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Church and flock clearly at odds now

THE Church in Ireland has less and less in common with Catholics here. That's the chief conclusion to be drawn among the many to be taken from a survey commissioned by the Association of Catholic Priests.

The vast majority of Catholics surveyed disagreed with the Church teaching on a number of fundamental issues -- celibacy, women priests, homosexuality and the Vatican's teachings on sexuality.

The extent of the disagreement should shock Church authorities.

Nine out of ten believe that priests should be allowed to marry, three quarters support the ordination of women priests, almost half oppose church teaching on homosexuality and three quarters see its teaching on sexuality in general as irrelevant.

The gap between the official Church and its grassroots members has surely never been as wide.

The Catholic Church should listen to its flock - but will it?