Friday 21 September 2018

Ursula Halligan: 'I want gay marriage in church - my love is not evil'

Ursula Halligan came out just before the gay marriage referendum. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Ursula Halligan came out just before the gay marriage referendum. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

Sarah MacDonald

Former TV3 political correspondent Ursula Halligan has said that, as a Catholic gay person, she wants the Church to provide full sacramental marriage for same-sex couples.

Ms Halligan was speaking to the Irish Independent at a conference for Catholic reform groups at the weekend ahead of the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) in Dublin in August.

She said the Church's teaching on same-sex relationships was "deeply insulting and offensive".

"As a gay person, I don't want pastoral care from the Church. Pastoral care only brings comfort to the Church," she said.

"I reject the Church's teaching that gay people are 'objectively disordered' and that our love is 'intrinsically evil'."

Ms Halligan, who attended the conference as a delegate, described herself as a "person of faith and a committed Catholic".

The gay marriage referendum was passed by an overwhelming majority vote. Photo: PA
The gay marriage referendum was passed by an overwhelming majority vote. Photo: PA

However, she added: "As a woman and a gay person, I'm not putting up with it any longer. I'm not sitting at the back of the bus any more. The institutional Church has to change on this."

She said the Church's teaching on same-sex relationships was "deeply insulting and offensive, not only to the dignity of every gay person, but it is deeply insulting to God whose image and likeness we are made in.

"I believe my love is as good as anyone else's love and as a Catholic I'm looking for full sacramental marriage for same-sex couples," she said.

She added: "The recent removal of images of gay people from the WMOF event brochure is disturbing and alarming.

"It sends out a disturbing message.

"On the second last day of the WMOF 2018, a Festival of Families will take place on Saturday, August 25, and five selected families from around the world will be invited to give witness to their families' faith. What preparations are under way to ensure at least one of these families will be a family headed by a same-sex couple?" she asked.

Speakers at the conference, titled 'Future Families: Challenges for Faith and Society', included Susan Casey, a divorced mother of two originally from the US but living in Ireland.

She criticised the Church's "demonisation" of divorced and separated families and warned that "the Eucharist is being used as a weapon rather than nourishment" against people whose marriages fail.

Two mothers, who are practicing Catholics and whose sons are gay, addressed the conference. Other speakers included Denis O'Brien, of the National Youth Council of Ireland, and Ray Kelly, of Unmarried and Separated Families of Ireland.

Concern was expressed by participants that conservative American funders were "calling the shots" over the line-up of workshops and speakers for the WMOF event in Dublin.

Patricia Fitzsimons, of the Association of Catholics in Ireland's steering group, said Irish Catholics were concerned that the WMOF gathering "isn't seen to be expressing the views of Irish people".

Irish Independent

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