery. There’s some evidence that people who are invited to estimate their own church attendance are inclined to overestimate it (they like to think of themselves as the kind of people who go to church, even if they aren’t), which might lead to the suspicion that fewer Catholics are going to mass than this survey suggests. On the other hand, the mass attendance survey was the last one asked, after a series of questions in which interviewees were given the option of expressing very critical views of the church, and to a large extent took that option. There’s some evidence that when you invite people to express criticism or dissent of any movement or institution, this (at least temporarily) weakens their affiliation with it, so they might become more likely to want to see themselves as the kind of people who don’t support it. And that could lead to under-reporting of mass attendance.

Either way, take the mass attendance figures as approximate, I’d suggest.

When it comes to views on the church, the “neither favourable nor unfavourable” cohort is surprisingly large, particularly in the younger age groups. On the one hand, this might suggest that their views are still capable of being influenced, and the church could yet win at least some of them over. On the other hand, this might suggest that they are pretty well indifferent to the church, which is a very bad position from which to try and win them over. And I suspect this figure represents indifference rather than open-mindedness.

More interesting, though, is that 24% of all adults have a favourable view of the church, and 27% of Catholics. You would expect a larger gap there. What this suggests is that, by and large, people are capable of separating their identification as Catholics (a matter of belief, or practice, or community) with their view of the institutional church. The fact that Catholic teachings get a markedly more positive response in this survey than the Catholic church does might tend to confirm that. So the high level of criticism of the church is good news for secularists, but not necessarily for atheists; it may not necessarily indicate or lead to a disaffiliation from Catholicism.

On the face of it, disenchantment with the church is largely driven by the clerical sexual abuse scandal. This is far and away the most often (spontaneously) cited reason for having an unfavourable opinion. But, of the other cited reasons, it seems to me that at least two (“cover-ups” and “loss of trust”) probably also refer to the sex abuse scandal, and the third (“history/structure”) may partly refer to it (e.g. because cover-ups illustrate that there is an unhealthy authority structure in the church).

The church might be tempted to conclude from this that, thought they have a big problem, it’s a focused one; it’s largely the fall-out from the clerical sex abuse crisis, and if they can get over that, rebuild trust, etc, things will get much better. I kind of doubt that myself. If people are asked why they are dissatisfied with the church, they’ll be tempted to cite the most obvious and most accepted reasons, but those won’t necessarily be the only reasons. My suspicion would be - though I admit I have little evidence with this - that the obvious dissatisfaction resulting from child sexual abuse is eclipsing a dissatisfaction resulting from wider and deeper issues.

The “incidence of abuse” estimate is a remarkable one. 18% think that more than half of Irish priests are guilty of child abuse; another 24% think that more than one fifth are guilty. In fact the available evidence suggests that the true figure is likely to be less than one in 20.

Some might could reason from this that criticism of the church is a visceral reaction which is not based on a true appreciate of the problem and that, with the passage of time, and a clearer perspective, and better awareness of the true position, this may abate.

I think they’d be wrong, though. The true lesson here is that a perception which is so wildly at variance with the evidence and the facts points to the strength of people’s shock, horror and disgust. Even if you inform them of the true scale of the problem, their horror at the nature of the problem is not going to go away. And too vigorous an attempt to inform the public of the truth could very easily backfire. “It’s only 4% of priests” can very easily sound like “it’s only 4% of priests, so it doesn’t matter”, and any perception that the church was taking that line would be disastrous for the church.
Last edited by UDS on Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
chemicals
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Re: half of Irish people "favourable view of the RC

Post by chemicals » Thu Nov 17, 2011 1:14 pm

UDS wrote:The fact that Catholic teachings get a markedly more positive response in this survey than the Catholic church does might tend to confirm that.
I would imagine a lot of people would totally disregard the Catholic teachings on - no sex before marriage ,contraception ,homosexuality and would be in favor of female priests and limited abortion ( rape & incest or threat to life of mother) .

So they should not get to uppity about that finding at all. the "teachings" most people would agree with such as compassion for the poor ,caring for the sick and elderly ,social justice ,peace and good will to all etc ,are neither the property of Catholics or Christians ,but are universal .

If Quinn and his cronies think that this means people who gave " a markedly more positive response" listen to ever word from Rome and agree with it he would be seriously mistaken !
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Re: half of Irish people "favourable view of the RC

Post by UDS » Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:23 am

chemicals wrote:I would imagine a lot of people would totally disregard the Catholic teachings on - no sex before marriage ,contraception ,homosexuality and would be in favor of female priests and limited abortion ( rape & incest or threat to life of mother).
Yes, I agree.
chemicals wrote:So they should not get to uppity about that finding at all. the "teachings" most people would agree with such as compassion for the poor ,caring for the sick and elderly ,social justice ,peace and good will to all etc ,are neither the property of Catholics or Christians ,but are universal.

Hmm. I don't think the "favoured" Catholic teachings are totally universal. To the extent that people approve of the Catholic social teaching on thinks like solidarity, inclusion, social and economic justice, fair trade, aversion to war, preferential option for the poor, etc, they'll also be aware that there are powerful forces in the world who take different views.

Someone like Michael D. Higgins, for example, who may in fact be an atheist, is very happy to align himself with church organisations on a lot of these issues and - I don't want to put words in his mouth - quite possibly thinks that in these regards the church is a force for good. He might not be alone. I suspect that the positive response towards "Catholic teaching" is influenced by considrations like this.
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Re: half of Irish people "favourable view of the RC

Post by chemicals » Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:28 am

UDS wrote:Someone like Michael D. Higgins, for example, who may in fact be an atheist, is very happy to align himself with church organisations on a lot of these issues and - I don't want to put words in his mouth - quite possibly thinks that in these regards the church is a force for good. He might not be alone. I suspect that the positive response towards "Catholic teaching" is influenced by considrations like this.
i would imagine so
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eccles
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Re: half of Irish people "favourable view of the RC

Post by eccles » Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:59 am

That Iona Institute: run by a mob pf Liars For Jesus?
em hotep

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