"Just make it stop!" - Simon Harris criticises bishop's comments on contraception

The Health Minister said religion "will not determine health and social policy in our country any more"

"Just make it stop!" - Simon Harris criticises bishop's comments on contraception

Simon Harris. Picture by: NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images

Health Minister Simon Harris has said religion "will not determine health and social policy" in Ireland any more.

Minister Harris was responding to remarks from the Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran about contraception and same-sex marriage.

In comments quoted by the Irish Times, Bishop Doran said the Catholic Church's Humanae Vitae principles from 1968 - which restricted almost all artificial contraception - "need to be presented in a fresh way".

Speaking at an event in Dublin to mark the 50th anniversary of the encyclical letter, Bishop Doran argued: "It may seem to some that contraception has liberated women insofar as it allows them to take control of their own fertility.

"But the fact that they are less likely to become pregnant also takes away from women one of the principle motives or freedoms for saying no to unwanted sex."

He added: "There is a very direct connection between the contraceptive mentality and the surprisingly high number of people who seem ready to redefine marriage today as a relationship between two people without distinction as to sex."

The bishop also suggested there is 'undoubtedly a place in schools' for the Church's teachings on human sexuality.

Responding to the comments on Twitter, Minister Harris said "please just make it stop!"

The Health Minister's comments were backed by his party colleague Senator Catherine Noone - who tweeted "amen to that Simon!"