Bishop to meet politician ousted in abortion row
Published 21/05/2016 | 02:30
A Social Democrat politician, whose name was reportedly removed from the lectors list at Mass due to his party's beliefs on abortion and gay marriage, will meet with the Bishop of Cloyne in a bid to resolve the matter.
Ken Curtin claimed he was asked to stop reading lessons at St Colman's Cathedral in Cobh, Co Cork, due to the Social Democrat policy on repealing the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution over abortion restrictions. He said he was also told the decision was influenced by his outspoken stance in favour of a Yes vote in the marriage equality referendum last year.
The Diocese of Cloyne confirmed to the Irish Independent that it now hopes to arrange a meeting between the Bishop of Cloyne, Dr William Crean, and Mr Curtin early next week, adding that there would be no further comment at this time.
However, Mr Curtin (41) admitted he was deeply shocked by the decision.
"I went along to Mass last Sunday where the lectern (reading roster) was being addressed for the coming year," he said.
"I discovered at the end of Mass, when I went up to get the rota, that my name wasn't on the list. I discovered the decision was made to remove me from the list because of my party, the Social Democrats, and the position on supporting a referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment.
"I was told this was a core Church belief and there is a complete disconnect between somebody on the altar sharing the word of God and the same person being in a party that supports a referendum on repealing the Eighth.
"I was also told my support had been singled out for the marriage equality referendum last year," he added.
"I was told that, on those grounds, I couldn't continue (with altar readings). It was bizarre and unprecedented."
Mr Curtin said that the decision to remove his name from the list was a "backward step for the Church".
"I think it is important that the Church listens to different voices and tackles the issues that it has facing it, including being out of touch with its membership and the declining number of people attending Mass," he said.