People who voted Yes should not marry in church, says priest

Belfast cleric urges people not to be ‘hypocritical and dishonest by using the church for a day’

You cannot vote in favour of abortion and be allowed to marry in a Catholic Church a Belfast priest has said.

Fr Patrick McCafferty, a parish priest in Ballymurphy in Belfast, has said those who voted Yes to repeal the Eighth Amendment on abortion can “get married in City Hall” to avoid being “hypocritical and dishonest by using the church for a day”.

In an opinion piece in the Belfast Telegraph newspaper, Fr McCafferty wrote: "You cannot be a Catholic and be in favour of abortion."

He said those who do not agree with the Catholic Church’s teaching should “have marriages solemnised in a civil setting”.

“If you don’t support the church’s teaching on a fundamental issue, why be hypocritical and dishonest by using the church for a day? It’s a total fiasco,” he wrote.

He said the church would continue to support those who had been affected by abortion but would not advocate for it.

He said, many of the 1.4 million “Repealers need a reality check” of their own. “Undoubtedly, there are those among them who consider themselves as ‘Catholic’ even after voting for something entirely incompatible with the faith,” he said.

Fr McCafferty said abortion was a “sin” and was not compatible with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

“Deliberate abortion is so grave a sin that those who procure an abortion, those who carry out the procedure, those who participate in it, or facilitate it, are excommunicated with immediate effect. People who reject such a vitally important teaching of Christ need to be spiritually and morally honest,” he said.

Fr McCafferty's comments follow on from Bishop Kevin Doran's message earlier this week that Catholics who voted Yes should attend confession as they had sinned. Bishop Doran, who is the Bishop of Elphin, said he believed voting Yes was a sin if someone "knew and intended abortion as the outcome" of their vote.