Never ever! African, Filipino Catholics opposed to abortion and gay marriages

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CatholicsKenya: A new survey on the Catholic Church worldwide has revealed deep divisions between faithful in Africa and the Philippines on one hand and those in Europe, US and Latin America on the other regarding controversial issues.

The survey, carried out among some 12,000 Catholics from five continents, tackled issues ranging from gay marriage, abortion and divorce to ordination of women as priests, celibacy and contraceptives. According to the Univision survey, 66 per cent of Catholics in the five continents oppose same sex marriages while only 30 per cent favour the same.

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In Africa, 99 per cent of the respondents opposed gay marriages while the practice received support in the US where 54 per cent supported it while 40 per cent opposed it. In the Philippines, 84 per cent of Catholics were against same sex marriage with 14 per cent supporting it, while in Latin America 57 per cent were opposed to gay marriages and 37 per cent in support.

In Europe, 56 per cent were also opposed while 38 per cent supported it. See also: Abortion leaves candidate in hospital Pope Francis’ scorecard Commissioned by Univision, a Spanish media network in the US and conducted by Bendixen & Amandi International, the survey also sought responses on what Catholics think of the new head of the 1.2 billion followers of the church, Pope Francis, who took over the mantle about a year ago on March 13 from his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI. Pope Benedict, now Emeritus, chose to retire from the helm of the church, making him the first Pope to retire from the position in over 600 years. He resides at the Vatican where he concentrates on praying – his first major public appearance was last weekend when he attended an ordinary public consistory where his successor created 19 new cardinals.

One thing most Catholics across the globe agree on, according to the survey, is that Pope Francis is doing a good job. An overwhelming majority in all the countries that were polled rated Pope Francis at 87 per cent for the job he has been doing since he was elected, against six per cent who disagreed. They had been asked to rate the job that the Pope had been doing since he was elected a year ago. Pope Francis drew widespread praise last year when his remark on gays was interpreted as a softening of the Church’s stand on homosexuals. He said: “If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?”  However, while addressing the gathering of Cardinals at the Vatican last week, Francis called the family the “fundamental cell of society” and indirectly re-stated the Catholic Church’s opposition to gay marriage.

“From the beginning, the Creator blessed man and woman so that they might be fruitful and multiply,” he said. “The family is an image of God in the world”. And on Valentines Day, Pope Francis told 20,000 couples in St Peter’s Square that “living together is an art, a patient, beautiful and fascinating journey summarised in three words: please, thank you and sorry”.

The results of the Univision survey were released as the Pope himself sent out a 39-page questionnaire to all bishops around the world for ordinary Catholics to say how they understand and practice church teachings on marriage, sex and other issues related to family. The results will be discussed at an extraordinary synod of bishops in October at the Vatican on “the Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization.”

Abortion, contraceptives  Bendixen & Amandi International explained that their survey was inspired by the initiative by Pope Francis. “While the official Vatican study is not an opinion-based survey of the Catholic laity, the worldwide conversation begun by the Vatican’s announcement provided both the inspiration for and a unique opportunity to approach these issues from a different perspective,” the pollster states.

On abortion, 57 per cent of the respondents in all the countries were of the view that abortion should be allowed in some cases like when the life of the mother is in danger. Thirty three per cent opposed abortion completely saying it should not be allowed at all while nine per cent supported abortion in all cases. Now Watch: Abortions in Kenya Developing countries that include Philippines and those in Africa were strongly opposed to abortion, with 72 per cent and 60 per cent respectively stating that it should not be allowed at all.  Catholics sampled in Europe, US and Latin America were in support of abortion in some cases, polling at 67 per cent, 66 per cent and 68 per cent respectively.

While overall data shows 78 per cent of all countries sampled supported the use of contraceptives, with 19 per cent opposing, it is significant that the strongest opposition came from Philippines (at 68 per cent ) and Africa (52 per cent).  Latin America, US and Europe lead the push for the use of contraceptives at 91 per cent, 86 per cent and 79 per cent respectively.  On divorce, Catholics in the poll were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the Church policy that individuals who had divorced and remarried outside the Catholic Church were living in sin, which prevents them from receiving the Holy Communion.

In response, 58 per cent of Catholics in all the countries disagreed with this church policy while 38 per cent were in support. The respondents in Africa led in support of the church policy, with 75 per cent of them agreeing while 19 disagreed. In the Philippines 50 percent agreed with the policy while 46 per cent disagreed.In Europe, those who disagreed were 75 per cent and in Latin America 67 per cent. In the US, 59 per cent disagreed while 32 per cent were in support.  On whether Catholic priests should marry, the division was clear. The Philippines led in opposing the move with 76 per cent of the respondents, with Africa following with 70 per cent and Latin America at 44 per cent. Support came from Europe (70 per cent) and US (61 per cent).
standardmedia.co.ke

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