The people have spoken …

So there it is. The referendum on same-sex marriage is over, carried by a huge majority. It’s over because the people have spoken.
Friday was a red-letter day for Ireland, marking a journey of over twenty years since Máire Geoghegan-Quinn’s careful 1993 bill decriminalising homosexual acts. On Saturday, Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s first outwardly gay minister, described the referendum result as evidence of a social revolution. And on Sunday, reading the details of the count in constituencies – with just one registering a No majority – it is clear that Ireland is now a different country.
Is memory playing tricks or can it possibly be true that less than 20 years ago the divorce referendum was carried by less than 10,000 votes?
It’s extraordinary how far we’ve come in such a short time. Most societies, as in Britain, slowly and carefully edged forward with the gay issue over the space of a century through a process that was achieved in Ireland over just two decades. Change, as we know, usually comes ‘dropping slow’, the result of a gradual process when one jump at a time is challenge enough. But this was a roller-coaster.
In Ireland, in recent years, change in huge social and moral issues like contraception, abortion, divorce, has meant taking a series of jumps, one after the other, not on the basis of political manoeuvring but, extraordinarily, mostly as a result of popular votes. And while there was an occasional stumble at a series of triple jumps, the process had about it a certain inevitability. The notion that some kind of nineteenth-century Ireland could survive in a twentieth-first century world, at odds with modernity, was sure to implode.
The first indication that the Yes side would win was in the rare consistency of the polls. The 70 to 30 percentage points lead for the Yes side, survived right through the campaign. There was no discernable wobble, even when the British election polls were shown to be inaccurate.
The second telling factor was the effectiveness of the strategy of ‘story’ versus ‘analysis’. The Yes side had most of the important and emotional words – equality, fairness, and so on; the No side had to deal with words like constitutional, legal, re-definitions, etc – though they recognised the effectiveness of focussing on children.
People didn’t understand or weren’t interested in legal distinctions. More tellingly, for the Yes side, there was ‘the grip of the story’, the power of personal witness. Telling the story was much more persuasive than analysing the issues and it helped people make up their minds at an instinctive level.
A third factor was the intervention, in particular, of Mary McAleese and Ursula Halligan, both coming from an avowedly Catholic background. Again, both had human stories to tell: one, a former president and the nearest we have to a mother of the nation, supporting her gay son; the other, an authoritative journalist and a private human being, moved to announce her sexual orientation to the nation, even though she knew that she would find herself blinking in an uncomfortable spotlight.
A fourth factor was the breakdown of the political presumption that elderly, conservative Catholics would all vote No. During the campaign I was amazed how many older people indicated that they were going to vote Yes. In talking to them I became convinced that the Yes side was home and dry.
A fifth factor was the politicisation of the young, who roused themselves from their usual lethargy to campaign in support of their gay friends and employing social media to enormous effect. The ‘home-to-vote’ campaign became almost an iconic demonstration of the all pervading influence of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube and the determination of the young to have their voice heard.
For the Catholic Church, the campaign has been an unmitigated disaster. The only consolation is that if the referendum was defeated the damage to the Church and the effective diminishment yet again of the authority of the bishops would have been even greater.
Damned if we did and damned if we didn’t, it was clear from the beginning that the bishops’ decision in policy terms to campaign for a blunt No vote was alienating even the most conservative of Irish Catholics.
The clear and simple truth is that, in a country where at the last census 84% of the population designating themselves as Roman Catholic, 62% of the referendum vote opposed the bishops’ view. A clear message for the Church is that the bishops’ view was roundly rejected not just by the gay community, or those sympathetic to its views, but by tens of thousands of ‘ordinary’ Catholics.
The damage inflicted on the Church is significant. What we needed, it can be argued, were prophets to give some inspired leadership but all we got were civil servants looking over their shoulders.
Questions will now be asked about who decided on this proactive stance against the popular mood of the country. Questions too about why if, 30 years ago, in the debate on whether there should be a constitutional pro-life amendment, the bishops said Catholics in good conscience could oppose it, why the same freedom was not allowed to Catholics in this referendum. It was left to the Church of Ireland to articulate a core Catholic value – the primacy of conscience.
In some ways, the fracturing of the Catholic stance, through the interventions of individuals like Fr Peter McVerry and Sister Stan and others, will retrieve a modicum of respect for the Catholic Church but there’s no doubting that this is another significant body-blow to the position of the Catholic Church in Ireland.
This is a watershed in Irish history, and its implications need to be addressed urgently. For instance, this vote is compelling evidence that the Catholic Church is very much out of sync with the temper of its people. There’s a massive change taking place in Ireland and, once again, the Catholic Church finds itself out-thought and out-manoeuvred, too influenced by the conservative right, too impressed by groups like Iona, patently lacking the leadership or the confidence to engage with modernity and above all trailing too far behind its people.
Trying to keep out the tide is always a failed enterprise. When will we learn that simple truth?

