‘A Defeat for Humanity’

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.

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  • Ernekid

    It seems that the Catholic Church is determined to cement its irrelevancy in Irish life. In the next couple of years there’s going to be a increasing demand for Educate Together schools and non religious education as young parents won’t want their kids taught by the church anymore. I reckon there’ll be greater demand for registry wedding (both gay and straight) as couples won’t want to get married in a church either.

    It’s time for Ireland to become a truly secular society and kicks the Church out its position of privilege. It simply doesn’t reflect the views of the people anymore.

  • ruhah

    Their views are certainly are at odds with the dominant western ideology. Even their old stalwart defenses using natural law failed to convince the people during the referendum. In essence, they no longer rely upon civil enforcement of religious orthodoxy, but that might be a good spur to reformation of sorts. The church has been around for a long long time and answered many challenges, I suspect history, rather than wistful thinking, gives a truer reading of the future.

    One remark though- I am not sure the Church ever really sought to represent the views of ‘the people’, nor do I think they are terribly concerned about irrelevancy. In the 21st century, each week they get up and read from a book thousands of years old and celebrate a feast of a dead/risen Saviour.

  • Granni Trixie

    So, the ambiguous words of Archbishop of Dublin in response to the SSM result are taken by the Cardinal to mean “Ireland needs more evangelicisation”, begging the question of can the Archbishop live with that interpretation? Or will he,sooner or later, indicate what he really meant?

    I for one took his words to mean “we will have to re-think how the church got it so wrong and we must find ways to make Catholicism relevant to the Irish people,especially the new generation”.

    If infact he goes with Romes “way forward” he has no chance.

  • Ernekid

    If the Church doesn’t introduce dramatic reforms it won’t last much longer in the West.otherwise in the next few years, there’s going to be a lot of developers making a lot of money turning closing churches into Bars/nightclubs etc.

  • chrisjones2

    Has the Vatican ever give the Garda all those papers on pedophile priests. You know the ones they smuggled out of Ireland and then refused to return as part of a cover up organised by the Vatican? Then said that the Garda didn’t ask for them in the correct manner

    Were they ever given up

    The Cardinal might try a bit of evangilisation in Rome first

  • mac tire

    This is probably primarily for Italian consumption. Italy is now the only Western European country that does not recognise either same sex marriage or civil unions.
    The Italian Prime Minister, after Ireland’s vote last week, promised to attempt to introduce civil unions to Italy.
    It’s also quite likely a broadside to the Vatican itself not to change it’s tune.

  • Muskerry

    The Yes vote last week is an affirmation of humanity.

    After all the scandals and cover-ups, the Catholic church occupies the moral low ground when it comes to any public discourse on sex or the family.

    So anytime I hear any pontificatory crap coming from the hierarchy or the vatican, I think “Moral Low Ground” and go about my daily business.

  • Jag

    Ireland should simply appoint Panti Bliss as ambassador to the Vatican.

  • Granni Trixie

    Not forgetting the church of Poundland,Lydl (fill in your own favourites).

  • JohnTheOptimist

    There already was a survey of parents on what type of schools patronage they prefer.
    It was ordered by atheist education minister Ruari Quinn and published its findings in 2013. Because the survey didn’t produce the results the Dublin 4 media would have liked, it hasn’t received a lot of publicity. The overwhelming majority of parents (over 70%) wanted to retain Catholic Church patronage of schools. There is a demand for Educate Together-type schools (which should be met), but its limited to about 20%-30% of the population.


    What will be interesting will be to compare the 2 systems in a few years when the Educate Together-type schools will have been up and running long enough to compare their results with the Catholic schools. My guess is that, as in other countries (including N. Ireland, the U. Kingdom and U. States) the Catholic schools will be winning hands down.

    The idea that Catholicism in Ireland is on its deathbed and about to swept away by atheist liberalism is sheer fantasy. How often have we heard that in the past from atheists and liberals? Certainly, Stalin used to say it a lot. But, the Catholic Church saw him off without too much trouble. Some 38% voted ‘No’ last week. Of the 62% who voted ‘Yes’ many were liberal Catholics (Mary McAleese, Lucinda Creighton, Michael Martin etc) who would have no truck with the anti-Catholic mobs on other issues. Polls show 80% of people in Ireland believe in God, about 45% attend Church weekly, about 60% attend Church at least once every month.

    Anyone looking for an organisation that is about to become irrelevant in Irish life should look at the Irish Labour Party, which now has only months to live. I shall not miss it when its gone.

    Looking at it in global terms, the Catholic (and indeed other Christian) Churches are growing rapidly in most parts of the world outside Europe. The growth is particularly fast in the current boom area of the world, east Asia.

    Certainly, all Churches are in decline in Europe. But, Europe itself is in terminal decline. Its population is rapidly ageing as, under the influence of atheism/secularism, it is failing miserably to produce enough children. Its population is predicted by Eurostat to fall by one-third between now and end-century, with its only demographic bright spot being its Muslim population, whose numbers are growing exponentially. By end-century, the dominant area of the world will be Asia, which will have a thriving Catholic (and indeed other Christian) Church. By that time poor tired old Europe will count for nothing and probably be part of the Caliphate.

  • JohnTheOptimist

    I wonder if the anti-Catholic Dublin media will give this news (just out this morning) as much coverage as they undoubtedly would have, had it been the Catholic Church.


    Frankly, I will be surprised if it even gets a mention on RTE or the Irish Times.

  • Jag

    How many Methodists are there in the Republic? (there’s 55,000 on the island, but I would guess vast majority are in Northern Ireland)

  • chrisjones2

    Here’s another defeat for humanity the good Cardinal might like to consider


    It is difficult to believe that any organisation can be so out of touch but the Board managing this site might reflect on the ingenuity of Dubliners and how much fun can be had on a sofa, table, carpet on the floor or even in a single bed.

  • Clanky

    The idea the the church should approach problems with a renewed and strengthened evangelisation is interesting. If that indicates that the church is going to try to persuade people who don’t agree with them to live the life that the church thinks they should rather than to force them into it by trying to influence the law then it can only be a step forward.

    I am happy for religious people to have their opinions, I am happy to listen to their opinions, I am certainly not happy for them to make their opinions law so that I am forced to comply with their opinions whether I agree with them or not.

  • chrisjones2

    To be fair they did cover the alleged abuse in Church oif Ireland in Dublin highlighted this week – insofar as the rules of subjudice would allow

  • Korhomme
  • Celtlaw

    It takes some great chutzpah for the Yes camp to keep criticizing the church over alleged pedophilia. Check the facts; it was not pedophilia. For the most part it was seduction of post-pubescent males by homosexuals in power, in this case priests. The church is rightly condemned for failure to root out these predators and for hiding them, but is was not paedophilia – it was homosexual seduction and/or rape.

  • JohnTheOptimist

    As I predicted, they didn’t mention it.

  • John Collins

    In fairness it would appear that the authorities in Britain have some way to go too when investigating some instances of this behaviour especially in high places. Of course Rome behaved scandalously in this area but sadly they not the only ones.