A new survey by the Association of Catholic Priests has found overwhelming support from both clergy and lay people for women priests.

The survey was carried out ahead of the visit next week by Pope Francis.

The ACP says the survey sought the view of those directly involved in the church on a day-to-day basis.  They were asked their views on a number of issues including allowing priests to marry, the church's response to clerical child abuse and the attitude of the church to members of the LGBT community.

Replies to the survey also felt the church needs to do more to apologise for child abuse and people felt it should allow priests to marry.

Father Tim Hazelwood from the ACP says Pope Francis has spoken of the need to change the church from the bottom up and that the church needs to be a listening church.