DUBLIN (CNS) — Catholic bishops have not made any decision on whether priests should decline to perform civil aspects of weddings if a May 22 referendum on same-sex marriage is passed.
A spokesman for the Irish bishops’ conference said the church might no longer perform the civil aspect of weddings, meaning couples wanting to get married in the church would have to attend a separate civil ceremony.
(See related video)
However, a spokesman for Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin emphasized that no decision has been made and that the archbishop’s view is that you “cross bridges when they come.”
Of the roughly 22,000 marriages in Ireland last year, about 60 percent took place in the Catholic Church. In these circumstances, the priest who presided at the ceremony, as well as fulfilling the sacramental function, witnessed the solemn contract that gives the relationship legal status under Irish law and confers the rights and obligations related to marriage.
If priests did not solemnize the weddings, couples who get married in Catholic churches would have to go elsewhere to have their marriage legally recognized by the state.
Referring to the May 22 referendum, a spokesman for the bishops’ conference said: “If the referendum is passed, the church’s view and the state’s view of marriage will be radically different. It’s reasonable that the bishops may decide to separate the two,” referring to church and civil ceremonies.
For a wedding to be legally recognized, it must be solemnized by a person on the register of civil solemnizers. About 4,100 of the more than 5,400 people on the register in Ireland are Catholic priests. A move by the church not to solemnize weddings would result in a significant delay for couples getting their marriage legally recognized by the state.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103