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  1. Joe O'Leary says:

    I interpret the referendum as showing the world the true face of Irish Catholicism.
    My support for gay marriage was swept from the relatively “notional” to the fully “real” (in Newman’s terms) in the last days of the campaign — Mrs McAleese’s speech and the awesome spectacle of the returning young exiles, some sacrificing their last penny, changed the issue from one of a convergence of convincing factors to a vital imperative.
    The clergy were actually quite gentlemanly in the referendum debates (putting their French and American counterparts to shame), but what was shown up is that they are not in dialogue with their people — not in dialogue with gays, not in dialogue with the young, and not even in dialogue with the grannies who were among the most passionate Yes voters.
    I suggest that every Irish cleric should do a repentance exercise, casting out the shadows of trimming and caution that left gays in the lurch again and again, and that also left the faithful in the lurch. Why were we not able to show them the love and joy and honesty that the young people of Ireland were able to turn on so abundantly? What a blessing it would be if the people who ran the Yes campaign would take charge of our drab liturgies. Of course many of them may be active in church and charity work; they should be allowed to flourish in freedom.

  2. Eddie Finnegan says:

    As he has done over the past five years here, and especially over the past five weeks or more both here and in The Western People, Brendan has been calling on the bishops for a reality check across the board, not just on the recent referendum issue. It would be ironic if the still brightest but somewhat wavering hope among the bishops, Diarmuid Martin, doesn’t quite get it in his initial analysis of Friday’s result, for all his talk of the need for the bishops to instigate that reality check. Certainly a few of the more recent recruits to the bishops’ top table haven’t distinguished themselves by either heart or intellect over the past couple of months. To paraphrase a suggestion from Fr Adrian Egan in this morning’s IT, maybe a period of ‘prayer and reflection’, but particularly SILENCE, from their quarter between now and the October Synod would be a consummation devoutly to be desired.
    Bishop-bashing, however, is too popular and too easy a sport. At the risk of boring even myself with an old question, where and under which bushel have the remaining 1,065+ ordained members of this Reform group been hiding their lights or tapers over recent months? The decision by the ACP leadership, following consultation with members, not to adopt a position in favour or against the Marriage Equality referendum was very wise. The purpose was to encourage “a respectful and civilised debate in which the issues involved can be discussed in a calm and reasonable manner.” The purpose was certainly not to encourage more than a thousand pastors to be silent, restricting expression of opinion and insight to Brendan, Pádraig, Joe, Seamus, Iggy or Adrian.
    Providing “a forum and a voice to reflect, discuss and comment on issues affecting the Irish Church and society today” (as it says on the tin) does not mean leaving it to a small handful of priests, and an even smaller thimbleful of parish pastors, to do all the discussion and communication on behalf of an allegedly reform minded group of over a thousand. If the issues of Gay Marriage, or Marriage Equality, or Marriage of Homosexually Oriented Persons (take your pick!) is not an issue affecting the Church and Society, worthy of open discussion by reform oriented pastors, what on earth is?
    Seems to me that that reality check across the board needs to begin with the 1,000+ progressive pastors of the ACP. Let the bishops shovel out their own Augean stables. Which will prove the more Herculean task, I wouldn’t care to bet.

