THE Catholic Church is becoming increasingly isolated in its attitude to homosexuality, the former president of Ireland has warned.
believes while the Vatican is losing its argument on its teachings,
some youngsters in Catholic schools are left battling an internal
She said the numbers of young men who have died by suicide in Ireland is galling, with gay men one of the most at risk groups.
are the victims, one, of homophobic bullying; they are also frankly
said Mrs McAleese, who is studying canon law in Rome
after her 14-year term which ended in November.
She said the vast
majority of children in Ireland went to Catholic schools, where they
would have heard the church's attitude to homosexuality.
will have heard words like disorder, they may have heard the word evil
used in relation to homosexual practice," said Mrs McAleese.
when they make the discovery, and it is a discovery and not a decision,
when they make the discovery they are gay when they are 14, 15 and 16 an
internal conflict of absolutely appalling proportions opens up. They
may very well have heard their mothers, their fathers, their uncles,
aunts, friends use dreadful language in relation to homosexuality and
now they are driven into a space that is dark and bleak."
warned that with more debate, and greater research, the Catholic Church
"is going to become increasingly isolated in its attitude to
homosexuality" and gay people's civil and human rights.
The former president met the Papal Nuncio Charles Brown, who represents Pope Benedict XVI in Ireland, shortly after Easter to specifically draw his attention to the issue.
But she fears the issue will not be tackled until the "omerta" or code of silence on the issue is broken.
also said the child abuse scandals have left "a massive hallowing out
of trust" in the church's Episcopal leadership, but she believes it lost
its grip on society years before as it insisted on obedience in a world
where people were becoming increasingly educated and had access to
The former president, who has published a book
entitled Quo Vadis: Collegiality In The Code Of Canon Law, also
criticised the church for not drawing in the views and anxieties
expressed by its faithful.
She said: "Take, for example, the issue of abuse and the way the bishops handled that," she told Pat Kenny on RTE.
internal damage done to community, to trust, could in many ways have
been avoided had there been much better lines of communication up
through the system. If the people had been talking to their
bishops, if the bishops had been listening, if the bishops had been
talking freely and openly to the centre and had the opportunity at the
centre to make their voices heard, part of the problem that we have has
come from silence and come from a failure to set up structures where
information flowed freely always."