THE PHILIPPINES topped the list of Catholic nations in a global survey that tracked support for the Church’s stand on moral issues.

The “Voice of the People” survey conducted by Bendixen & Amandi International, a communication consulting firm, was a worldwide initiative of Univision, a US-based Spanish language TV network, to gather information on the extent of influence of the Church’s doctrines on Catholics.

The 12,000 Catholic respondents came from 12 countries that account for the 61 percent of the world’s Catholic population, namely: the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Italy, Poland, France, Spain, and Philippines, the only Asian nation included in the survey.

The Philippines gained the top spot on the list for its support to the Church’s position against marriage of priests, at 76 percent, and abortion at 73 percent.

However, most Filipino respondents deviated from the Catholic Church’s stand against the use of contraceptives, with the Univision survey recording a 68-percent approval of artificial birth control.

Half of Filipino respondents agreed that divorced and remarried individuals should not receive Holy Communion.

The survey also revealed that 92 percent of Filipino Catholics believe the Catholic Church should not perform same-sex marriage rites. Seventy-nine percent agreed with the Church’s teachings against the ordination of women for the priesthood.

Aside from the Philippines, support to Church teachings were also strong in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.

France, Spain, the United States, and Brazil had the lowest support for Church teachings.

Among Catholics worldwide, 46 percent rated the Pope as an excellent Church leader. Italy and Philippines had the largest number of Catholics who rated the Pope as excellent at 74 and 64 percent, respectively.

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In its report, Bendixen & Amandi International said that out of the 12,000 Catholics surveyed, 30 percent considered themselves as infrequent Church attendees, those who attend Mass or services a few times a year or those who never attended.

The report said the various choices of individuals worldwide constituted a “clear divide in opinion” on the issues discussed in the poll.

The survey was conducted ahead of the October 2014 Extraordinary Synod of Bishops which will tackle “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization.”

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in the United States, noted that some aspects of the poll were not reported by the media.

“The survey is revealing in ways that the media are choosing not to discuss. On the two most contentious moral issues of our day—abortion and gay marriage—there is little sympathy for the secular perspective,” Donohue said in a press release.

Donohue also emphasized the strong support of African and Asian countries to the Church’s teachings, and urged Catholics in the developed world to gain inspiration from them.

“It is still painfully obvious that Catholics in the developed world need to catch up with those in the developing world, especially those in Africa and Asia, in their support for Church’s teachings,” he said.

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