A new survey suggests that the majority of Irish Catholics favour married and women priests.

It also found that the Church's teaching on sexuality was irrelevant for almost three quarters of respondents.

The Contemporary Catholic Perspectives survey was carried out for the Association of Catholic Priests by Amárach Consulting.

1,000 Catholics were questioned over a two-week period in February.

It found that there was a disconnect between official church teaching and what Catholics actually believe. 87% said priests should be allowed to marry, while 77% said women should be ordained.

60% surveyed disagreed with the Church's stance on homosexuality. Only 9% ''agreed strongly'' with Catholic teaching that homosexuality is immoral.

One in three Catholics said they attended mass once a week and only 5% of those surveyed said they never went to mass.

When questioned about the serving terms of bishops, 55% of respondents said they believed bishops should serve a fixed term - as opposed to the current arrangement where they remain in the role until the age of 75.

Many also expressed negative attitudes to the new wording of church liturgy.

The Catholic Communications Office has said in a statement that "the recent Apostolic Visitation highlighted the need for a new focus on the dignity and role of all the faithful and for deeper formation in the faith."

The statement continued: "The results of this survey confirm the importance of all in the Church taking up this task in a spirit of communion and sharing the good news of the Gospel in a rapidly changing social and cultural environment in Ireland today".