A new poll commissioned by The Iona Institute shows that the public is split in its attitude towards the Catholic with 47 per cent currently viewing the Church unfavourably, while 46 per cent believe that Church teaching is still of benefit to society.
The poll was conducted by Amarach Research in September, only weeks after the public outcry following the publication of the Cloyne report and the attack on the Vatican by Taoiseach, Enda Kenny.
The main reason offered by those who view the Church unfavourably is the scandals. Twenty-two per cent of the public would be happy if the Catholic Church disappeared from Irish society completely. One in five people agree that the government is excessively hostile towards the Catholic Church
Commenting on the poll, Dr John Murray, the Chairman of The Iona Institute said: “The poll shows that the public is varied in its attitude towards the Church.
“On the one hand, almost half view the Church unfavourably and on the other almost half believe the teachings of the Church are still of benefit to society, despite the scandals.”
He continued: “The poll also seems to show that viewing the Church unfavourably doesn’t in itself indicate anti-Catholicism.
“This is probably to be found among the 22 per cent of people who say they would be happy to see the Church vanish from Ireland completely.
“The poll was conducted shortly after the publication of the Cloyne report when anger at the Church was probably still intense. It would be interesting to see what a poll conducted at a calmer time would find.”