SOME 83 per cent of French priests favour the ordination of married men according to a survey published by the Catholic weekly, La Vie. Over a third would back the ordination of women to the priesthood, and 29 per cent support the idea of allowing priests to marry.
The survey, based on a representative sample of France's 38,000 Catholic priests investigated the decline in Church attendances in the country.
The French are' losing their faith is the overwhelming response to questions about the
decline in practice. Only 9 per cent of those questioned felt that the Church had failed to adapt to society.
The poll also showed evidence of the fundamental changes that the French Church has experienced over the past 20 to 30 years. A majority of priests now consider that some form of political or social content to the ministry is essential. Over two thirds felt it quite normal that priests should have another job outside the Church, and a third much preferred to be addressed by their Christian name than by the title "Father".