Primate of All Ireland: Christians harangued for beliefs
Loyalty to Christian beliefs on the subjects of marriage and abortion can leave people open to "ridicule, condemnation or even persecution", according to the Primate of All Ireland.
Archbishop Eamon Martin said that it was difficult for people's Christian convictions and understandings of marriage, family and human life to remain unswayed as the "pressure on us to conform, to become just like everyone else, is often immense and overpowering".
He made the outspoken comments during his homily at the annual Holy Thursday Chrism Mass at St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh.
"To be like Christ in an increasingly secularised world often means being different, counter-cultural, and not easily swayed by the prevailing attitudes and opinions around us. This is not easy," he said.
"Sometimes daring to witness openly to our sincerely held Christian convictions can bring upon us ridicule, condemnation or even persecution.
"I am thinking, for example, about our strong beliefs in the sacredness of human life from the first moment of conception until the moment of our natural death; our Church's understanding of marriage and the family; our Catholic social teaching about the fair distribution of goods, care for creation and concern for the weakest and most vulnerable."