Saturday 24 August 2019

'I've always been a spiritual person' - MEP Maria Walsh says her sexuality doesn't stop her expressing her Catholic faith

TWO HORSE RACE...European election candidate Maria Walsh at the Castlebar count centre for the Midlands-Northwest.
Pic:Mark Condren
26.5.2019
TWO HORSE RACE...European election candidate Maria Walsh at the Castlebar count centre for the Midlands-Northwest. Pic:Mark Condren 26.5.2019

Mícheál Ó Scannáil

Newly elected Fine Gael MP, Maria Walsh, said that being a member of the LGBT community does not mean that you can’t also express your faith, as she attested to being a devote Roman Catholic.

Speaking on The Marian Finucane Show, the Midlands-North-West MEP said that, so strong is her connection to the Catholic church, her local Parish Priest led the celebrations after her election to the European Parliament. 

“I am a spiritual person I always have been,” she said.

“I guess like anybody living in Ireland, National and Secondary school was very much built on the Catholic church. I always had a great rapport with my parish priest. 

Well-known: Former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh celebrates her election as an MEP with her parents Vincent and Noreen. Photo: Michael McLaughlin
Well-known: Former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh celebrates her election as an MEP with her parents Vincent and Noreen. Photo: Michael McLaughlin

“Actually, my parish priest last night was the leader of the celebration we ad yesterday evening. I have friends throughout the country involved in the church and for me I always looked for something bigger and better and I always knew that there is a guiding force.”

Ms Walsh said that despite the Catholic church’s staunch conservative views on homosexuality, she has never been stopped expressing her faith. Unless she is given an ultimatum, she said, she will avoid having to choose between leaving the religion or adopting the church’s doctrine, that same-sex relations are a violation of their ‘Divine law’ and ‘Natural law’.

“I am an LGBTQ community member and I'm still happy to call myself Catholic. My sexual orientation is just one thing about me, as are my religious beliefs,” she said.

“Do they work together? Not necessarily in terms of the Pope or higher-beings, but it I've never been turned away by any church. For me, perhaps it would change if I ever got turned away from a church. I would hope that my parish priest would give me a blessing, maybe he can’t or maybe he won’t.

“My conversation with the man above is my own. When I get to the pearly gates, myself and himself, if it is a him, will have a chat and based on the merits that I hope to achieve, he’ll say ‘come on in’.” 

The former Rose of Tralee was the subject of a derogatory website designed to undermine her European campaign because of her "homosexual lifestyle".

Voters who searched for the Fine Gael representative were being directed toward the page by Google advertisements, before the search engine giant removed the ads.

Speaking to Marian Finucane, Ms Walsh hit out at the site, which accused her of promoting LGBT values to teenagers and trying to strip young people of their morals. 

“The website, which was extremely homophobic was targeted specifically at me,” she said.

“It was called ‘Maria Walsh for Europe’, so it looked very legitimate and a lot of my own photographs were utilised. Facebook ads and Google ads were purchased on behalf of this family, or this individual in the West of Ireland.

“There was phrasing that I’m brainwashing young people, that I've no morals or values. Anybody who knows that I'm the most authentic (person) and very protective of never pushing any sort of agenda.

“As a person regardless of if you are black or white gay or straight catholic or protestant, gay or straight, we all have an immense amount of opportunity to be whatever or whomever we want to be and to love whoever we want to love. So, this website was ridiculous.” 

Online Editors

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