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Irish archbishop denies disagreement within hierarchy on civil partnerships

December 01, 2008

After Dublin's Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said that the Irish episcopal conference had not expressed an opinion on proposed legislation allowing civil partnerships for same-sex couples, the Irish Times saw "significant differences" between Ireland's two leading Catholic prelates on the issue. Archbishop Martin took issue with that analysis.

Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh had earlier delivered a stern warning against legislation that could undermine traditional marriage. Archbishop Martin said that other bishops agreed with the cardinal but "may have said it in different ways." The Dublin archbishop added that while opposing same-sex marriage, Church leaders were "not against other forms of intimacy." The Irish Times saw "significant differences of emphasis" in the archbishop's statement.

In a prompt reply to the Irish Times, Archbishop Martin decried what he said was "false interpretation" of his public remarks, and emphasized that he was "supportive of the basic content of Cardinal Brady's position." The archbishop went on to say that the relevant Christian teaching begins with an emphasis on the fundamental importance of marriage, but added: "I am fully aware of the need to protect the rights of a variety of people in caring and dependent relationships, different to marriage."


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