Religion: A Question of Freedom

The evidence has been mounting for years that many Roman Catholic priests in the U.S. disagree with several key teachings and disciplines of their faith. Now there is additional proof. In a major survey of some 6,000 U.S. bishops, priests and former priests conducted by Chicago's National Opinion Research Center, 54% of the priests questioned want optional rather than compulsory celibacy for diocesan clergy. On another controversial issue, the study found that Pope Paul's condemnation of artificial birth control "does not command majority support" among the surveyed priests.

The conclusions of the survey will offer cold comfort to the U.S. hierarchy, which,...

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