A senior Vatican official has denounced the referendum result in Ireland as a “defeat for humanity” after the country overwhelmingly voted for the legalisation of same-sex marriage.
The outcome of the landmark referendum has been celebrated across the world as a resounding vote for equality. But Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, reportedly said he was “deeply saddened” by the result.
“I think that you cannot just talk of a defeat for Christian principles, but of a defeat for humanity,” he was quoted as saying by the Italian news agency ANSA. “The family remains at the centre and we have to do everything to defend it and promote it.”
Almost 62 per cent of voters in Ireland were in favour of legalising same-sex marriage, making it the first country to legalise gay marriage by popular vote.
The result led the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to vow to push through civil unions in the country, where 88 per cent of the population belongs to the Roman Catholic Church.
Parolin’s response contrasted with the reaction from Diarmuid Martin, the archbishop of Dublin and one of Ireland’s most senior Catholic clerics, who said the Church needed a “reality check”.
He told Irish broadcaster RTÉ: "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."
Pope Francis has not responded directly to the referendum but appeared to mark a shift in the attitudes of the Catholic Church in 2013 when he told reporters: "If someone is gay and is looking for the Lord, who am I to judge him?"
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