Catholic Church Ponders Future After Same-Sex Marriage Vote in Ireland

May 26, 2015

Paul Faith/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

By Danny Hakim

The morning after Ireland learned it had become the first nation to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote, Diarmuid Martin, the archbishop of Dublin, looked out at the future of the Roman Catholic Church.

It could be found at St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral here, in downtown Dublin, as two rows of children awaited confirmation before him in the lofty, column-lined church.

“Boys and girls, I made my confirmation 60 years ago,” he told them, adding, “Your world is different from mine.”

Not far away, the streets were quiet after a long night of celebrating. Revelers filled the bars, beeped horns, waved rainbow flags and drank Guinness after the result was announced on Saturday. The size of the victory energized supporters, with the referendum affirmed by 62 percent of the electorate and passed in all but one of Ireland’s 43 districts.


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61 comments on “Catholic Church Ponders Future After Same-Sex Marriage Vote in Ireland

  • … Sinn Fein, the opposition party that was once the political wing of the Irish Republican Army, has gained ground by attacking austerity instead of immigrants.

    Oh, if only certain North American political parties would learn from this…



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  • People love weddings. Think of the movies. That they are gay weddings is secondary. Once it dawned on people how similar gay weddings were to straight weddings, the controversy had to collapse. Who can be against that optimistic, enthusiastic love that starts every married relationship?

    There are some people seriously expecting to die by volcano when the measure passed. However, they can’t help but noticed that volcanic activity did not change. They will feel foolish and relax their opposition. Oddy Americans insist on the volcano nonsense even though it did not happen elsewhere. It is just a sales talking point, not a serious objection.

    If gay people can vicariously enjoy the happiness of young straight couples, surely the reverse is true.



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  • Good old Ireland. It has a come a lomg way in a very short space of time. My mum remembers when she first came over here from Dubln in the late sixties. She used to send condoms back home to her siblings and got an official threatening letter from the Irish govt for her efforts. The priests over here used to give her one Hail Mary every week for using them. Her relatives back home were threatened with eternal damnation by their priests. She had easy access to them, they had to obtain them illegally. That’s what happens when religion gets a grip on politics.

    My great uncles health was permenantly damaged following an overdose of paracetamol in the eighties because he was gay and couldn’t reconcile it with the crap from his church. Nor with the fact his private consensual sex life was illegal. He is over the moon at this ruling and at the fact that the RCC remained relatively quiet about the issue.



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  • Our Tory party has learnt that blaming immigrants is a very useful tool. Blame an immigrant instead of austerity cuts and get away with anything. Don’t know why people buy it but they do 🙁



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  • I like the use of the word “ponders” in the title of the OP. It gives the impression of a kindly genteel intellectual who has just come across a fascinating idea that deserves more than the usual once over. I doubt very much that the RCC is “pondering” the latest ass kick that progressive minded people have given it.

    Here’s the real title:

    Roman Catholic church shitting themselves; quoted as saying, “Gays are winning! Women hate us! Even the kids are on to our schemes! Good-by world”.



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  • LaurieB
    May 26, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    I like the use of the word “ponders” in the title of the OP

    The RCC is into “pondering” where other people quickly reach rational conclusions using critical thinking.

    They “pondered” Galileo long and hard for about 350 years,

    ROME, Oct. 30 1992 – With a formal statement at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Saturday, Vatican officials said the Pope will formally close a 13-year investigation into the Church’s condemnation of Galileo in 1633. http://www.nytimes.com/1992/10/31/world/after-350-years-vatican-says-galileo-was-right-it-moves.html

    . . . and after about 150 years are still “pondering” Darwin, but still don’t “get” the natural science of evolution!



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  • 12
    mombird says:

    CC ponders… they should ponder letting priests and nuns marry as well as gays. The CC is a dying institution. The 21st century just terrifies them because they have lost control and can no longer frighten us with hell and eternal damnation! Thank you Irish for raising a middle finger to them!



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  • Oh yes, I see my mistake now. I was ascribing a much too elitist meaning to the word “pondering”. Forget about the genteel intellectual. It’s more like a slack jawed knuckle dragger trying to fire up the handful of neurons left knocking around in his little skull.



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  • Great news.
    The religious conservatives over here in the U.S., always use the argument of history: “marriage is between a man and a woman.” In other words, that is how it has always been. That something is or has been does not make it right. Nor is anything set in stone. Even that which is set in stone can explode or implode. Moreover, history is determined by us. Not the other way around. (That is a complex issue, but you know what I mean.)



