Vatican: Irish gay marriage vote a 'defeat for humanity'

Vatican Says Ireland Gay Marriage Is a Defeat for Humanity

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- The Vatican's secretary of state has called the Irish vote to legalize gay marriage a "defeat for humanity," evidence of the soul-searching going on in Catholic circles after the predominantly Roman Catholic country overwhelmingly rejected traditional church teaching on marriage.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin said he was saddened by the landslide decision, in which more than 62 percent of Irish voters said "yes," despite church teaching that marriage is only between a man and woman.

In comments to reporters Tuesday evening, Parolin referred to remarks by the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, that the results showed the church needed to do a "reality check" since it clearly wasn't reaching young people with its message.

"I don't think you can speak only about a defeat for Christian principles, but a defeat for humanity," he said.

The Catholic Church in Ireland has lost much of its moral authority following widespread sex abuse scandals and a general secularization of society. Martin himself called the vote part of a "social revolution" that required the church to look at whether it had "drifted completely away from young people."

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Vatican: Irish gay marriage vote a 'defeat for humanity'
Supporters react outside Dublin Castle following the result of the same-sex marriage referendum in Dublin on May 23, 2015. Ireland on Saturday became the first country in the world to approve gay marriage by popular vote as crowds cheered in Dublin in a spectacular setback for the once all-powerful Catholic Church. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITH (Photo credit should read PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - MAY 23: A gay couple kiss in Dublin Castle Square as the result of the referendum is relayed on May 23, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. Voters in the Republic of Ireland were taking part in a referendum on legalising same-sex marriage on Friday. The referendum was held 22 years after Ireland decriminalised homosexuality with more than 3.2m people being asked whether they want to amend the country's constitution to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. Ireland voted overwhelmingly to legalise same-sex marriage in a historic referendum. More than 62% voted in favour of amending the country's constitution to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. It is the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage through a popular vote. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Supporters react outside Dublin Castle following the announcement of the result of the same-sex marriage referendum in Dublin on May 23, 2015. Ireland on Saturday became the first country in the world to approve gay marriage by popular vote as crowds cheered in Dublin in a spectacular setback for the once all-powerful Catholic Church. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITH (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - MAY 23: Thousands of people celebrate in Dublin Castle Square as the result of the referendum is relayed on May 23, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. Voters in the Republic of Ireland were taking part in a referendum on legalising same-sex marriage on Friday. The referendum was held 22 years after Ireland decriminalised homosexuality with more than 3.2m people being asked whether they want to amend the country's constitution to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. Ireland voted overwhelmingly to legalise same-sex marriage in a historic referendum. More than 62% voted in favour of amending the country's constitution to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. It is the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage through a popular vote. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
A supporter holds a sign reading 'Thank You - You're All Invited to the Wedding' as he celebrates outside Dublin Castle following the result of the same-sex marriage referendum in Dublin on May 23, 2015. Ireland on Saturday became the first country in the world to approve gay marriage by popular vote as crowds cheered in Dublin in a spectacular setback for the once all-powerful Catholic Church. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITH (Photo credit should read PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - MAY 23: An emotional gay couple celebrate in Dublin Castle Square as the result of the referendum is relayed on May 23, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. Voters in the Republic of Ireland were taking part in a referendum on legalising same-sex marriage on Friday. The referendum was held 22 years after Ireland decriminalised homosexuality with more than 3.2m people being asked whether they want to amend the country's constitution to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. Ireland voted overwhelmingly to legalise same-sex marriage in a historic referendum. More than 62% voted in favour of amending the country's constitution to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. It is the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage through a popular vote. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Supporters for same-sex marriage wait for the result of the referendum at Dublin Castle on May 23, 2015 in Dublin. Ireland looked set today to become the first country in the world to approve gay marriage by popular vote as crowds cheered in the streets of Dublin in anticipation of the spectacular setback for the once all-powerful Catholic Church. AFP PHOTO / Paul Faith (Photo credit should read PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - MAY 23: A supporter in favour of same-sex marriage stands under a rainbow umbrella as thousands gather in Dublin Castle square awaiting the vote outcome on May 23, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. Voters in the Republic of Ireland are taking part in a referendum on legalising same-sex marriage on Friday. The referendum was held 22 years after Ireland decriminalised homosexuality with more than 3.2m people being asked whether they want to amend the country's constitution to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - MAY 22: A woman cycles past billboard posters promoting the Yes campaign in favour of same-sex marriage on May 22, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. Voters in the Republic of Ireland are taking part in a referendum on legalising same-sex marriage on Friday. The referendum is being held 22 years after Ireland decriminalised homosexuality with more than 3.2m people being asked whether they want to amend the country's constitution to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. Polling stations opened at 07:00 BST with voting continuing until 22:00 BST and counting due to start on Saturday morning. