The country's top bishop has rebuked Bishop Kevin Doran over his contentious comments on gay parenting and whether people are born gay.
Responding to Dr Doran's remarks, a spokesperson for Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin reiterated his criticism of "church leaders or self-appointed church spokespersons" who use language which is "insensitive and over judgmental".
The Archbishop originally made the criticism in an address at St John's Parish in Tralee last month.
Elsewhere in the same talk, Dr Martin said the church needed to "learn the art of criticism from the Gospel".
Bishop Doran told Newstalk's 'Breakfast' that the Government was "trying to pull the wool over people's eyes" by saying the referendum isn't about children.
He said a redefinition of marriage is also a redefinition of parenthood.
Asked about gays and lesbians who are parenting children, the Bishop of Elphin responded: "But they are not parents. They may have children, but you see this is the point, people who have children are not necessarily parents."
He said the Children and Family Relationships Bill was focused on making it possible for people in various different relationships to have children.
"It is not about ensuring children have their parents," he said.
He also questioned whether people are born gay.
The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network's (GLEN) Policy Director, Tiernan Brady, described the bishop's language as "very disrespectful".
He told the Irish Independent that the referendum was about "real people - people that are in every family, every community and every village and town across the country.
"Those people hear what is being said about them," he said.
"No matter what side of the debate you are on, we have to make sure our tone is respectful of those people," the GLEN spokesman added.
"What was said about whether people are born gay or not and trying to bring that into question was deeply disrespectful. That was mirrored on the point he made about parents."
Mr Brady's views were echoed by Fr Tony Flannery, who criticised Bishop Doran's tone and "lack of sensitivity" in his choice of language.
"I really fear that the church is heading down the path it did in several past debates and that this will further alienate people from the church."
However, a spokesman for Mothers and Fathers Matter, Professor Ray Kinsella, said he, like many others, were "gravely concerned" over the Government's attempt to push through far-reaching legislation which "effectively severs the link between a child and its biological parents".
Social media is alight with criticisms of Bishop Kevin Doran over his comments to Newstalk Breakfast yesterday morning. Once again the church is in the doghouse over its contentious, if counter-cultural views. Some of those offended by the bishop's opinions believe such insensitivity will backfire for the Catholic Church.