Tréadlitir - Seachtain na Páise 2015
Pastoral Letter Holy Week 2015
On Sunday April 14th 2014, the
Constitution Convention formally voted in favour of a referendum being
held in relation to same sex marriage.
What an historic moment
indeed that was, and it has led to another which is now almost upon us –
Friday 22nd May 2015 – the day that the nation of Ireland goes to the
polls and votes on, amongst others, the right of same sex couples to be
legally entitled to be married.
Of course, there have been,
currently are, and will be, many debates in relation to this matter,
with all sides expressing their views in relation to the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’
side and indeed perhaps a few who will abstain.
In writing this
piece, let me be clear about myself and my views in all of this so that
there will be clarity and no confusion now or further down the line.
am a gay male, who happens to be a priest.
Even if I choose to not avail of the right to
marry, at least I know that I have partaken in something which will
not only permit others to partake fully in society but also enshrines
the right s of others through the generations to come.
what concerns me at the moment is the the divisions within the gay
community itself in relation to this issue and the somewhat challenging
positions being adopted which may end up costing the LGBT community this
In recent days, I have become aware – regrettably – of
members of the LGBT community being directly and indirectly being
verbally abused by other memebrs of the LGBT community.
s/he has decided for themselves that they will cast a ‘No’ vote in the
upcoming referendum and have acquitted themselves well when asked why
they, as a member of the LGBT community, would then cast a ‘negative’
vote against their ‘own community’.
I have seen where they have
also been compared to a certain organisation which is promoting a ‘No’
vote in the referendum and actually being accused (falsely let it be
noted) of being a member of this organisation.
disgusting and beneath contempt to say the least and it is something the
LGBT community needs to address now before this becomes an issue not
only within the community but also outside the community as it tries to
garner a ‘Yes’ vote.
What is of concern is that within itself,
the LGBT community is now becoming the suppressor and oppressor of those
whom it feels is ‘going against the rights of the community’ by voting
‘No’ on May 22nd.
Where is the equality in that?
now a situation that by expressing a view contrary to that held by the
community, one will now find themselves victimised and accused of being
When did the LGBT community decide it was going to
start behaving like certain institutions who have themselves been
suppressors of the LGBT community in this country?
Have we not learned anything?
nothing else in this debate, I implore ALL sides to be respectful,
tolerant and accepting of the views, opinions and decisions of ALL.
We are either equal in society or we are not…but the decision is ours to make at each and every turn in all of this.
Equality requires us to* respect the person(s) making the argument;* respect the argument irrespective of who is making the argument;* respect the vote of each and every person voting on the day;*
respect the decision when it is announced, and if the vote is NOT in
favour on the day, we must respect it and exercise our rights as
citizens of this nation to continue to fight for equality without being
If the vote is in favour (please God) then let us be
grateful and graceful in our response to it without making anyone feel
sidelined or outside the community because they have a different view.
old saying comes to mind, ‘I may not like what you say, but I will
defend your right to say it’, and it is the very basis for our democracy
and the entitlement within the democratic structure to say our piece
without being maligned or mistreated because of it.
hold the belief that we are indeed all equal, and not one single one of
us has any perceived right to mistreat anyone, irrespective of their
views etc. and it is most regrettable if it happens within any
Down through the years, I have held the belief of
live and let live, and to put it into a religious context, may I offer
these words….“A new
command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must
love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples,
if you love one another.”(John 13: 34-35)
my capacity as priest, bishop and Christian, I offer again to the LGBT
community my support through my ministry, and working with other faith
communities who offer the same pastoral outreach .
Let not the
oppressed become the oppressors as to do so will only sully the
historic moment of equality for which we have all waited for so long.
rests with us as a society, as a community and as individuals as to how
this referendum goes, therefore let us be respectful of those in
society, in our community and those individuals who have different views
and opinions than our own.
Let us not win this referendum
through bullying, intimidation and victimisation from WITHIN the
community but rather by showing that we are respectful, accommodating
and engaging to ALL of society.
It rests with us to win or lose
this referendum and the irony of equality within society being won by
the suppression of equality from WITHIN the community would not be lost
on many who would most certainly expose it and certainly cost us the
right to live as equals in society.
Not one single person is
more or less equal than anyone else in this community, country or on
this planet so let us not become judge and jury on the entitlements or
otherwise of others to hold an opinion different than that which we
would wish them to be.
Bullying, intimidation and other
unwelcome behaviour is NOT the modus operandi of ANY organisation or
grouping who wants genuine involvement in the democratic act of voting.
now ask, on this Good Friday, that ALL who are engaged in this
behaviour, to stop the scourging of those who hold different opinions
It does nothing for the cause to obtain equality and indeed may do more damage than good.We
as a community have been crucified enough down through the years and to
now self-inflict it is beyond tolerable and understanding.
and let live at this time, and together let us ALL look forward to the
morning of Saturday 23rd May when the vote is announced that – at long
last – we have equal standing in Irish society.
I will continue
in my ministry to reach out to all couples who wish to have a spiritual
or religious ceremony irrespective of the vote, but let us pray and vote
for a new Easter dawn of equality in our land, our community, our
society, our homes and our hearts.
Mise, le meas,
Holy Week 2015