  3. In ways its as if people were voting on two different questions. If someone believed it was primarily about equality and inclusion, then it was obvious any Catholic had to vote yes.
    If someone believed it was primarily about redefining marriage and stripping it of its essence, then it was obvious any Catholic had to vote no.
    I think all of the young people who voted yes actually put into practice the values they had been presented with in Catholic Schools.
    We also shouldn’t forget that the church has always said that it doesn’t recognise civil marriage of any kind, so one could argue that whether the state recognises same sex marriage or not is irrelevant to the church.
    I think it would be very helpful as we move on if we could all accept that the vast majority of people who voted on the opposite side to us did so from genuinely good motives. What we had here was a clash of two goods, which is always very difficult.
    Hopefully we wont have any businesses targeted because they feel they cant be involved in same sex marriages.
    I think another unhelpful development is that the debate tended to define people by their sexuality. It’s never been clear to me who comprises the LGBT community, and how one becomes a member. It’s always dangerous, in my opinion, for any minority to define itself as someway ‘other’, as it allows others to define the minority that way aa well. For that reason I find events like the Gay Games incomprehensible.

  4. Eugene Sheehan says:

    Eoin O’Sullivan, OFM Cap. wrote an article in the May 2010 edition of The Furrow titled “On including the gays” for which he received a severe sanction from Rome & continues to require approval from his order for any further public writings.
    This article helped to open my mind & my heart to understand the “naturalness” of homosexuality, especially to gay people themselves.
    However, I despair at the ability of the institutional Church to grasp the essential humanity of the issue & find myself moving towards a Christianity without religion.

  5. Damien Murphy says:

    So Fr. Hoban calls the Same-sex “marriage” an unmitigated disaster. Well, maybe it would not have been this way if the ACP had actually taken a stance on the issue

  6. Leftlongago says:

    quote “It’s extraordinary how far we’ve come in such a short time. Most societies, as in Britain, slowly and carefully edged forward with the gay issue over the space of a century through a process that was achieved in Ireland over just two decades”
    another viewpoint is that the Irish were 80 years behind others only 20 years ago….
    The Celtic Tiger arrogance that something ‘amazing’ has happened (a popular vote to change a Constitution) that makes Ireland unique ignores the fact that Catholic Church meddling and influencing DeValera etc necessitated a popular vote – other countries simply legislated in parliament.
    In many ways its much ado about nothing – maybe Irish are maturing and seeing the difference between a ‘God’ and the conduct of the Catholic Church (one of many self appointed ‘moralists’/rule setters).
    The vote was really just splitting Church and State.

  7. “why the same freedom was not allowed to Catholics in this referendum”, that’s a good question.

  8. Joe O'Leary says:

    The nice thing is that the vote just transcended all the clerical issues and went straight for the human core values of freedom, equality and fraternity. Church obsessives are fretting about nothing. The clerical voices were heard, and discounted. It’s not the end of the world, and it’s not even a disaster — it is just a little challenge to the clergy to match the humanity and honesty of their people. Vito Mancuso calls the Irish vote a vote for “integral love” — both at the individual and the communal level. So many of the Yes voters used the word “love” with a clear and strong sense that they knew what the word means; if only out bishops could do the same…

  9. “For the Catholic Church, the campaign has been an unmitigated disaster.”
    I can understand why Catholic bishops tend to equate ‘the church’ with themselves, but why on earth does Brendan do that? Is it not ACP policy to advance an understanding of the church as the ‘people of God’ – for whom Friday’s vote was anything but ‘an unmitigated disaster’?
    Our bishops are NOT ‘the church’ and THEIR disaster was visited upon them BY a church in widespread revolt against (i) being taken for granted, (ii) an unsustainable and absurd working theology of sexuality, (iii) the total absence of bishop accountability, (iv) the consequent denial of genuine communion in the church by men supposedly appointed to promote it.
    It is surely time for the ACP to refuse to accept the media mantra that ‘the church’ is finished just because an old authoritarian wineskin has burst. Where is your sense of mission, optimism, a new beginning?

