A group whose membership comprises around a third of Ireland’s Catholic priests has said that the “Yes” to marriage equality won by a popular referendum last week means that the people are no longer listening to moralizing sermons from the church – and that they are “absolutely delighted.”
The story in the Irish Times interviews a number of founders and leaders of the Association of Catholic Priests, and finds a common thread:
“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,”
said Fr Brendan Hoban.
Co-founder Fr Tony Flannery added,
“the day of doctrinaire Catholicism is over in this country. The people are no longer willing to listen to speeches and sermons on morality from the church.”
The group decried the hard line of the Church in Ireland bishops in promoting a No vote, although Flannery saw Archbishop Diarmud Martin as “bullied” by conservative media into taking the position he did:
“It was obvious that he was uncomfortable with it, but to me he showed great weakness in not standing up for what he really believed.”
The ACP members interviewed for the story were not mourning the loss of conservative influence wielded by the church, however, but recommended that the church listen closely to what the referendum told it about people’s lives and concerns.
Fr Iggy O’Donovan summed it up:
The church “has to realise ordinary people are not listening to us any more”, he said. He was “absolutely delighted” with the referendum result.
See the whole story here.
Picture by catherinecronin from Kinvara, Co. Galway, Ireland (@joecaslin mural) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Posted by Rosalind Hughes