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  • It is amazing to find how often the tradition argument has been used.
    It was used to oppose electricity.
    It was used in favour of slavery.
    It was used to stop women from voting.
    It was used to defend various fashions.
    It was used to defend both beards and no beards.
    It was used to defend child beating
    It is used to defend eating superstitions.
    Consider the story, The Lottery.
    It is used to defend the monarchy and hereditary privilege.

    It is a reason for proceeding with caution, but not for blindly avoiding change.



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  • The RC may have belatedly apologised for Galileo but to their shame they’ve never specifically done so for executing Giordano Bruno in 1600 whose thinking was so far ahead of its time that it’s only in the last 10 or 15 years we’ve been able to confirm that most stars do indeed have planets and IMO that’s it’s now vanishingly unlikely that life is not abundantly spread throughout the universe given the number of planets that must be able to support it.



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  • 19
    aroundtown says:

    Bloody hell, their going to try a duck and dodge the mainstream once again I suppose. These beauties have the shell game down to science level. You can expect them to move the goal post for the thousandth time to come in line after the fact to appear like they were on board all along. Just pathetic really. Infallible my ass.



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  • The last line is priceless:

    “Have I got a magic formula? Certainly not.”

    I thought the whole story was based on magic.
    I also have to wonder how they expect to be credible if they update the church’s morality without an addenda to the book from which they insist they’ve been getting their (im)moral views from?



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  • Dan
    May 26, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    The religious conservatives over here in the U.S., always use the argument of history: “marriage is between a man and a woman.” In other words, that is how it has always been.

    Of course that is NOT “how it has always been”! Marriages of single M/F couples were introduced by the dominant Xtian church in Europe during the Dark-Ages. The Early Jews, some Xtian cults, Ancient Greeks, etc. had a diversity of forms of marriage.

    That something is or has been does not make it right. Nor is anything set in stone.

    The Xtian “right”, cannot even get their history “right”, – but that’s “faith-thinking”!



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  • It looks like they could have a new issue to ponder in Scotland, if Scotland joins the other more enlightened states!!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-32887408

    MSPs to vote on Assisted Suicide Scotland bill

    MSPs are to vote on the Assisted Suicide Scotland Bill as the legislation is debated at Holyrood.

    The bill, which would allow those with terminal illnesses to seek the help of a doctor to end their own life, could fail if it does not secure enough votes at this stage.

    Supporters said the plan had widespread public backing but critics have argued a change in the law would be unethical.

    MSPs will be given a free vote on the Assisted Suicide Bill.

    But the Scottish government does not support changing the law.



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  • The arch bishop do have one significant comment. He said the church needed to have a reality check. Has he ever said a truer statement previously? Transubstantiation, immaculate conception, biblical truth, sin?



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  • 28
    Cairsley says:

    Archbishop Martin of Dublin speaks of the church needing “a new language that will be understood and heard by people.” It is of course easier for an ecclesiastical hierarch faced with a previously faithful people’s rebellion against church teaching to think of this as a result of church authorities’ bad communication (was their language too old-fashioned perhaps?), instead of facing the fact that people are beginning to see the church’s teachings as the groundless and in some cases inhumane nonsense that it is. But let the hierarchs tinker with the language, if that helps them stay calm as they consider the loss of their Irish colony and wonder how else they can induce people to surrender their minds and hearts to the church’s fanciful doctrines.



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  • Cairsley
    May 27, 2015 at 11:44 am

    It is of course easier for an ecclesiastical hierarch faced with a previously faithful people’s rebellion against church teaching to think of this as a result of church authorities’ bad communication (was their language too old-fashioned perhaps?),

    Re-shuffling the meanings of words and “interpretations”, is a favourite ploy of obfuscating theists!



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  • Alan :

    Re-shuffling the meanings of words and “interpretations”, is a favourite ploy of obfuscating theists!

    Too bloody true ! How many Christians does it take to change a light bulb ?

    Three, but remember the three is One !

    How many philosophers does it take to change a light bulb ?

    None, they are far too busy with more important stuff, and anyway they could never agree on what a light bulb is.



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  • While the Irish may have administered some shock treatment to their local priests and bishops, – back at the delusion HQ, they have already pressed the reset button, and reverted to type!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-32900426
    Same-sex marriage: Irish vote ‘defeat for humanity’ says Vatican official

    However, Cardinal Parolin said it showed the church needed to improve how it preached the Christian message.