  10. Pádraig McCarthy says:

    The subject of homosexuality and marriage have been widely and publicly discussed in Ireland. Even if the vote had been No, the debate would have helped promote the dignity and safety of all gay people. Many participated actively. Great.
    Brendan writes: “People didn’t understand or weren’t interested in legal distinctions. “ If that is the case, this is a down-side to the referendum and a serious failure on the part of the government to address this. We know to our cost that legal distinctions can have serious repercussions.
    “ Damned if we did and damned if we didn’t, it was clear from the beginning that the bishops’ decision in policy terms to campaign for a blunt No vote was alienating even the most conservative of Irish Catholics.” I agree; I too found it alienating. I wrote to the Conference of Bishops urging them not to be negative in their campaign, but to put forward some alternative positive suggestion for addressing the injustice done to gay people. I got no reply, and it made no difference.
    “What we needed, it can be argued, were prophets to give some inspired leadership.” It seems to me that prophets typically speak clearly against the dominant paradigm, knowing that it is counter-cultural, and still speaking with “parrhesia”, with courage to speak even when it is dangerous to confront the prevailing climate.
    “In the debate on whether there should be a constitutional pro-life amendment, the bishops said Catholics in good conscience could oppose it, why the same freedom was not allowed to Catholics in this referendum.” Perhaps I’m missing something here. Did any bishop’s advice say that a Catholic was obliged to vote No? To say that Catholics in good conscience are free to vote Yes would be saying something that Catholics already know. In the Furrow in February I argued that even a person who is unhappy about same-sex relationships could in good conscience make a wise decision to vote in favour of appropriate legislation. But then, I’m not a bishop.
    “Trying to keep out the tide is always a failed enterprise. When will we learn that simple truth?” Calvary was such a failed enterprise. When will we learn that simple truth?
    JimK @4 writes: “We also shouldn’t forget that the church has always said that it doesn’t recognise civil marriage of any kind, so one could argue that whether the state recognises same sex marriage or not is irrelevant to the church.” I may be mistaken, but I think the church recognises the validity of civil marriage for a person who is not a Catholic. Can someone shed light here?
    The biggest failure in the debate is to see marriage as almost exclusively a one-to-one contract, just looking to the State for respect and support. It’s a much bigger picture than that. Impersonal relationships, such as commercial ones, are more typical of those that give rise to legal regulation, not intimate personal ones. Why were other personal and valuable relationships excluded? Not because of discrimination. The reason the State has a stake in marriage is that a heterosexual union is vital for the continuance of society and of the State itself. With the Referendum it seems the State will not be permitted to favour potentially procreative unions over non-procreative unions.
    This is not academic. Society in the EU today is not family-friendly. Ireland has the highest birth rate in the EU, and is just below replacement level. The EU level at 1.6 live births per woman has extremely serious implications for coming generations. A UN report (Chesnais 2000) says: “1.2 to 1.5 children per woman. Heavy and structural contraction, which digs a deep hole at the basis of the age pyramid and consequently compromises the future of the society at large. Limited chance to get a return to equilibrium ; evaporation of population numbers.”
    In climate change we’ve started to take some baby steps. What must we do in “Human Ecology “? It is quite literally vital that the State be able to favour stable procreative unions, not so as to discriminate against other relationships however loving, but to safeguard society for coming generations. Have we just ruled that out?

  11. Martin Henry says:

    It really is remarkable on so many levels how deeply ignorance runs in the
    Catholic Church. Commenting on any lesbian and gay issues is not a matter of
    “sexual morality” since being gay or lesbian isn’t a thing a person DOES but
    what a person IS. It is an identity not an activity. Every time the clergy
    open their mouths on these matters they effectively condemn PEOPLE not actions
    and it is this that has been their downfall…their complete inability to
    understand this simple fact.
    But even if the discussion was about gay sex (with which the church appears to
    be preoccupied) the doctrinal position that all sexual activity outside
    heterosexual intercourse within marriage and capable of conception is of
    course so utterly absurd, so unnatural, that it really beggars belief. Sexual
    behaviour that is predicated on consent, care, growth, reciprocity and
    authenticity is a dynamic of Creation – whether or not it is capable of
    begetting children. If it is part of Creation it is part of God. …. or at
    least the vernacular of God. And this leads to the stupidest stumbling block
    of them all….the Church’s utterly unfounded and ridiculous notion that
    homosexuality is a choice. This idea seems to have been plucked out of nowhere
    and is so remote from any scientific or human reality that it is the modern
    equivalent of believing the world is flat. No wonder even older Catholics are
    turning away. The Church continually fails to connect with ALL our lives …
    not just young people. In a world where the Good News is so desperately needed
    the Church instead gives nothing but bad news in spade loads. Sounding more
    like a bitter doctrine of hate the Church’s teachings, as well as many who
    espouse them, have become toxic. The words of bishops are often now like
    vinegar to the wounds of Christ….spiteful, vindictive, and cruel.
    I am taking a long rest from my faith and it is doing me a power of
    good…..the less rubbish I have to listen to the more God’s voice is audible.
    So the Irish people have done the right thing…..not for their gay citizens
    but for everyone….they have asserted a new freedom….the ability to think,
    and choose, and act for themselves.
    Martin Henry

