TWO-THIRDS of 50,000
French Catholics who responded to an informal survey by the bishops favoured keeping the obligation of priestly celibacy, and 40 per cent were opposed to priests holding non-priestly jobs.
Most of those replying were cautious about political involvement on the part of priests.
The survey was not scientifically conducted. It was merely a consultation initiated last spring without a precise questionnaire by the bishops and carried on by various newspapers, organisations and Catholic movements. The aim was to prepare for the national assemblies of bishops and priests in May and October.
Individual responses often stressed that the priest was "the witness of eternal realities," a consecrated man, separated from the world. Many said they regretted that the priest did not pray enough, or was involved in "activism." Many also said priests shou'd be submissive to the Pope and the bishops.
Despite the conservatism of most replies, a sizeable minority expressed the view that the structures of the Church must be entirely rethought, that priests should be able to work at non-priestly jobs and that married men should be ordained.
Many respondents said priests were "too clerical" and should be more concerned with co-operating with laymen.