Bishop of Elphin expresses regret over comments about gay parents
Many Christians live ‘a sort of de-facto atheism’, says Archbishop Martin
Bishop Kevin Doran: ‘I’m conscious that whatever the situation, some people were hurt by either what I said or what they thought I had said and I very much regret that.’ Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times
The Bishop of Elphin has said he regrets the hurt experienced by people over his remarks claiming that the gay parents of children are not necessarily parents.
Dr Kevin Doran was commenting at the end of a week which had seen him in the eye of a storm of controversy over his remarks made during a media interview.
In the interview on Newstalk a week ago, Dr Doran accused the Government of trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes by saying that the forthcoming referendum on same sex marriage was not about children, because – in his view – a redefinition of marriage was also a redefinition of parenthood.
When asked about gay people who are already parents, the bishop replied: “They’re not parents. You see the point about it is . . .they may have children but that’s the difference.”
The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, subsequently described it as “an unfortunate phrase” and hoped that people were not offended by Bishop Doran’s comments.
Bishop Doran yesterday addressed the controversy over his remarks during Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Sligo.
He told the congregation: “One of the things I suppose that happens in that situation is you don’t always choose your words or images as carefully under pressure as you would in a statement.
“I’m conscious that whatever the situation, some people were hurt by either what I said or what they thought I had said and I very much regret that.”
Meanwhile, Dr Martin reiterated his warning to preachers against the use of insensitive language.
In a homily yesterday at the ordination of six men as Dominican deacons in St Saviour’s Church on Dorset Street in Dublin, he said, “Too often we have taught people to look on God as a relentless judge. When we think in that way, our faith becomes harsh and we become harsh within ourselves and in our interaction with others and we then betray the real truth about God, that he is love.”
He has also said that many Christians today lived “a sort of de-facto atheism”.
Their faith “remains personal and important for them, but it does not bring them to the point of public witness to the truth of Jesus’ life and message”.