Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland Catholics may not be allowed church wedding if they promote abortion, says priest

A Northern Ireland priest has told a couple who asked him to marry them that their support for abortion could lead to them not being able to get married by a Catholic priest or married in a Catholic Church.

It was revealed on BBC Radio Ulster's Nolan Show on Tuesday that Fr Damien Quigley contacted the couple via private message.

A Nolan Show listener then contacted the show and revealed the content of the message.

Fr Damien Quigley wrote to the couple saying: "Just a heads up, that as the priest you've asked to celebrate your wedding for you, you and I would need to have a conversation about any promotion you may do to advocate for abortion in Ireland.

"Such promotion or advocacy would impact on the appropriateness of me celebrating your wedding or possibly the wedding taking place in a Catholic Church.

"I'm sure we can have a good chat over a coffee sometime."

The couple have not been named.

Host Stephen Nolan said that his show contacted Fr Quigley who confirmed that he wrote the message and said it was private and he would not be commenting any further.

Mr Nolan said that he told the priest that although it was private it wasn't private anymore and asked what was his policy.

He claimed that Fr Quigley refused to comment any further but he did issue a statement.

In a statement the priest said: "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," the statement read.

"However, please be advised that I have never refused to prepare any person or couple for the sacrament."

The Catholic Church released a similar statement saying: "It would not be appropriate to discuss details of a priest’s pastoral support to any specific individual or couple in their preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage. 

"However, please be advised that Father Quigley has never refused to prepare any person or couple for the Sacrament."

Mr Nolan said it was unclear if Fr Quigley would refuse to perform the duties in the future.

The Diocese of Armagh where Fr Quigley works issued a statement to the Nolan Show saying: "The Diocese has nothing further to add to Fr Damien's statement."

The Belfast Telegraph has contacted Fr Quigley for a response to his comments.

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