  12. Self confessed says:

    I am a gay man in my mid 50’s
    Members of The Association of Catholic Priests may wish to read my blog
    It is about my coming out of my closet of denial and the experience I had in the late 70’s, when as a young man I had to live in a very backward and repressed Ireland.
    It may be of some educational use and contribute in some way to Irish priests having a more rounded understanding of why the YES equality victory meant so much to gay people.
    The Catholic church really needs to identify with Catholics of all ages, and not just with the younger members of the church, as suggested by Archbishop Martin over this last weekend….if he thinks his opinion is the reality of the situation, then he absolutely has no idea of what is happening on the ground.
    People of all ages voted for this victory and not just young people.
    The Irish church is in meltdown and it is self inflicted
    My Blog is at:

  13. Joe O'Leary says:

    Martin Henry, the Catholic Church has never taught that homosexual orientation is a choice — see Persona Humana 1975 and Homosexualitatis Persona 1986.
    More strikingly, the bishops in the recent referendum debate never mentioned gay sex as something objectionable. On the contrary some of them called for a boosting of civil partnerships — a remarkable volte-face in catholic sexual teaching.
    In short, the referendum debate was carried out on a high level of courtesy and intelligence that puts to shame the envenomed debates in France and the USA.
    The journalists who objected to being called homophobes did a service to the Yes campaign, warning it that nothing was to be gained by temper and rudeness.
    The Yes campaign was simply an astonishing demonstrations of collective good will, good nature, courageous honesty and generous debate. As a result gay issues will never be taboo in Ireland again, and homophobia will become as much as think of the past as antisemitism.
    The church should claim some of the credit for shaping the Irish people in such a wholesome way.

  14. G Kelleher says:

    An entirely different approach is necessary where the Church represents Christ and Christianity for the first time even though there is quite a lot of historical baggage to deal with before that happens. I am a Christian astronomer and from my seat I see the damage that was done when denominational Christianity jettisoned its scientific heritage around the time of the Galileo affair and set itself up as more or less a moral guardian by leaving visible creation as a separate entity under the name ‘science’. This partitioning of ‘science vs religion’ is catastrophic and always will be. Relegating ‘religion’ to a moral code of conduct is no longer feasible and shouldn’t be allowed to represent Christ and Christianity.
    Priests just don’t do astronomy or follow what is effectively the anti-Christian empiricist agenda because they miss the point of connecting the Universal with the individual in physical terms. The fact is that much of ‘astronomy’ as practiced today is bluffing and voodoo whereas the original Christian astronomical heritage was vibrant and easily accessible to the wider population.
    Presently only a very few would have the sense to ascertain the damage which was done when the technical issues surrounding the Galileo affair were left unresolved (where they remain to this day ).

  15. Very interesting article in the Irish Times by Noel Whelan about the organisation of the Yes campaign.
    He said;
    “This level of coordination meant that very little happened in the campaign that was not planned or expected.
    The only real surprise was the timing and extent of the Catholic church’s intervention. The bishops caume in earlier and more stridently than we had originally anticipated. Our only unscheduled conference call was at 6.30pm on Saturday 3rd May after RTÉ reported details of a pastoral letter from Archbishop Eamon Martin to be read at churches that weekend.
    We toyed with the idea of a head-on confrontation with the hierarchy for its failure to distinguish between civil and religious marriage. That would certainly have mobilised our base. We opted instead however to express disappointment at the tenor of the bishop’s interventions while spotlighting statements from dozens of high profile priests about why they were voting Yes.
    We worried when the bishops took to the pulpits and airwaves again on the following two Sundays and when Archbishop Diarmuid Martin togged out as lead striker on the No Side for the last days of the campaign. Ultimately however our assessment that the bishops would have little impact on middle ground voters proved correct.”
    Read the full article at

  16. Joe O'Leary says:

    “Selfconfessed” illustrates what Mrs McAleese referred to as the needless suffering and loneliness of young gays, for which coy clerical silence bears considerable blame. The message sent by the referendum is that Irish gays need never be ashamed and silenced again. The church needs to take up that message pro-actively, in atonement.

