.- A survey of Catholics' opinions on condom use has been conducted by a Washington, D.C. advocacy group, the Columbus Dispatch reports. It shows that significant numbers of Catholics dissent from church teaching about condoms.
An organization calling itself Catholics for Choice conducted a poll asking self-described Catholics in the United States, Ireland, Mexico, the Philippines, and Ghana to agree or disagree with the statement "using condoms is pro-life because it can prevent the spread of AIDS."
79 percent of 1,009 United States Catholics surveyed agreed with the statement. The respondents in other countries who agreed with the statement numbered 90 percent in Mexico, 86 percent in Ireland, 77 percent in the Philippines and 59 percent in Ghana.
The nearly 4,500 respondents were also asked whether church teaching on condoms should change. Sixty-three percent of U.S. respondents said yes and 22 percent said no. Majorities agreed in Ireland and Mexico. In Ghana, 63 percent assented to the current teaching, and Filipinos were divided evenly.
In all countries, majorities said they had never heard a Catholic priest or bishop speak against the use of condoms.
"We continue to have our work cut out for us" in educating laity about church teaching, said Deacon Tom Berg Jr., vice chancellor for the Diocese of Columbus.
Mark Fleming, a 46-year-old Ohio Catholic who volunteers at a prison ministry, explained his understanding of Catholic teaching: "I firmly believe God is against birth control," he said. "You put God back into the equation, not condoms."