Top Irish Archbishop admits Catholic church is guilty of making LGBT+ people ‘miserable’
An archbishop has said the Catholic church has made LGBT+ people feel ‘miserable’ and admitted it was complicit in the jailing of gay people.
Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland, Diarmuid Martin, was responding to Pope Francis saying he supports same-sex civil unions.
Like the pope and other Catholic leaders, Martin opposes marriage equality. However, he has called on the church to rethink its views on LGBT+ issues in the past.
Martin said Francis’ comments was ‘a very strong message to the community in the Roman Catholic Church’.
Moreover, he told RTÉ Radio 1 that Francis had opened up the subject of LGBT+ families for discussion.
‘Civil union law’
Francis made the comments in a documentary which premiered last week.
The pope said: ‘Homosexual people have a right to be in a family. What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered.
Marriage equality campaigners and LGBT+ Catholics were quick to embrace the remarks. However, Francis was merely repeating his past view that civil unions could provide some protection to LGBT+ couples without them having access to marriage.
Indeed, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone claims Francis told him and other senior clergy this year that marriage would remain between a man and a woman. Cordileone suggests Francis’ proposed civil unions could even apply to brothers and sisters living together.
Likewise, Archbishop Martin made clear during the referendum on same-sex marriage in Ireland that same-sex couples could never wed like heterosexuals.
‘There is only one marriage and that is marriage as a basic human reality,’ he said at the time.
Despite this, he called on opponents of equal marriage to behave in a more Christian manner to LGBT+ people during the referendum debate.
Moreover, when the marriage vote passed, he said the church needed a ‘reality check’ on the issue. He pointed to a ‘growing gap’ between Catholic attitudes and both young people and an emerging Irish culture of diversity.
‘I wasn’t in favour of gay marriage’
Now he has referred back to those remarks in his response to Francis.
He said: ‘So the first thing I would say is that the pope is clearing the air for further discussion.
‘After the same-sex [marriage] referendum here in Ireland, I talked about the idea of a reality check. And this again will be an opportunity for people to do a reality check within the church.’
Martin also said: ‘For many years I’ve been saying that we should have had, in Ireland, civil liberties.
‘I said it on one occasion and the next day I was in London and I was walking along the street and I see a headline, “archbishop of Dublin in favour of gay marriage”. I wasn’t in favour of gay marriage.
‘The big challenge will be, how do you say to people, the church regards in a special way a marriage between a man and a woman, without giving the impression that therefore anybody outside that framework is second class?
‘We have to be able to say that both are right and there’s space for both, but sometimes we all get trapped into our absolutes.’
Moreover, he suggests internalized homophobia could be a culprit in making church attitudes so toxic:
‘There are in other countries very strong homophobic tendencies even in church leaders, and what I find even here ourselves, we have some people whose frustration with their own gay identity is leading them to be homophobic in ways.’
Meanwhile his admission that the church has made people miserable may be a breakthrough. Even some conservative Catholics argue that LGBT+ people of faith need pastoral care, which the church can’t give if it is openly homophobic.
Illustrating his point, he referenced the laws which criminalized male and female gay sex in Ireland until 1993.
Martin said: ‘Certainly the church’s attitude has made the life of LGBT+ people miserable. Even for a person of my age it’s very hard for me just to think, people were put in prison simply because of [their sexuality] and the church contributed to that.’
Published on GayStarNews Read the original article
Author: Tris Reid-Smith