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British Catholics disagree with Vatican teaching on sex, abortion and contraception

A recent poll which vividly demonstrates the range of issues on which British Catholic adults disagree with Roman Catholic Church doctrine on a number of important areas is consistent with other surveys on social and ethical issues, the British Humanist Association (BHA) has said today.

The YouGov poll for ITV of 1,636 Catholics details the number of social issues in which the view of the majority of Catholics differs from official doctrinal views. 

In the YouGov poll only 6 per cent of the sample agreed abortion is not permissible under any circumstance and 11 per cent believed it should only be permitted as an indirect consequence of life-saving treatment. This is compares to 44 per cent agreeing that abortion should be permissible in cases of rape, incest and severe disability to the child. A further 30 per cent agreed that abortion should always be allowed.

On artificial contraception, just 4 per cent of respondents agreed with the Church’s official view that artificial forms of contraception should not be used, with 71 per cent of those questioned answering that condoms should be used more often.  

On homosexuality, only 11 per cent agreed with the Church’s perspective that ‘homosexual acts’ were morally wrong. 

Commenting on the poll, BHA Head of Public Affairs Naomi Phillips said: ‘It is no surprise that just a tiny minority of British Catholics agree with the hard-line and inflexible doctrines of the Vatican on issues such as contraception or gay rights. In fact, surveys often show a large amount of agreement in the population towards social and ethical issues such as these or others such as assisted dying, regardless of respondents’ religious or non-religious beliefs, with majorities supporting more progressive, liberal perspectives.

‘It is both legitimate and necessary that the Pope is held to account for the illiberal policies and practices of his state, the Holy See, during his official visit this week. Our elected representatives should reflect the opposition of many people in this country to the Holy See’s policies, not least on reproductive and sexual health rights, the human rights of children, women and LGBT people, which conflict with UK policy in so many ways.’


For further comment or information, please contact Naomi Phillips on 020 7079 3585

See the full results of the poll here

Read more surveys and statistics on religion, belief and social attitudes 

The British Humanist Association is the national charity representing and supporting the interests of ethically concerned, non-religious people in the UK. It is the largest organisation in the UK campaigning for an end to religious privilege and to discrimination based on religion or belief, and for a secular state.

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