A Catholic priest is responding to a controversy in Northern Ireland surrounding whether or not a pro abortion couple can be married in the Catholic Church. The controversy follows on the heels of a terrible vote in Ireland overturning legal protections for women and unborn children and Paving the way for legalized abortion up to 6 months.
As LifeNews reported, a Northern Ireland priest became the target of negative publicity last week when he expressed concern about a couple’s abortion advocacy and their desire to be married in the Catholic Church. As abortion advocates, the couple directly opposes Catholic Church teachings about the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.
In a private message to the couple, Father Damien Quigley of the Diocese of Armagh asked to meet with the couple about this conflict of values before moving forward with plans for their marriage. Someone, possibly the unnamed couple, shared Quigley’s message with BBC Radio Ulster’s Nolan Show on Tuesday, likely in an attempt to incite negative publicity.
Now, a west Belfast priest is weighing in and he says pro-abortion Catholics are “hypocrites” if they do not follow the Catholic Church’s pro-life teachings yet call themselves Catholic and expect to get married in the Catholic Church. He says Catholics who back abortion have plenty of other marriage site options available.
Father Patrick McCafferty says it is right that the Catholic Church is seen to be out of step with wider society, following the historic abortion referendum result in the Republic of Ireland.
“I would have to say to be people, if you don’t believe in what the church teaches, you are being a hypocrite, you are being dishonest, spiritually and morally,” he told UTV.
“Be honest, there are lots of other options available, there are beautiful civic areas, country houses, town halls.”
The BBC show shared Father Quigley’s full message to the couple on air:
“Just a heads up, that as the priest you’ve asked to celebrate your wedding for you, you and I would need to have a conversation about any promotion you may do to advocate for abortion in Ireland.
“Such promotion or advocacy would impact on the appropriateness of me celebrating your wedding or possibly the wedding taking place in a Catholic Church.
“I’m sure we can have a good chat over a coffee sometime.”
Quigley confirmed that he did write the message. In a statement, he said the matter is a private one involving a couple’s marriage, and it would be inappropriate to discuss in public.
“From the outset, I wish to advise you that it would not be appropriate for me to discuss details of my pastoral support to any specific individual or couple in their preparation for the sacrament of marriage,” he said in the statement. “However, please be advised that I have never refused to prepare any person or couple for the sacrament.”
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Why a couple would want to be married in a church whose teachings they actively oppose is odd. But what is more deeply concerning is what appears to be an attempt to push the priest to violate his beliefs.
Conscience rights for religious individuals and entities are under attack throughout the western world. In America, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU openly oppose conscience protections for doctors and nurses who have a “moral objection” to abortion because it kills an unborn baby.
Some have resulted in legal battles. In 2009, while working at a hospital in New York, nurse Cathy Cenzon-DeCarlo was forced to assist with a late-term abortion. Though she objected on grounds of violating her religious beliefs, the hospital threatened disciplinary action if she did not participate.
After a years-long legal battle and an investigation led by the Department of Health and Human Services, the hospital eventually changed its policy to ensure medical personnel are not forced to participate in abortions. Now, Cenzon-DeCarlo is an outspoken advocate on behalf of other medical personnel who are faced with the same unjust dilemma.
Catholic hospitals also have come under attack for refusing to abort unborn babies or perform medical procedures that violate their faith.