Monday 19 February 2018

Pope may have seen the light, but church still has too many blind spots

Mary McAleese
Mary McAleese

Tony Flannery

The very strong intervention by former president Mary McAleese on the subject of Catholic teaching on homosexuality has certainly caused a stir. Along with initiating very necessary discussion on Catholic Church teaching and attitudes towards gay people, the succeeding days since her intervention have clearly highlighted some of the difficulties surrounding any form of dialogue between the differing views in the church.

Pope Francis has signalled that he wants this dialogue and discussion to take place; he talks about "an open church where everyone can share". But for any benefit to accrue, this dialogue has to be tolerant and respectful, with more listening than talking, and devoid of any attempt to brow-beat alternative views into submission. Those of us on "one side" have to try to see things from the perspective of the "other side".

There are three main barriers to this open dialogue.

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