Varadkar ‘disagrees’ with church wording on gay people

Taoiseach said many Catholics fell excluded and hurt by terminology

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he was raised a Catholic but no longer practices. File Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he was raised a Catholic but no longer practices. File Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he “profoundly disagreed” with Catholic terminology on gay people that describes them as “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to natural law”.

He also said he wants to relay the message to Pope Francis if he has an opportunity to speak to him, that those who feel excluded from the Catholic Church are being hurt by it.

Speaking on evening news bulletins on RTÉ and TV3, Mr Varadkar said while he was raised in the Catholic Church, he was not practicing and fell into the common category of those who “no longer believe or perhaps never believed in all of the articles of faith that come with it”.

“Natural law is not the law,” he said. “The law in Ireland is what’s in our Constitution and the law that we pass in our Oireachtas.”

He took the same line on the church’s view of same-sex marriage and unions, and of anti same-sex couples raising children.

“Unfortunately [it is] not unusual for different religions, Catholic, Christian and non-Christian, to take these views,” he said.

“But we live in a country that is a republic and we make our laws here. And while we respect people of faith, we respect religion, religious principles don’t decide why there is law in Ireland; don’t decide what the values of our republic are.”

Mr Varadkar also said many Catholics felt excluded from the church because of a range of positions, including the role of women, LGBT issues and divorce.

“I know that really hurts for them because there is a conflict between who they are and the rules of the faith which they follow,” he said.

If I have the opportunity to speak to Pope Francis I will want to relay that message, but I also want to do that in such a way that respects the fact that we have freedom of religion in Ireland and it’s not the role of the head of government to ask any church or any religious group, Catholic, Christian or non-Christian, to change it’s faith.”