When Irish eyes are smiling

by Maureen Fiedler

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When I went to church on Sunday, one of the hymns sung at the end of Mass was "When Irish Eyes are Smiling." It was in celebration of the Irish vote (62 percent, no less!) in favor of same-sex marriage the previous day. No, this was not a Dignity Mass; it was the celebratory decision of a small intentional community in the Washington, D.C., area, a group called Communitas, that believes -- with the Gospel -- that we are all equally loved by God.

I have to admit that I wondered after the vote what my Irish ancestors (my mother's side of the family: Maddens and Gormans) would say about all this. But they were a tolerant sort, so I suspect they would have understood. The rapid change of views on this subject, here and in many other parts of the world, continues to amaze me.

I had to laugh when The Washington Post announced the vote (before it took place) with the photo of two habited nuns on the front page. It was meant in the spirit of, "What will be the outcome in this staunchly Catholic country?" Now I think those nuns, habits and all, might well have voted "Yes" for same-sex marriage.

But the Catholic hierarchy of Ireland remains stunned. Their Irish eyes were not smiling! At least one bishop has said the leadership needs a "reality check." They might also consider a rethink of the church's official stance on LGBT people generally, and same-sex marriage in particular, as we move toward the next phase of the synod on the family this fall.

The Holy Spirit is singing with a brogue!

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