  17. Pádraig McCarthy says:

    There’s an overview of Constitutional provisions of various European countries, and of some European and International Law, at
    It’s from July 2014, so it does not include the result of our Referendum. It does not include UK, since there is not a written constitution. It’s good to be aware of different ways the question of same-sex marriage has been decided.
    Now, don’t jump at me and say, “Can anything good come from the European Centre for Law and Justice?” Even if you don’t like the chef, maybe some of the dishes will be of interest!

  18. Padraig McCarthy@11 is correct, my mistake, the church does recognise civil marriages between two non-Catholics as valid. Thanks for spotting the error.
    I suppose the point I was trying to make is that if the church only recognises church marriages for its own members, then what the state chooses to recognise as marriage isn’t the church’s business.
    I’m not saying whether I agree with this position, just that it at least arguable.

  19. Joe O'Leary says:

    Is it not true that the Church regards all civil marriages as dissoluble in favour of the faith if one of the spouses wants to marry a Catholic?

  20. Joe O'Leary says:

    We are so used to being bullied by stupidity from prelates that the insulting remarks of the Vatican Secretary of State will probably go unreprimanded. One Italian commentator on a Facebook thread sees them in the most sinister light: “Le parole usate dal signor Pietro Parolin, segretario di Stato vaticano, per commentare il risultato del referendum con cui il popolo irlandese ha sancito il diritto delle coppie omosessuali a sposarsi, mi hanno fatto ricordare la crudezza e la malvagità del linguaggio utilizzato nel Mein Kampf, le leggi di Norimberga, la Judenreservat, la Reichskommissar für die Festigung deutschen Volkstums e la Endlösung der Judenfrage. Parole di una cattiveria inimmaginabile e che difficilmente penso possano essere condivise da quella parte della chiesa che invece vive dentro una società che ha trasformato i bisogni e rivendicato diritti. Voglio dubitare che Bergoglio possa condividere l’acrimonia e l’efferatezza espressa da quel signore suo collaboratore.
    Intanto leggo un nuovo dispaccio Ansa: Tre preti coinvolti in un giro di prostituzione minorile a Roma.
    Fermatevi, finchè potete. la comunità andrà avanti, e io con lei.”

  21. Prodigal Son says:

    We in the Catholic Church are now truly separated from the state, and will come under more pressure down the road. Thank God. Thank you also to the bishops who opposed the redefinition of marriage. They acted totally in line with the Bible and with the Pope.
    TheCchurch is in decline in Ireland and so it will continue for some time. But the shake out will ultimately mean a more rigorous, useful message for the culture at large. The Church’s ministry to people of same sex attraction will continue to flourish to their benefit, as the Lord would have it.
    Meanwhile, the true meaning of the sacrament of matrimony now has a chance to raise its head. The enormous amount of prayer and fasting that preceded the vote will bear fruit.
    Best wishes to the culture at large; we are always at your service. May we continue in union with the Pope to obey Gods word so that He may, through us, augment your social capital. Let what is in our minds be pleasing to God.

  22. Joe O'Leary says:

    For the Yes voters, I urge that we keep the conversation at the high level attained thanks to your very intelligent campaigning, so that Irish people can continue to discuss these personal issues in an unthreatening and mutually helpful and enlightening way, for the good of all. I am afraid that the post-festum complaints about the campaign from both No and Yes people in the Irish Times will only send us back to sterile wrangling or even culture war style abuse. It seems to me that the debate was one of the most courteous in Irish history, with most participants being well aware that subtle and intimate values were at stake and being ready to show empathy and understanding. This provides a treasure of dialogue that we should build on. Let it not be squandered.

