'If you're for abortion rights, get married in City Hall,' says priest
A leading priest said that Catholics who do not wish to abide by the Church's teaching on abortion can "get married in City Hall" rather than being "hypocritical and dishonest by using the Church for a day".
Fr Patrick McCafferty said it was "dishonest to have a wedding in a church if you don't respect or regard what the faith is about".
He added: "If you don't support the Church's teaching on a fundamental issue, why be hypocritical and dishonest by using the Church for a day? It's a total fiasco."
Writing in today's 'Belfast Telegraph', Fr McCafferty, of Corpus Christi parish in the city, stated that "you cannot be a Catholic and be in favour of abortion" and urged people who do not agree with the Church's teachings to "have marriages solemnised in a civil setting".
His comments came after an Armagh priest questioned whether a couple who advocated for abortion in Ireland could marry in the Catholic Church.
Fr Damien Quigley told the couple that their "promotion or advocacy" could also lead to him not being able to officiate at their ceremony.
According to BBC Radio Ulster's 'Nolan Show', Fr Quigley wrote to the couple via private message, saying: "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."
Fr Quigley, of the parish of Middle Killeavy, Newry, maintains an active presence on social media. The day after the referendum result he shared an "approximate version" of his introduction to that morning's Mass, which stated that "the majority of our brothers and sisters in the Republic of Ireland have voted to follow a tragic path".
He added that "as Catholics, we must not fall back, we must not retreat from defending life".
But former senator Máiría Cahill, who had a medical termination in her 20s and publicly campaigned for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment, called Fr Quigley's message to the young couple "petty" and said that it showed the Church was "out of touch" with many Catholics.
Ms Cahill said: "Hundreds, if not thousands, of Catholics have had abortions and continued to practise their faith - if the Church believes otherwise it is extremely naïve."