Couple allegedly warned they may not be allowed to marry in Catholic Church if they support abortion in Northern Ireland
AN engaged couple have allegedly been warned that they may not be allowed to be married by a Catholic priest or in a Catholic church if they support legislating for abortion in Northern Ireland.
Following the landslide vote for the Eight Amendment to be repealed here last week, there have been calls for the liberalisation of abortion laws in Northern Ireland.
A couple claim they were contacted by Fr Damien Quigley, of the Archdiocese of Armagh, and advised he may have an issue with taking part in their big day if they advocate for abortion.
The alleged message he sent to the bridge and groom-to-be was read out on the Nolan Show on BBC Ulster today.
It read: "Just a heads up, that as the priest you've asked to celebrate your wedding for you, you and I would need to have a conversation about any promotion you may do to advocate for abortion in Ireland.
"Such promotion or advocacy would impact on the appropriateness of me celebrating your wedding or possibly the wedding taking place in a Catholic Church.
"I'm sure we can have a good chat over a coffee sometime."
The couple have not been named.
Host Stephen Nolan said that his show contacted Fr Quigley, who confirmed that he wrote the message and said it was private and he would not be commenting any further.
Mr Nolan said that he told the priest that although it was private it wasn't private anymore and asked what was his policy.
He claimed that Fr Quigley refused to comment any further but he did issue a statement.
In a statement the priest said: "From the outset, I wish to advise you that it would not be appropriate for me to discuss details of my pastoral support to any specific individual or couple in their preparation for the sacrament of marriage," the statement read.
"However, please be advised that I have never refused to prepare any person or couple for the sacrament."
The Catholic Church released a similar statement saying: "It would not be appropriate to discuss details of a priest’s pastoral support to any specific individual or couple in their preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage.
"However, please be advised that Father Quigley has never refused to prepare any person or couple for the Sacrament."
Mr Nolan said it was unclear if Fr Quigley would refuse to perform the duties in the future.
The Diocese of Armagh where Fr Quigley works issued a statement to the Nolan Show saying: "The Diocese has nothing further to add to Fr Damien's statement."