A Northern Ireland couple is drumming up a slew of negative publicity against a priest who expressed concerns about marrying them because of their abortion advocacy.
The fiance, known only as Kevin, of Newry, County Down, Northern Ireland, spoke on BBC Radio Ulster’s Nolan Show on Wednesday after an unnamed source shared the situation with the news media earlier in the week.
The Rev. Damien Quigley of the Diocese of Armagh admitted he expressed concerns to the couple about their marriage in the Catholic Church, given their support of abortion. By advocating for abortion, they directly opposes Catholic Church teachings about the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.
In a private message to the couple, Quigley asked to meet with the couple about this conflict of values before moving forward with plans for their marriage, The Belfast Telegraph reports.
His message then was shared with the news media, likely in an attempt to incite negative publicity.
On Wednesday, Kevin said they plan to submit a complaint to Catholic Archbishop Eamon Martin about Quigley; and they may consider a civil marriage ceremony instead, The Irish News reports.
Here’s more from the report:
It emerged yesterday that Fr Quigley had sent the message after taking a screenshot of the man’s Facebook page where he had expressed his support to repeal the Eighth Amendment in the Republic’s referendum.
The man said the priest appeared to backtrack on his original comments by apologising for saying the couple may not be able to marry in a church, and adding that they just needed “to have a chat, ideally in person”.
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When Kevin said he pointed out that his fiancee is pro-life, he said Fr Quigley commented: “She is okay, we just need to work on you”.
The man said he was “shocked” by events.
The real shocker is that the man wants to be married in a church whose teachings he actively opposes. But what is more deeply concerning is what appears to be an attempt to push the priest to violate his beliefs.
In a statement earlier this week, Quigley did not say he would not marry the couple, only that he had concerns about their support for the legalized killing of unborn babies.
“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.”
The Archdiocese of Armagh issued a similar statement on Tuesday after the matter erupted in the news media.