An Irish priest received a standing ovation this week after telling his Catholic congregation his gay, and declaring support for same-sex marriage. Father Martin Dolan, who had served at the Church of St Nicholas of Myra in Dublin for 15 years, made the startling confession during Saturday night mass, and repeated it the next morning. After announcing his support for same-sex marriage ahead of the Irish referendum to be held in May, Dolan told his parishioners: “I’m gay myself.”
To that the congregation rose to their feet in applause, it has been reported. Father Dolan is the parish’s only priest. Community youth worker Liz O’Connor told The Irish Sun: “We are all very proud of Father Martin. Because he has admitted that he is gay he doesn’t change the person that he was before it.” A source within the Catholic Church said: “He was just doing his service, it was part of his homily, and that’s it. If he feels strongly about something, Martin just says it.” His church, St. Nicholas of Myra is a huge basilican church built in the first flush of Catholic Emancipation in 1834 serving a tight knit inner city parish in the area of Dublin known as the Liberties.
— Irish Sun (@IrishSunOnline) January 7, 2015
The move has been celebrated by gay rights groups in Ireland, including Marriage Equality Ireland and the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, as the movement’s big day at the polls beckons. A referendum on legalising gay marriage in Ireland will be held in May, with polls indicating majority support for same-sex marriage — The Irish Times last month registered 71 per cent in favour. Ireland’s leader Enda Kenny backs a ‘yes’ vote, saying he “will canvass for it”.
The Catholic church stands against gay marriage in Ireland, saying it would be a “grave injustice”. The Irish Catholic Church has a long history of “concern” about “grave injustice”, the grave injustice of women’s health care, sexual abuse, poverty, Magdalene Homes for “fallen women”, women’s control of their own fertility and censorship to mention a few. It has also had an enduring toleration and acceptance of the heterosexual foibles of its nominally celibate priests including a Bishop Eamon Casey who had a son and funded his family from church funds and Father Michael Cleary who lived with his “Housekeeper” and their daughter in a church house for over 30 years.
As the leading light behind the Irish Gay Rights Movement the wonderful Senator David Norris once remarked “The Bishops know a lot about angels but very little about fairies!”
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