DignityUSA: 'Irish same-sex marriage vote splits hierarchy'

by Thomas C. Fox

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DignityUSA today issued a statement drawing attention to the conflicting responses coming out of the Catholic hierarchy following the Irish vote in favor of same-sex marriage. Ireland this week became the first nation in history to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote.

  DignityUSA is an organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics, their families, friends and supporters.

The full text of the DignityUSA statement follows:

 Boston, MA. May 27, 2015. The conflicting responses of two top Catholic officials to the Irish vote in favor of marriage equality illustrate the tensions surfacing among leaders in the Catholic Church, according to a leading group of LGBT Catholics.  Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has called the vote “a defeat for humanity,” while Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin said the Church should do  “a reality check” about the way its message was being received, especially by young people.

 “Archbishop Martin responded to the Irish vote with humility and gentleness,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of DignityUSA. “He represents those in the Catholic hierarchy who realize that they do not hold all the truth or all wisdom. He’s doing what Pope Francis was calling bishops to do when he said they should ‘smell like their sheep.’

 “Unfortunately, Cardinal Parolin’s comments demonstrate exactly the kind of inflexibility and arrogance that have driven so many people from the Church,” continued Duddy-Burke. “It is very hurtful and insulting to supporters of marriage equality to be spoken of as having unchristian, even inhuman, values.  More than 80% of the Irish people still identify themselves as Catholic, and most of the Irish people who voted to support same-sex couples and families did so because they recognize the love and commitment these couples share. They were moved by the stories of people they know, and by the relationships they have witnessed first-hand.  Their vote was no ‘defeat for humanity,’ but a victory for the fundamental Catholic values of love, inclusion, and the inherent dignity of all people.”

 Duddy-Burke concluded: “This issue and these disagreements will be front and center during the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September and the second phase of the Synod on the Family in Rome in October. How our Church leaders respond will impact the lives of people all over the world. We urge the Synod participants to invite in same-sex couples; parents of lesbian and gay people who are married, or who struggle because they can’t be married; and gay couples raising children so they can hear directly from us. We urge respectful listening, a willingness to ask questions, and openness to the Spirit.  Like Archbishop Martin of Dublin, we are calling upon our Church leaders to recognize that they must address the new realities in the world with sensitivity, sincerity, and honesty.”


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