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Irish bishops, in separate statements, plead for caution on same-sex marriage

May 11, 2015

With a nationwide referendum on same-sex marriage looming, several Irish Catholic bishops have issued statements opposing redefinition of marriage.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, however, said that although he will vote against the referendum, he is not happy with that option. “I don’t think that simply voting No is going to find the answers that I’m looking for,” he said.

“We have to find ways in which gay and lesbian people can have their love fully recognized in an equal but different manner,” Archbishop Martin said.

Bishop John Kirby of Clonfert took quite a different stand. “The coming referendum is not about equality,” he said. “ The differences between a man and a woman are not accidental to marriage but are fundamentally part of it.”

Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan of Waterford agreed: “The union of a man and a woman is different to any kind of relationship between two men or two women.” Bishop Cullinan questioned whether, if the referendum is passed, teachers and parents could face penalties for teaching children the Christian understanding of marriage.

Bishop Cullinan also raised the question of whether the referendum was “pandering to the desires of adults over the rights of children.” Bishop Leo O’Reilly of Kilmore raised the same point in his statement, saying flatly: “The referendum on same-sex marriage would put the wishes of adults ahead of the rights of children.” He also questioned whether priests would be obliged to solemnize same-sex unions.

“Marriage and family existed before the Church and before the State,” observed Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick, arguing that the state does not have proper authority to change the meaning of the institution.


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  • Posted by: bernie4871 - May. 11, 2015 8:02 PM ET USA

    If this is approved in Ireland, it will be like a break in a huge dam that stores the Faith, truth, beauty, simplicity, intelligence, aspirations and profound love of the Irish people - a love both for themselves and by the whole world that has admired them for so long. May the Mother of God intervene for this noble people and restore its greatness of heart. Much in history will depend on their courageous rejection of a lie.

  • Posted by: trini - May. 11, 2015 6:23 PM ET USA

    Same-sex 'marriage' is false to logic, to natural law, and to society, as well as to religion. When the British Government legalized it, it used two false reasons. It said, first, that 'equality' demanded it. This is logical nonsense: the family unit of husband, wife and children, the core of society, is NOT the same as or equal to same-sex union. Secondly, it claimed that including same-sex unions as 'marriage' would strengthen even traditional marriage Nonsense. It has destroyed marrriage.