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Yes vote was show of solidarity towards gays: Bishop

By Sarah Mac Donald - 25 May, 2015

Iona Institute chairman calls on Irish Church “to start teaching its teachings”.

marriage_2074156bImportant lessons are to be learnt from all that has happened since the debate on the marriage referendum began, Bishop Kevin Doran said in a message to the people of Elphin on Sunday.

Describing the outcome as “clear and decisive”, he acknowledged that he was “personally disappointed by the result” but he also welcomed the fact that so many people voted.

He said that people seemed to have voted Yes as a way of showing their acceptance and their love for friends and family members who are gay.

“Large numbers obviously believed that they could vote Yes without in any way undermining marriage,” he commented and added that while he did not share their belief, he understood their reason for celebrating.

“I do respect their spirit of solidarity.”

Dr Doran said it would be “wonderful” if this same spirit of solidarity could now be harnessed across the whole society for the betterment of all who experience themselves as marginalised or in need, including the homeless and those seeking asylum.

Paying tribute to those on the No side who had worked so hard with “such limited resources”, he added that he didn’t believe for a moment that they are any less accepting of their gay relatives, neighbours and friends.

He said that for now it was not a moment for outlining policy or strategy for the future but a time for prayerful reflection.

Separately, the Director of the Iona Institute, David Quinn said that his organisation would continue to affirm the importance of the biological ties and of motherhood and fatherhood.

“We hope the Government will address the concerns voters on the No side have about the implications for freedom of religion and freedom of conscience,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Dr John Murray, chairman of the Iona Institute, speaking to BBC 4’s Sunday programme called on the Irish Church “to start teaching its teachings”.

He said the Church in Ireland, priests, bishops, theologians, in recent years had failed to do that.

“With some notable exceptions, they simply haven’t been teaching the teaching at all and that needs to faced, talked about and sorted out.”

“We have people who have simply not been taught and they don’t know the teachings.”

However, Redemptorist and member of the Association of Catholic Priests, Fr Gerry O’Connor responded to Dr Murray’s comments saying he thought the Church had been teaching its teachings through pastoral letters from the bishops, while priests taught in their parishes every weekend and the catholic school system was the dominant school system in Ireland.

“I believe that the Catholic Church in Ireland needs to understand that it is one voice amongst others and it needs to have a good look at how it engages in the public square. It can’t necessarily expect that its point of view is always reflected in the laws of the land,” he commented.

Fr O’Connor, who campaigned for a Yes vote, said the truth is that in Ireland there are many different types of families and the law must approximate to the reality of these if the common good is to be achieved.

“My view was the proposed change to the constitution was an effort at achieving the common good and wouldn’t damage nuclear families or traditional marriage in any way.”

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