'I wouldn't like to attribute sin in this matter' - Fr D'Arcy reacts to Bishop's confession comments

Update - 6.26pm: A Catholic priest has reacted to Bishop Doran's belief that people who voted yes in Friday's referendum committed a sin and should attend confession.

Bishop Doran from Elphin told Sean O'Rourke on RTE Radio One this morning: "If you voted yes knowing and intending that abortion would be the outcome, then you should consider coming to confession, where you would be received with the same compassion that is shown to any other penitent."

He was then asked if he considered a yes vote a sin, his answer was: "If they knew and intended abortion as the outcome, yes I believe so."

Fr Brian D'Arcy joined Sarah McInerney on RTE Radio One's Drivetime this afternoon and said that people must follow their conscience and vote conscientiously, whether it was to vote yes or no.

He said: "I wouldn't like to attribute sin in this matter, at all. It's the wrong language for this because this isn't an issue about Church law at all.

"This is an issue about how the State is attempting to treat all its people in an emerging way, in an emerging republic in an emerging world."

"Each of us is having to struggle to find a way of accepting what is right for yourself, while also allowing what you couldn't allow for yourself to be allowed for others who might view life and its ethics and morality in a different way.

"That's very important to accept and encourage, and certainly not condemn.

The language of sin is not one I would use in this, at all. - Fr Brian D'Arcy

He stated that Catholic teaching wasn't up for discussion in this issue and added that the Catholic Church has a position on abortion, but nobody was asking the Catholic Church to change their teaching.

Fr D'Arcy also said that he was against adding the 8th Amendment to the Constitution in 1983.

Listen to the interview below:

- Digital Desk

11.55am: Bishop calls on Catholic yes voters to attend confession; Pro-life FF TDs will support abortion bill, Martin says

Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin says he is in favour of holding a special Dáil sitting over the summer in order to get legislation passed to repeal the 8th amendment.

"I would like to see [the legislation] published before the summer recess. I would like to see a second stage debate before the summer recess.," he said.

It should be possible if we collectively process this to have this legislation passed in line with the wishes of the people as declared emphatically in the referendum.

"That is my position and that will be our position as we work with Government and other parties in the Dáil to give legislative voice to the decision of the people."

Michael Martin said he did not believe there were "fences to be mended" in his party.

"We had a freedom of conscience which we have been applying since 2013 that allows tolerance and respect for the opinions of others on questions like this.

"As far as I'm concerned, the people have now spoken. Many deputies have contacted me, many who voted no, very clear that they will support a bill and certainly will not do anything to oppose the passage of the legislation.

Meanwhile, Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran has said he believes people who voted yes in Friday's referendum committed a sin and should attend confession.

Bishop Doran told Sean O'Rourke that he was surprised by the outcome of Friday's referendum.

"I do find it quite surprising that a majority of people voted for this," he said.

"Personally I'm very sad about it, I still believe in the right to life of every person, I don't believe there's any such thing as a life without value.

"As far as the church is concerned, what was true on Thursday last is still true today.

Unlike political liberalism, we're not going to change our core values because of a referendum vote because human rights are not really a matter for democratic decision.

A survey showed 12% of voters said religious views played a part in their decision.

"We have seen this coming. There are what I would describe as 'cultural Catholics' and then there are committed Catholics," Bishop Doran said.

"There's a difference between faith, which is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and religious, which is the communal expression of that faith. For many people who still consider themselves as Catholics, religion has become somewhat divorced from faith," he said.

He said he thinks it is a sin if Catholics voted yes on Friday knowing that it was leading to abortion.

"Every person's vote has a moral significance and a political significance. The Catholic Church is a family and nobody ever gets struck off and God never takes back his love.

What I would say to a Catholic who voted yes is this: if you voted yes knowing and intending that abortion would be the outcome, then you should consider coming to confession, where you would be received with the same compassion that is shown to any other penitent.

When asked if he considered a yes vote a sin, he replied: "If they knew and intended abortion as the outcome, yes I believe so."

Bishop Doran's remarks were met by a slew of text messages to the programme.

Texters who are practicing Catholics and who voted yes expressed their sadness at his views.

"I feel so sad and unwelcome now," one wrote.

Listen to the interview in full here:

Elsewhere, the Bishop of Killaloe, Fintan Monahan, said this morning in an interview on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta that he fears that the results of the referendum may herald a change in public attitudes to the elderly and those with special needs in this country.

"I think it was a very sad weekend for the country, and I’m very disappointed personally ... but the people have voted and we must accept it now," he said.

I think that it (the result) may change people’s attitudes to life and being pro-life. I’d be afraid that, in the future, attitudes may change towards the elderly and people with special needs and the likes.

Bishop Monahan also said that although there were clearly difficulties, in light of the fact that so many Catholics voted for repeal, that it is unhelpful to talk about them leaving the church.

"It’s a very difficult question. It’s a Church and there are plenty of people with different attitudes within it and we have to accept that.

I don’t think it is helpful to say that you can’t be Catholic (if you voted for Repeal) because then lots of people would be leaving.

"The viewpoint of the Pope on this would be that if there is hope that people have faith and that they follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, not to throw them out of the Church ... But it’s very difficult, to reconcile the two viewpoints.”


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