November 15, 2010

Irish Catholic women feel that they are not sufficiently appreciated by the Church, but their faith remains strong, according to a newly published survey.

The research, which compared attitudes between Catholic and Protestant women, found that 74 per cent of Catholic women surveyed felt that the Church did not treat them with “a lot of respect.”

Among Protestant women, just 6.3 per cent felt that lack of respect.

However, 61 per cent of Catholic women said they looked to Mary as a positive role model who empowered them within the Church, compared with 27 per cent of Protestant women who looked to Mary.

When given a statement that the Church had tried to control their position in society, 72.3 per cent of Catholic women agreed compared with 19.7 per cent of Protestant women.

The research was carried out by Trinity College Dublin among more than 500 women across 12 counties in the Irish Republic between 2002 and 2006. Dominican Sister Geraldine Smyth of the Irish School of Ecumenics said she was not surprised by the figures.

She said the high percentage “needs to be listened to and attended to, not written off as lunatic fringe.”