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An archbishop says that Christians are "persecuted" over their views on marriage and abortion

The comments have been criticised.

THE ARCHBISHOP OF Armagh has told parishioners that they face persecution in the upcoming same-sex marriage referendum.

Speaking at mass on Thursday, Eamon Martin told people in attendance that being Christians leads to ridicule over some social stances.

He told the Chrism mass in St Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh:

“Sometimes daring to witness openly to our sincerely held Christian convictions can bring upon us ridicule, condemnation or even persecution.

I am thinking, for example, about our strong beliefs in the sacredness of human life from the first moment of conception until the moment of natural death; our Church’s understanding of marriage and the family; our Catholic social teaching about the fair distribution of goods, care for creation and concern for the weakest and most vulnerable.

Martin’s comments have come in for criticism from Catholic gay rights group Faith in Marriage Equality (FiME).

Dr Richard O’Leary of Faith in Marriage Equality said that “to make such a claim, especially on the eve of Good Friday, does a disservice to Christians who are genuinely persecuted in other parts of the world”.

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“I was also saddened that my fellow Christian, the Archbishop, showed no awareness of the painful history of criminalisation under the civil law and discrimination by the Church suffered by gay people in Ireland.”

O’Leary noted that “although Archbishop Eamon Martin’s comments were made during the period of the Irish referendum on same-sex marriage, not all Christians including the Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, Dr Paul Colton, agree with his view against marriage equality”.

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