Kilkenny bishops differ on same-sex marriage vote

The Roman Catholic Bishop of Ossory Seamus Freeman has indicated his opposition to same-sex marriage ahead of Friday’s referendum on marriage equality.

The Roman Catholic Bishop of Ossory Seamus Freeman has indicated his opposition to same-sex marriage ahead of Friday’s referendum on marriage equality.

In a pastoral letter presented at all Masses in the Diocese of Ossory last weekend, Bishop Freeman urges his parishioners to ‘consider very carefully the profound implications’ of the constitutional amendment. He refers to a ‘desire to protect marriage and the family as it is currently understood’, and says that a ‘No’ vote was not contrary to the value of equality.

“To vote ‘No’ is simply to remain true to the understanding of marriage as between one man and one woman,” writes Bishop Freeman.

Meanwhile, his Church of Ireland counterpart, the Bishop of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory Michael Burrows, is supporting a ‘Yes’ vote. He has previously described gay rights as ‘the great justice issue of our time’.

At a conference in April this year called ‘Marriage Equality: The Religious Case for a Yes Vote’, Bishop Burrows said a same-sex marriage would contribute ‘to a fairer and more truly equal Ireland’.

The Roman Catholic Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin (which encompasses part of south Kilkenny) Denis Nulty has expressed his desire to see no change in the Constitution legislating for same-sex marriage. In his pastoral letter, he urged his parishioners ‘to value the model of Christian marriage which is the fundamental building block of our society’.

Clergy around the country have in recent weeks reported a high number of people seeking guidance on the issue of same-sex marriage ahead of the Referendum on Friday.