08 January 2015, The Tablet

Priest leader says Church likely to lose same-sex battle

A LEADING IRISH priest has warned that opposing proposed same-sex marriage legislation is a battle the Church is “destined to lose”, writes Sarah Mac Donald.

Fr Brendan Hoban, one of the leaders of the Association for Catholic Priests (ACP), said: “If the Church had been generous in welcoming civil partnerships in 2010 we’d be in a stronger position to argue about the definition of marriage.”

He added that some of the arguments offered by official and non-official church bodies against the Irish Government’s proposed change “seem unconvincing”.

He also questioned how much time, money and effort the Church is putting into fighting the proposal for gay marriage and how much time, money and effort is being devoted to the pastoral care of gay people.

The Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland is to poll its membership ahead of the forthcoming referendum on same-sex marriage to establish the level of support or opposition within its ranks. According to Fr Hoban, the ACP, which now represents around 1,100 clerics in Ireland, had views on gay marriage which ranged from “full agreement to outright opposition”.

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