The Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin is reported in the media (Guardian, Irish Independent, Irish Times) today, 27 May, as saying that the ‘Yes’ vote in the recent Irish referendum on equal marriage was ‘a defeat for humanity’. He made this remark to reporters attending a conference in the Vatican. The fuller quote seems to be:
This result left me feeling very sad but as the Archbishop of Dublin pointed out, the Church will have to take this reality on board in the sense of a renewed and strengthened evangelisation. I believe that we are talking here not just about a defeat for Christian principles but also about a defeat for humanity.
My initial thoughts centred around the Church’s involvement in Industrial Schools, Magdalene Laundries, and Altar boys—a knee-jerk response, and one which doesn’t address the real issues.
The real questions are what ‘humanity’ and ‘Christian principles’ might be.
Concepts of mercy, tolerance, understanding, forgiveness, love, charity, inclusiveness, and the realities of life rapidly came to mind.
Ideas of distrust of the flock, control, intransigence, abstract theological constructions and dogma, and ‘more of the same’ were a distinct afterthought.
Robert Campbell is a retired surgeon.