    The senior diplomat made the comments during a conference in Italy on Tuesday night, according to the Italian news agency, Ansa.

    “The Church must take account of this reality, but in the sense of reinforcing its commitment to evangelization,” he said.

    “I think that you cannot just talk of a defeat for Christian principles, but of a defeat for humanity.

    “The family remains at the centre and we have to do everything to defend it and promote it.

    He said :- speaking as a celibate bachelor with no family – and as a theist “expert” on “family life”, using his “knowledge” derived from “faith”!!

    In Italy, the government of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is preparing to present legislation that would allow civil unions between gay couples.

    The Irish referendum has also boosted calls in Germany, which allow same-sex civil unions, to go further and legalise same-sex marriage.

    Pressure has started to grow in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), which opposes any change.

    “One would think that what the Catholic Irish can do, we can do too,” CDU parliamentarian Jens Spahn told the German Die Welt newspaper.

    The yes result has also led to calls for the introduction of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.



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  • Alan :

    The yes result has also led to calls for the introduction of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

    I await those learned Christians, John Lennox and Alistair McGrath to pontificate upon such evident heresy ! Ah but, Oxford men ! Maybe more forward leaning ?



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  • …a diversity of forms of marriage.

    That’s very interesting. I hadn’t considered that. They even had me confused by their shrill parochialism. (And I have a critical mind.) I’d like to hear someone in a debate say: “actually, that’s not true, Governor Bush, the early Jews, some Christian sects and the ancient Greeks…”
    The more educated we (and that includes me) become the less likely we are to be misled. This is a cliché but I think education is really the answer to many of the problems we are facing.
    (Always a pleasure to read your posts, Alan.)



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  • JimJFox
    May 27, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    “All religions die of one disease – that of being found out”

    Another one joins the queue: –

    The UK’s Methodist Church has made a public apology after an investigation uncovered reports of nearly 2,000 alleged abusers – including 914 allegations involving sexual abuse.

    An independent inquiry looked at the Church’s response to complaints and allegations dating back to 1950.

    General secretary, the Revd Dr Martyn Atkins, said abuse was “a deep source of grief and shame to the Church”.

    Allegations of sexual abuse formed the largest number of cases.

    Ministers or lay employees were involved in 26% of the alleged cases of abuse, the investigation found.

    That figure increased to 33% when Church members, such as worship leaders and local preachers, were also included. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-32909444



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  • Another quote from Archbishop Martin caught my attention:

    “I ask myself, most of these young people who voted yes are products of our Catholic school system for 12 years. I’m saying there’s a big challenge there to see how we get across the message of the church,”

    He is saying that the current system of brainwashing children is not working as well as they might wish – that despite indoctrination from an early age people are still able to think for themselves and form their own opinions when they grow up. I find his attitude contemptible to say the least. I am consoled by the fact that the RCC is becoming increasingly less able to exert it’s influence over human affairs in Ireland, and seems to be heading the way of the Anglican Synod in England; a quaint cultural tradition and no more. We shouldn’t forget it’s destructive past however so it’s helpful when people like the good Bishop remind us.



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  • Very interesting JimJFox but I’m not sure what point you’re making.

    In the last five years the number of people living in relative poverty has dramatically increased thanks to pay freezes and general economic down turn. Of those living in that relative poverty 60% are in work! Benefits are not relevant in their cases. The numbers of food banks has increased and the numbers of working families accessing them has also increased.

    Schools have had their budgets cut and are struggling to teach the children in their care. A bulge in the birth rate has seen pressure for schools in many places increase. In the same period several free schools have opened in areas where there is no real need. Money has been taken from the existing schools building programmes to build and fund these.

    Hospitals are struggling to cope with nurses leaving every day. My local hospital is facing dramatic cuts despite being in a largely populated area.

    Now some of those problems of pressure on the infrastructure could be put down to immigration I would agree. But the scale and complexity of the problem is far more to do with funding and taxes. And the proportion of costs to the benefits system from immigrants is actually quite small and needs to be taken in conjunction with the benefits they bring. For example the reliance on foreign care workers, foreign scientists and engineers (powergen has to go to to recruit enough suitably qualified staff).

    In the same period we have had a global banking crash and several banking scandals. All caused by the wealthiest least productive group in society. The money shufflers and unregulated gamblers. Some of those actions (eg exchange rate fixing) have cost actual wealth producing businesses dearly. Money that could have gone to expansion and more jobs or pay rises.

