• The problem with the survey commissioned by the Association of Catholic Priests is that is does not go far enough. They left out three questions that are fundamental to Catholicism.
(1) Do you believe that when a priest blesses a wafer and wine they turn into the body and blood of Jesus?
(2) Do you believe in the doctrine of original sin -- that a baby is born with sin inherited from Adam and has to be purified by baptism?
(3) Do you believe that Jesus was born of a virgin?
If you have a miraculous entry into the world, you then have to have a miraculous departure. The life of Jesus was written by the New Testament authors in a midrashic style, which is a creative retelling of stories from the Old Testament. They were not writing history.
It used to be church doctrine that the earth was the centre of the universe and that the sun orbited us. Copernicus, then Galileo, put an end to that view and the church had to change or become a laughing stock.
Then Newton, Darwin and Einstein made life difficult for the religious outlook.
Pope John Paul II appointed most, if not all, of the present cardinals as he reigned for 27 years. He was ultra-conservative and was only ever going to appoint those who shared his views. This is why change is so very slow in the Catholic Church.
But the church must change or die. If it doesn't, it will die of sheer irrelevance.
Stillorgan, Co Dublin