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Catholic church wilfully ignorant to the needs of gays, says son of Mary McAleese

By Colin O'Carroll

Published 10/08/2015

Justin McAleese
Justin McAleese

The gay son of former Irish president Mary McAleese has hit out at the Catholic Church for not providing proper guidelines for religious homosexuals.

Justin McAleese, who came out as gay in the run-up to the Republic's vote on gay marriage, said the church had failed to even properly recognise the existence of homosexuality in its teaching.

His mother called the Irish referendum a "human rights issue" - saying she and her husband Martin believe that everyone should be able to "love someone for life" and have that recognised "at the highest level of Irish society".

He wrote: "During the marriage equality referendum, the Primate of All-Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, wondered, if it was successful, 'what will we be expected to teach children in school about marriage or about homosexual acts?'

"I wrote to him at the time, asking him to outline the Church's current teaching on homosexuals and homosexual acts."

Mr McAleese (30), a devout Catholic, said he was directed to a number of articles, which failed completely to answer his questions.

He said one of the papers he was told to read made no mention of gays, lesbians or homosexuality and was a document on heterosexuality only.

I then started on my search for those "Church documents" detailing the "well known" teaching on "matters of sexuality and marriage".

He found a document by Pope Benedict, which stated: "Homosexuality is a troubling moral and social phenomenon.

"Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. The homosexual inclination is, however, objectively disordered."

Mr McALeese said: "These aren't pleasant statements for a gay person to read. The question needs to be asked, no matter how well disposed our Church leaders think they are to homosexuals, whether these words and language justify and/or encourage homophobia in others?

"In the aftermath of the referendum, the Archbishop said 'among the many lessons that we as Church can learn from the referendum debate is to re-commit ourselves to the pastoral care of anyone in society who experiences victimisation and stigmatisation'.

"How can he even seriously consider pastoral care when his own guidelines don't even acknowledge the existence of homosexuals?

"How can he and his colleagues ignore and stand over ignoring the research which shows gay children are five times more likely to be medicated for depression and three times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers?

"This collective 'bury our heads in the sand' approach is not acceptable from an institution which controls 90% of the primary schools in Ireland. Schools in which there are approximately 50,000 young gay men and women today."

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