    We have seen the wealth of the richest in the country double. We have seen google, Amazon, Starbucks and others engaged in mass tax avoidance. We’ve seen horror stories about the NHS clearly designed to discredit it until you look beneath the surface and see how many problems are from outsourced private companies. We’ve seen expensive reorganisations of the NHS driven by ideology and opposed by those who actually work in it. And we see politicians closely linked to private health care providers.

    Now we will have tax cuts which will benefit the richer more than the poorer. We risk seeing our NHS slowly dismantled. We risk throwing away regulated education in favour of ideologically driven rush to put schooling back into the hands of individuals. Education that contributes to our future wealth (and move from religion).

    And all of those complex issues will be swept under the carpet of blame an immigrant. By a govt that we can pretty much guarantee won’t tackle it anyway because it contributes to lowering wage costs for their pals even more.

    So while your point is fascinating I really can’t see what relevance it has to my comment.



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  • And it used to involve a handing over of all rights to the husband. That was the traditional marriage and that’s changed.

    Tradition is just an idea someone once had. So you can replace it with new better ones anytime.

    Given the Ireland I remember I’m so proud of my parents country now!



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  • Perhaps if it spent as much time pondering the sex abuse and rape scandals in its own back garden as it did fretting about consensual sex between consenting adults it would have far more credibility. Isn’t there something in the bible about hypocrisy?



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  • Not only that, but homosexuality has also been found among other species, around 500 species I believe. So calling it unnatural or unbiological choice would also be erroneous.



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  • Meanwhile over here across the pond I speculate that our own United States Supreme Court justices will be strongly influenced by the same-sex marriage vote outcome in “conservative” Ireland. Judges are ostensibly committed to weighing the evidence in the same-sex marriage case brought before them with complete impartiality. But no one can unring the bell. No one can erase the handwriting on the wall.



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  • I like the use of the word “ponders” in the title of the OP. It gives the impression of a kindly genteel intellectual who has just come across a fascinating idea that deserves more than the usual once over.

    I think it’s more a reference to Mary pondering the message from the angel Gabriel in her heart.



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  • Ewan
    May 29, 2015 at 11:09 am

    I think it’s more a reference to Mary pondering the message from the angel Gabriel in her heart.

    OP Message about the RCC pondering its future in Ireland alongside same-sex marriage???

    Even with “interpretation-blinkers”, angels are a bit of a stretch!



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  • 53
    Lorenzo says:

    Oh ponder they did, for one day and a half. And then they came out with a very enlightened statement: *this is not only a defeat for the christian principles, but a defeat for humanity”. These are the exact words of the secretary general of the Vatican state, the cardinal Parolin -albeit translated.

    Very clever. Very pondered. Business as usual: they invented the European Dark Ages and they are stuck in there ever since.

    So, I suppose, they didn’t so much ponder but rather were too sore because of the kicking coming from Ireland, nonetheless, to talk.



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  • With Gabriel being an angel, I guess he has special powers that would allow him to place a message inside Mary’s heart. But how did Mary manage to get access to that message, in order to ponder on it?



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  • Alice
    May 28, 2015 at 9:58 am

    Perhaps if it spent as much time pondering the sex abuse and rape scandals in its own back garden as it did fretting about consensual sex between consenting adults it would have far more credibility.

    There are probably some missionary priests in China, doing some very serious pondering right now!!

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/11637587/China-executes-teacher-for-rape-and-abuse-of-26-children.html



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  • that was once

    Still is. The PIRA hasn’t gone aweay you know. Murderous bastards.

    attacking austerity instead of immigrants

    Maybe. But they attacked and killed 1,823 of their fellow Irish men and women. They express sympathy with the families of their victims. Words are cheap, and usually insincere.



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  • 59
    Wee free says:

    Yes, the bishop of Dublin calls for a “reality check”. Irony indeed. No faith would survive a genuine reality check, would it?



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  • I see Cardinal George Pell is also “pondering” his future – in defensive mode!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-32955014
    The Vatican’s finance chief George Pell is seeking legal advice after being accused of an “almost sociopathic” approach to child abuse allegations.

    The allegations from Peter Saunders, a member of the Vatican’s own commission on child protection, come as Australia investigates historic abuses.

    Australian-born Cardinal Pell denies accusations he helped cover up abuses by a paedophile priest.

    He has offered to testify at the Australian inquiry.

    .Mr Saunders, himself a victim of abuse by a priest, was appointed by Pope Francis last year to the Vatican’s new commission to protect children.



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