Ireland’s Gay Marriage Referendum a Sign of Roman Catholic Decline 05/26/2015

Trevor Grundy | Religion News Service |
“In Ireland,” says a character in a 1904 George Bernard Shaw play, “the people is the Church, and the Church is the people.”

But not so much anymore.

On Friday (May 22), voters in this once deeply Roman Catholic country will decide whether the country’s constitution should be amended to allow for gay marriage. If the amendment passes, Ireland will become the first country to legalize same-sex civil marriage by popular vote.

Catholic faith has been faltering among the younger Irish for the last 40 years, undermined, in part, by a series of long-covered-up cases of sexual abuse involving priests and choirboys and altar boys.

In her book ”Goodbye to Catholic Ireland,” Mary Kenny wrote: “The scandals left the people with the feeling that the clerical way of life was in itself an error, and that Catholicism as a system has been seen to fail to practice the virtues it so ardently preached.”

Many Catholics wonder what right the Catholic Church has to oppose gay marriage when those charged with proclaiming and upholding Christian morality were abusing children.

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