The Primate of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland has intervened in the Marriage Equality referendum.
Eamon Martin has issued in a statement in which he says clerics "cannot support an amendment to the Constitution which redefines marriage and effectively places the union of two men, or two women, on a par with the marriage relationship between a husband and wife which is open to the procreation of children."
Archbishop Martin says he has issued the statement following requests for clarity on the church's position on the vote.
He has reiterated the stance that there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar to God's plan for marriage and family.
The Archbishop said: "Until now, Ireland has accepted that it is in the best interests of children and of society to promote and protect the model of children being born and raised in a family with their biological parents.
"The proposed amendment to the Constitution will remove the unique and privileged status in society for the marriage between a man and a woman.
"The Church's vision for marriage and the family is based on faith and reason and it is shared by many people of all faith traditions and none.
The statement added: "Since time immemorial, Church and State have recognised marriage to be of fundamental importance for children, mothers and fathers, and society.
"To interfere with the definition of marriage is not a simple or a trivial matter.
"How have we got ourselves into the situation that when people stand up to guard the dignity of difference between a man and woman, and speak for the traditional definition of marriage, they are often portrayed as being against freedom, or against equality?
"How is it that many people won't even raise these issues in their families and workplaces for fear of being ridiculed or condemned as homophobic?
"Could we not expect at least some of our legislators to engage in public discussion on both sides of this debate?"