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Vatican calls Irish gay vote 'defeat for humanity'

Senior cardinal raises debate about Catholic Church's stance on equality

27.05.2015
Vatican calls Irish gay vote 'defeat for humanity'

VATICAN CITY

Ireland’s vote for same-sex marriage has been described as a "defeat for humanity" by one of the Catholic Church’s most senior figures.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, secretary of state, said he was “very saddened” by the result, which saw 62 percent vote in favor of gay marriage in the predominantly Catholic country on Friday.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday evening, Parolin, who performs a prime ministerial role at the Vatican, said: "I believe that we are talking here not just about a defeat for Christian principles but also about a defeat for humanity."

He said the Church needed to take account of the Irish referendum result “in the sense of reinforcing its commitment to evangelization.”

His comments will revive the debate about the Church’s view on equality under Pope Francis. Shortly after he became pontiff, Francis raised the hopes of liberals in the Church when he said “Who am I to judge?” after being asked about a “gay lobby” in the Vatican.

Parolin, the first senior Church official to talk about the Irish vote, also emphasized the importance of family values.

The referendum in Ireland – the world’s first popular ballot on legalizing gay marriage – saw a heavy defeat for the No campaign led by the Church.

In Germany, the referendum has led to calls to legalize gay marriage, even within Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union. The Italian government is currently proposing to allow civil unions between same-sex couples although there are no plans to permit marriage.

The Church in Ireland has recently been undermined by a wave of paedophile scandals.

On Monday, the Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano said the Irish vote highlighted the "distance, in some areas, between society and the Church."

Parolin also touched on France’s appointment of Laurent Stefanini, an openly gay diplomat, to the Holy See. Five months after he was named, he has still not been accredited by the Vatican amid suspicion the delay is due to his sexuality.

The cardinal said dialogue was ongoing and hoped for a “positive result”.

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