Ken Curtin, a Cork east candidate for the Social Democrats who took issue with the Church’s blanket opposition to abortion, was recently removed from the reading rota at Cobh Cathedral by its administrator Fr John McCarthy.
Last night he met for an hour and a half with Fr McCarthy along with the Bishop of Cloyne William Crean. Afterwards, he said he was disappointed that, despite a detailed conversation, his removal from the rota remained in place.
Plans were outlined for a “general dialogue” to continue between himself and the bishop.
The diocese stressed that dialogue will not see him returned to this rota — it was only just formed and will remain in place for the next year.
“This outcome, from a personal perspective, is very disappointing,” said Mr Curtin. “I believed at the time it was the wrong decision and I still believe that. My biggest fear is the precedent it sets.”
He questioned what would happen every time a Catholic expressed a contrary opinion to the Church on issues such as contraception and sex before marriage.
“This sends out an awful message. It is the reason why there are so few people coming through the doors,” Mr Curtin said, adding while he may have campaigned for a yes vote in the same-sex marriage referendum and joined a party that is seeking a repeal of the Eighth Amendment, his faith meant a lot to him and he felt the decision which had been taken “singled him out” in Cobh.
“So many Catholics would be of the same view as me or more liberal,” he said.
Mr Curtin said that, during last night’s meeting. those present spoke about the precedent the decision set and about the different viewpoints people held.
He said they also spoke about material put online about Mr Curtinand some of what had been written had been “horrendous”.