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Feeling of "bereavement" at gay marriage result - says leader of Ireland's Catholics

Eamon Martin was asked about that “defeat for humanity” remark from the Vatican this morning.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Updated at 11.50am

THE LEADER OF the Ireland’s Catholics has said the Church felt a sense of “bereavement” at the result of last month’s same-sex marriage referendum.

Asked, on this morning’s Sean O’Rourke programme, about comments by a senior Vatican official last week that the result represented a “defeat for humanity,” Archbishop Eamon Martin stressed that many people who voted No felt a sense of loss at the result.

“One of the difficulties in the debate was that we had two parallel debates going on,” Martin said.

One was about the meaning of marriage, and the other was about respecting gay people and showing tolerance.

He said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, whose comments last week caused controversy, had been expressing “our deeply held conviction about the meaning of marriage”.

Many people in Ireland too would have been saddened by the result of the vote, Martin said.

I think what he was trying to do he was trying to express the loss that has occurred here – and we do feel it’s a loss, that something very unique and special and very precious has been lost.

He said that while there were clearly a lot of people who were ”very happy” at the result ”I think what the Cardinal was trying to do was to express that sense of loss – bereavement even”.

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‘Reaching out’

Speaking at the weekend, the Archbishop said the Church needed “to reach out pastorally to different kinds of families and relationships while at the same time continuing to be advocates for a Christian vision of marriage and for the unique and fundamental contribution to society of the family founded upon the love and marriage of a man and a woman”.

After re-iterating that message once again, he was also asked in this morning’s interview about the Church’s stance on civil marriages – and whether priests would continue to act as solemnisers for the State in the wake of the referendum result.

There were warnings during the referendum campaign that priests may be prevented from carrying out that role if the Church and State’s definitions of marriage were different.

However, speaking today, Martin said his personal view was that was something the Church should be “slow to do” and that more debate was needed.

Read: Bishop ‘regrets any hurt caused’ by saying gay couples with children are not parents

Read: Church still undecided if it will carry out civil ceremonies if referendum passes

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Daragh Brophy

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