THE Bishop of Killaloe, Dr Willie Walsh said last night that he has been saddened by the deep hurt caused by the Church to homosexuals.
Dr Walsh was speaking last night at a civic reception in Ennis held in his honour by Clare County Council celebrating his contribution to Clare life as bishop over 16 years.
Asked about his views on the Oireachtas passing the Civil Partnership Bill, Dr Walsh said: “I’ve always been hesitant about asking civil authorities to support a particular teaching of our Church.
“I place great emphasis on marriage and family life... It is deeply, deeply important and we would be endangering that at our peril.
“I know and respect many people who are gay. We should always treat them with the deep respect to which every human being is entitled.
“While I do worry about the apparent breakdown of family life, I equally respect the laws of this country.
“I respect people who are of homosexual orientation and I would be always conscious of the fact that very often we in the Church have hurt them and hurt them deeply and I am saddened by that and saddened by the lack of respect for any human being.”
Mayor of Clare, Councillor Christy Curtin (Ind) said: “[Dr Walsh] ministered to his flock with compassion and related with ease to the hopes and fears of ordinary people in the diocese.”
Cllr Joe Arkins (FG) said that Dr Walsh’s stewardship as bishop was “exemplary and worthy of celebration“, while former mayor, Cllr Patricia McCarthy (Ind) praised Dr Walsh for raising the debate on the role of women in the Church and praised his ‘Walk of Atonement’, after the clerical abuse reports, which she said struck a chord with her.
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