The language used by the Catholic Church in its latest ruling on gay marriage is “just simply appalling,” according to former President Mary McAleese.
Earlier this week, the Vatican ruled that the Church could not bless same-sex unions because it is impossible for God to “bless sin.”
In its ruling the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) said it would be “illicit” for a priest to bless any relationship that involves sex outside of a Church marriage, “as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex.”
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, former President Mary McAleese said the language used to explain the ruling was “really distressing.”
“They accompany the document with what is called an explanatory memorandum and the language there is just simply appalling,” she said.
“They say that same-sex marriages cannot receive or express grace, well I don’t know about you but I don’t think a bowl of shamrock can receive or express grace but that can be blessed.
“The Church has used in the past and continues to use distressing ugly language when it talks about homosexual couples, homosexual love and it still talks in this document about their love not being ordered to God’s plans.”
She said the ruling reinforces the stigma within the Church against gay people.
“It is conducive to homophobia,” she said.
“Now, of course it uses syrupy language; talking about caring for and including our gay community, those who love them and their families – but the truth of the matter is that is just pure syrup
“When you look at the cold heard language, it is excluding and it is the kind of language that hurts people, unfortunately whether they like it or not. They may not want to the language to hurt people but that is what it does.”
She said the stance is not surprising – even though the ruling simply relates to blessings.
“We are not talking about the Church actually conducting same-sex marriages now, we are talking about blessings,” she said.
“We have had blessings of palms, blessings of shamrocks, blessings of cows, of cars, of footballs – this is what we are talking about, the offering simply is a blessing.
“It has become relatively commonplace in fact in some places for bishops, priests and even the occasional cardinals to offer such blessings – particularly in response to what was perceived as encouragement from Pope Francis, with his language like, ‘who am I to judge.’
The former President said she would not go as far as to accuse the Pope of being a hypocrite but warned, “he is a man who rides two horse and I think that is dangerous.”
“He is a person who said, ‘who am I to judge,’” she said.
“Well, he signed this document and it is judgemental and harshly judgemental from start to finish.
“He has to take responsibility for that. I wouldn’t accuse him of hypocrisy but what I am saying is you cannot ride two horses at the one time.”
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