From a Special Correspondent
SLVEN out of ten Rome University students who answered a series of questions in a recent inquiry on their attitude to the Church opposed the intervention of the hierarchy in the political sphere.
The proportion taking this view (72.4 per cent.) was almost equalled by those who opposed Church intervention in the technical-scientific field (71.8 per cent.) and in artistic matters (64 per cent.).
On the other hand a big majority was in favour of the Church pronouncing on educational questions (78 per cent.), matrimonial questions (76 per cent.) and sexual questions (62 per cent.).
The inquiry was carried out among a group of 500 students, of whom over 80 per cent. had attended State schools. Only 6 per cent, belonged to religious associations such as Catholic Action. The group was equally divided between humanistic and scientific faculties.
The questions were prepared by II Salesian priest, Fr. Giancarlo Negri, to promote pastoral action among the students. Some of the 130 questions were "Have you spoken of the Church or of God in the last 15-20 days? "What is the most positive aspect of the contemporary Church? "What is its most negative aspect'?
"Do you consider the Church different from that willed by Christ?
"If the Church no longer had influence in Italy, in which sectors would there be an improvement or a decline?"
Seventy five per cent. of the students considered the Church infallible in matters ef faith but only 33.2 per cent. considered it to Ise the Church which Christ wanted.
The major objection against its practice, as distinct from its doctrine, was its "arbitrary political interventions". Consequently 38 per cent. considered that the political fife of Italy would improve if the Church had no influence.
It was no surprise that the women students were less critical of the Church than the male students. But an unexpected feature was the large number whose response to the question "What is the main way in which the Church makes its presence felt in the world?" was "With its churches and monuments"