A telephone survey of 500 Austrian parish priests found 79 per cent support allowing married men to be ordained, and 51 per cent think women should be allowed to become priests.
Commissioned by ORF (Österreichischer Rundfunk: "Austrian Broadcasting"), 51 per cent said the Vatican does a poor job of handling sexual abuse cases.
A survey earlier this month of 406 Austrian Catholic priests by researchers from Kepler University in the Upper Austrian city of Linz found that more than half supported putting an end to celebacy.
Austrians in general support harsher reform, according to the Viennese public opinion agency Karmasin. They reported that "57 per cent of the 500-odd Austrians they interviewed were of the opinion Pope Benedict XVI should resign amid the wave of alleged sex abuse incidents across Europe were there a rule that enabled him to do so."
Their call for reform isn't toothless. Like Americans, Austrians have been leaving the Roman Catholic Church in droves:
Earlier this week, the head of the Vienna archdiocese's church tax office estimated that up to 80,000 of Austria's roughly 5.5 million Catholics could leave the church this year — a new record. Last year alone, 53,216 people formally had their names removed from church registries, a 31 percent increase compared to 40,654 in 2008.
Adding married men and women to the ranks of candidate priests could find doctrinal acceptance after the practical necessity has departed.