Priest hits out at response to referendum vote by cardinal

An Irish priest has said he disagrees with the comments of a high-ranking Vatican official who described last week’s marriage equality referendum result as a “defeat for humanity”.

Fr Seán McDonagh of the Association of Catholic Priests said that he does not know why Cardinal Pietro Parolin expressed his disappointment at the result in such terms, and said that the result should not have come as a shock to the Vatican’s secretary of state.

“Looking at the polls in the four to five weeks running up to the election they were 70-30 in favour, so the result came as no surprise,” Fr McDonagh said.

He said the church needs to address its approach to homosexuality, and change its attitude of criticising and dismissing gay people and their experiences.

He was critical of the church’s decision to drop a paragraph on the “gifts and qualities” gay people can offer from a report on its extraordinary synod on the family which was held last year. “It raises serious questions for the synod on the family which will be held in October of this year.”

Meanwhile, the director of a Christian think tank has claimed the Irish electorate was subjected to years of “relentless propaganda” in the years leading up to the referendum.

In an interview with the Family Research Council, an American conservative Christian group, David Quinn of the Iona Institute said the Irish media “softened up” the public in favour of same-sex marriage.

“For the last four years basically Irish people have been subjected to what amounts to relentless propaganda from all of our media, from soap operas, from entertainment shows, from talk shows in favour of same- sex marriage with the result that four weeks ago, when the referendum campaign began, those opposed to the redefinition of marriage amounted to only 17% of the electorate.”

He also claimed Ireland was “massively reacting against its Catholic past” in voting in favour of the constitutional amendment.

“So basically those of us on the pro-traditional marriage side, a word I use advisedly because, I mean it’s basically real marriage isn’t it, we had no media on our side whatsoever and we had no political parties on our side whatsoever, in addition to the fact that, as I say, we had the church so weak and then all the major money went on the other side.”

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