Archbishop of Armagh: Christians are being persecuted over marriage

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The Primate of All Ireland used his Holy Thursday Mass to talk about the “persecution” of Christians.

Archbishop Eamon Martin spoke out about the difficulties faced by Christians who believe in the “Church’s understanding of marriage and the family”.

During Chrism Mass at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, he said: “To be like Christ in an increasingly secularised world often means being different, counter-cultural, and not easily swayed by the prevailing attitudes and opinions around us. This is not easy.

“The pressure on us to conform, to become just like everyone else is often immense and overpowering. Sometimes daring to witness openly to our sincerely held Christian convictions can bring upon us ridicule, condemnation or even persecution.

“I am thinking, for example, about our strong beliefs in the sacredness of human life from the first moment of conception until the moment of natural death; our Church’s understanding of marriage and the family; our Catholic social teaching about the fair distribution of goods, care for creation and concern for the weakest and most vulnerable. It is equally challenging for us in our ministry as priests and bishops.”

Dr Richard O’Leary of Faith in Marriage Equality said in a statement: “To make such a claim, especially on the eve of Good Friday, does a disservice to  Christians who are genuinely persecuted in other parts of the world.

“I was also saddened that my fellow Christian, the Archbishop, showed no awareness of the painful history of criminalisation under the civil law and discrimination by the Church suffered by gay people in Ireland.

“Although Archbishop Eamon Martin’s comments were made during the period of the Irish referendum on same-sex marriage, not all Christians including the Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, Dr Paul Colton, agree with his conservative, exclusive view against marriage equality.”

In January the Archbishop urged people of faith to speak out against same-sex marriage,