Strong youth vote in gay marriage poll shows gulf between the church and younger people
Published 04/06/2015 | 02:30
The mixed messages coming from prelates in Ireland and the Vatican in the wake of the same-sex marriage referendum could hardly be starker. Roman cardinals have compared the Irish to pagans and insisted that the Yes vote represents a "defeat for humanity". In Ireland, meanwhile, Dublin's Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has characterised the result as a "reality check" for the church and the Primate of All-Ireland Archbishop Eamon Martin said the hierarchy had many lessons to learn from the referendum.
Bishops are scheduled to meet in Maynooth later this month. Few - if any - will disagree with the need for a reality check. The church and mainstream Irish opinion are out of step: the referendum is resounding proof of that. The stumbling block is agreeing on what that reality check should be.
For liberal Catholics, this reality check rests in realising that a lot of Catholics no longer agree with their church on many issues. The referendum result, they will argue, proves that the people are ahead of the church on such issues.