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Agence France-Presse, May 5, 2007

Young Brazilian Catholics disagree with Vatican views on sex: poll

BRASILIA --When Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Brazil this week, he will visit a major Roman Catholic country whose young believers disagree with the Vatican's views on condoms and pre-marital sex, a poll showed Saturday.

While 96 percent of young Catholics back the use of condoms to prevent pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases, only three percent oppose it, according to the Ibope Institute survey.

In addition, 79 percent of young Brazilian Catholics do not agree with the Vatican's opposition to sex before marriage, while 20 percent favor abstinence. the poll showed.

Moreover, 88 percent believe someone can use contraceptives and remain a good Catholic, while 62 percent consider the Church behind the curve because of its views on condoms and pre-marital sex, the survey showed.

The survey, published in O Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper and Epoca magazine, was requested by Catholics for a Free Choice, a pro-abortion feminist group.

The poll was taken nationally over three months, between November and January, among 1,989 people aged 18-29.

Dulce Xavier, a sociologist at Catholics for a Free Choice, said the poll showed that "young Catholics, when it comes to sexuality ... behave like young non-Catholics."

Rafael Cifuentes, head of the Life and Family Episcopal Commission of Brazil's Conference of Bishops, said the Brazilians who were surveyed were "young people who say they are Catholic but do not practice Catholicism."

"They are Catholics only by name," he said.

The world's largest Catholic country greets Pope Benedict XVI from Wednesday to next Sunday.

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