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Irish government abruptly cuts all funding for Catholic marriage-counseling agency

May 13, 2015

The Irish government has cut off all funding for a Catholic marriage-counseling agency.

The announcement that the government has blocked €378,000 ($429,000) in subsidies for Accord, an agency administered by the Irish bishops’ conference, comes at a time when the government has been at odds with the Irish hierarchy over a campaign for legal recognition of same-sex marriage.

With a national referendum on same-sex marriage scheduled next week, opponents of the measure have argued that if the referendum is approved, the government will block funding for Church-related institutions that do not recognize homosexual unions. The cut in funding for Accord will undoubtedly intensify those concerns.

In a May 7 letter, health minister James Reilly informed Accord that government funding was retroactive to January 1. The Irish Catholic reports that Accord had no prior notice of the cut, and had been operating on the assumption that the government funds would be forthcoming. Bishop Denis Nulty, the president of Accord, said that the surprise cutoff in government support “will certainly undermine a vital service provided to women and men preparing for marriage.” He observed that the agency would be placed in a precarious financial position at a time when demand for marriage counseling has risen dramatically. Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin remarked, in an interview with the Irish Catholic, that the government’s sudden decision to stop support for Accord conflicts with the constitutional obligation to support marriage. He also recalled that two years ago, the government had threatened to block funding for Catholic hospitals over a dispute on abortion.


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  • Posted by: rik92vin8086 - May. 14, 2015 9:08 AM ET USA

    Time to figure out what the core of Catholics want and fund internally. We can't be all things to all people when powerful entities want us addicted to their money...mammon. We need to reform our community. From there we can evangelize. Now evangelizing when we aren't confident who or what we are is like a fart in the wind.

  • Posted by: trini - May. 14, 2015 4:18 AM 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

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - May. 13, 2015 8:44 PM ET USA

    When you take government funding, it's "Eat my bread sing my song." The Catholic Bishops Conferences that take government money get co-opted by the secular culture. Let's hope that the Irish bishops tell the state, "You can take your money and put it where the sun don't shine!