Belfast Telegraph

I'll not repent of Yes vote, insists Mary McAleese

By Sarah MacDonald

Former Irish president Mary McAleese has said she has not gone to confession since voting Yes in last month's abortion referendum in the Republic and has "no intention whatsoever" of doing so.

The Belfast-born politician spoke out after Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran said that Catholics who had voted Yes, intending that abortion would be the outcome of their vote, should go to confession.

Appearing at a weekend conference organised by the Catholic lay group We Are Church Ireland in Dublin's Gonzaga College, Dr McAleese told former TV3 journalist Ursula Halligan: "I had no hesitation at the end of the day when it came to the vote - I absolutely voted Yes."

She added that, since voting, she has not gone to confession to repent her decision and has "no intention whatsoever" of doing that.

Asked about Bishop Doran's stance on confession, Dr McAleese said: "These are man-made rules, these are not statements of an infallible Church."

She said that the Yes votes by ordinary Catholics in the same-sex marriage referendum and the abortion referendum were a statement that their freedom of conscience trumps the curial Church's idea of what is a mortal sin.

Meanwhile, Dr McAleese - who is originally from Ardoyne in north Belfast - also revealed that she will take part in her first gay pride march in Dublin at this end of this month.

The Dublin Pride march on June 30 is themed 'We Are Family', a reference to the Catholic Church's World Meeting of Families which will take place in Dublin this August.

Dr McAleese said she will be taking part in the march with "my gay son and his wonderful husband", as well as her husband, daughters, some of her brothers and sisters and maybe even her elderly mother - if they can organise a wheelchair for her.

"We are family and that is what we will be showcasing - showcasing Ireland at its absolute best," she said.

Belfast Telegraph

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