Noel Baker reports in the Irish Examiner on the The Irish Examiner / ICMSA Farming Poll that brought to light the latest views and opinions on religion and the priesthood among the farming community.
Taken among what is regarded as a very traditional group (69% of the respondents said they attended Mass every week), 82% of respondents agreed that priests should be allowed to marry.
Regarding the ordination of women 70% of those aged 34 and under supported such a move, but a higher percentage of older farmers backed the idea of women priests, from 75% of those aged over 65, to 87% of those aged 55 to 64. While 82% of men supported the idea of women priests, 76% of women were in favour.
Sean McDonagh commented “The most interesting thing is here are lay people and people of faith seeing that the present rules are not functioning and want to see a change to allow it to function better,”
The survey certainly shows a hierarchy with views at total odds with the laity.
Archbishop Brown, Papal Nuncio, said "allowing serving priests to marry or allowing women priests would not be following the Catholic tradition."