  23. Joe@21, could we have a translation?
    Also, I wonder what the Archbishop of Sans Francisco thinks of us(Ireland)now.

  24. Google translation of Italian text in 20 above.
    “The words used by Mr. Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, to comment on the result of the referendum in which the Irish people established the right of homosexual couples to marry, made me remember the cruelty and wickedness of the language used in Mein Kampf, the Nuremberg Laws, the Judenreservat, the Reichskommissar für die deutschen Festigung Volkstums and Endlösung der Judenfrage. Words of unimaginable evil and I think that hardly can be shared by that part of the church that is living in a society that has turned the needs and rights claimed. I would doubt that Bergoglio can share the bitterness and cruelty expressed by the gentleman his collaborator.
    Meanwhile I read a new dispatch Ansa: Three priests involved in a child prostitution ring in Rome.
    Stop while you can. the community will go on, and I with her.”
    May not be perfect but I don’t have any Italian.

  25. Neil Bray says:

    Having been on the canvas for 3-4 weeks, night and day on occasions, I think Noel Whelan’s analysis is a bit too sweet. It was clear to us early on that the votes for a “no” outcome were not there. I predicted the outcome as a landslide in a previous submission to this web site. Noel’s side could have used any manoeuvre they wished – it wouldn’t have changed the outcome. His self-aggrandisement is a bit far fetched.
    Our leaders succeeded in bringing it from 17% to almost 38%, a truly extraordinary feat, given they were up against all the newspapers, all the television and radio stations, all the political parties, several priests and religious, the Gardaí, official Ireland in general, the Gaelic Players Association, et al, et al. It was a case of preaching “out of season.”
    I am grateful that it was possible to participate in the exercise. If nothing else it was ecumenical – one found on-self knocking on doors with Baptists, evangelicals and non denominationalists. One also experienced how those of same sex attraction feel/felt isolated in society.
    This outcome will not lessen levels of homophobia. The levels of such are higher now in Holland than when so called same sex marriage was introduced. This struggle continues.
    In terms of some of the discussion above it is interesting to note that at one time during the Arian heresy, only about 10% of Christians were not Arians.
    Finally, I urge Padraig McCarthy to take a rest. You have behaved with great credibility and dignity and have been most comprehensive. You deserve a break, if such is your wish.

  26. Joe O'Leary says:

    People are overreactomg to the Cardinal’s utterance, but is anyone supporting him? The commentary has been 99% negative. Are even the people who led the No campaign defending him? He may realize he has made a huge PR gaffe, for starters. An optimistic writer in the Guardian thinks the Vatican will be imitating Diarmuid Martin in due course
    By the way, if the bishops who were in sympathy with decriminalizaing homosexuality back in 1980 had spoken up then, instead of murmuring in alcoves, the gulf between bishops and gays would not be so dramatic today. But of course all the clergy were even more steeped in coy silence.

  27. David Carroll says:

    I thought about doing this earlier and abandoned the plan, but the statement from the Vatican spokesman Lombardi this evening which backs ‘word for word’ the earlier statement from Cardinal Parolin drove me over the edge! Talk about proof of disconnection from reality. The biggest shadow over all of this is the implicit support of Pope Francis for these representatives of the church. I would write a longer response but I am actually too busy working in a parish. Perhaps the men in the Vatican might try it sometime. Sorry I can’t take it any more seriously, but do they deserve it?

  28. Billy Fulton says:

    I always remember an aphorism from a philosophy teacher “Emotion was never a criterion of truth”. One would do well to remember this in connection with the recent referendum. The great Jewish teacher, Martin Huber wrote some thirty years ago that four things were to be held sacred if the community was not to self destruct, marriage, property, life, and social honour. We’ve just chosen to self destruct, so presumably life, through abortion on demand and euthanasia will be next on the agenda.

  29. Joe O'Leary says:

    I think we should be analysing the many layers of thought behind the Yes victory — rooted not only in the admirable Yes campaign but in 40 years of honesty from Irish gays and their families — forty years of rich reflection, sharing, and education from which the clergy were largely cut off by their refusal of dialogue. Perhaps this is what Abp D Martin is referring to when he speaks of a reality check?

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