Strong youth vote in gay marriage poll shows gulf between the church and younger people
The mixed messages coming from prelates in Ireland and the Vatican in the wake of the same-sex marriage referendum could hardly be starker. Roman cardinals have compared the Irish to pagans and insisted that the Yes vote represents a "defeat for humanity". In Ireland, meanwhile, Dublin's Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has characterised the result as a "reality check" for the church and the Primate of All-Ireland Archbishop Eamon Martin said the hierarchy had many lessons to learn from the referendum.
Bishops are scheduled to meet in Maynooth later this month. Few - if any - will disagree with the need for a reality check. The church and mainstream Irish opinion are out of step: the referendum is resounding proof of that. The stumbling block is agreeing on what that reality check should be.
For liberal Catholics, this reality check rests in realising that a lot of Catholics no longer agree with their church on many issues. The referendum result, they will argue, proves that the people are ahead of the church on such issues.