Cardinal Pietro Parolin
The Vatican says that Ireland’s overwhelming vote to legalise same-sex marriage last week is a “defeat for humanity.”
On Tuesday, a senior Vatican official, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, spoke out against the outcome of the predominately Catholic country’s referendum at a press conference in Rome, reported The Guardian.
Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State and described as the second most senior official after the Pope, said that he “was deeply saddened by the result.”
He went on to add: “I think that you cannot just talk of a defeat for Christian principles, but of a defeat for humanity.”
Troublingly, Parolin did not view the wave of support for marriage equality as an opportunity for reflection by the church, and instead called for a hardening of its stance.
“The church must take account of this reality, but in the sense that it must strengthen its commitment to evangelisation,” he said.
The comments are in contrast to those made earlier by Diarmuid Martin, the Archbishop of Dublin, as it became clear on the weekend that voters had embraced same-sex marriage.
“We have to stop and have a reality check, not move into denial of the realities,” he told RTE.
“I appreciate how gay and lesbian men and women feel on this day. That they feel this is something that is enriching the way they live. I think it is a social revolution,” Martin said.
Ireland has been seen as as prominent stronghold for the church in Europe. In 2011, 84.2% of the population identified themselves as Roman Catholic.
While Pope Francis has hinted at a willingness to be more accepting of gay people, the Catholic Church remains officially opposed to same-sex relationships and especially gay marriage.
And, despite famously stating that he’s in no position to judge gay people, the flip-flopping pontiff has also personally described same-sex marriage as a threat to the family.