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Pedestrians walk a pro same-sex marriage 'Yes' banner hanging in the window the Green Party's office in Dublin on May 21, 2015. Ireland goes to the polls tomorrow to vote on whether same-sex marriage should be legal, in a referendum that has exposed sharp divisions between communities in this traditionally Catholic nation. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITH (Photo credit should read PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images)
A gay couple pose holding hands as they walk out of a polling station after voting in Drogheda, north Dublin on May 22, 2015. Ireland took to the polls today to vote on whether same-sex marriage should be legal, in a referendum that has exposed sharp divisions between communities in this traditionally Catholic nation. AFP PHOTO / Paul Faith (Photo credit should read PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - MAY 22: A nun casts her vote at a polling station on May 22, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. Voters in the Republic of Ireland are taking part in a referendum on legalising same-sex marriage on Friday. The referendum is being held 22 years after Ireland decriminalised homosexuality with more than 3.2m people being asked whether they want to amend the country's constitution to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. Polling stations opened at 07:00 BST with voting continuing until 22:00 BST and counting due to start on Saturday morning. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Pedestrians walk past a mural in favour of same-sex marriages in Dublin on May 21, 2015. Ireland goes to the polls tomorrow to vote on whether same-sex marriage should be legal, in a referendum that has exposed sharp divisions between communities in this traditionally Catholic nation. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITH (Photo credit should read PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images)
Pedestrians walk past anti same-sex marriage posters in Dublin on May 21, 2015. Ireland goes to the polls tomorrow to vote on whether same-sex marriage should be legal, in a referendum that has exposed sharp divisions between communities in this traditionally Catholic nation. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITH (Photo credit should read PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images)
Sister Loreto Ryan (C) of the Sisters of Charity arrives to vote at a polling station in Drumcondra, north Dublin on May 22, 2015. Ireland took to the polls today to vote on whether same-sex marriage should be legal, in a referendum that has exposed sharp divisions between communities in this traditionally Catholic nation. AFP PHOTO / Paul Faith (Photo credit should read PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images)
Pedestrians walk past a mural in favour of same-sex marriages in Dublin on May 21, 2015. Ireland goes to the polls tomorrow to vote on whether same-sex marriage should be legal, in a referendum that has exposed sharp divisions between communities in this traditionally Catholic nation. AFP PHOTO / Paul Faith (Photo credit should read PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images)
A mural in favour of same-sex marriage is pictured on a wall in Dublin on May 21, 2015. Ireland goes to the polls tomorrow to vote on whether same-sex marriage should be legal, in a referendum that has exposed sharp divisions between communities in this traditionally Catholic nation. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITH (Photo credit should read PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images)
Pedestrians walk past a banner in favour of same-sex marriages in Dublin on May 21, 2015. Ireland goes to the polls tomorrow to vote on whether same-sex marriage should be legal, in a referendum that has exposed sharp divisions between communities in this traditionally Catholic nation. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITH (Photo credit should read PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - MAY 22: A man walks past a mural promoting the Yes campaign in favour of same-sex marriage on May 22, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. Voters in the Republic of Ireland are taking part in a referendum on legalising same-sex marriage on Friday. The referendum is being held 22 years after Ireland decriminalised homosexuality with more than 3.2m people being asked whether they want to amend the country's constitution to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. Polling stations opened at 07:00 BST with voting continuing until 22:00 BST and counting due to start on Saturday morning. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Members of the public leave after voting at a polling station in Drumcondra, north Dublin on May 22, 2015. Ireland took to the polls today to vote on whether same-sex marriage should be legal, in a referendum that has exposed sharp divisions between communities in this traditionally Catholic nation. AFP PHOTO / Paul Faith (Photo credit should read PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the public arrive to vote at a polling station in Drumcondra, north Dublin on May 22, 2015. Ireland took to the polls today to vote on whether same-sex marriage should be legal, in a referendum that has exposed sharp divisions between communities in this traditionally Catholic nation. AFP PHOTO / Paul Faith (Photo credit should read PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images)
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Pope Francis hasn't commented directly on the Irish results, but on Wednesday he stressed traditional church teaching on marriage as being between man and woman. Francis has dedicated his weekly general audience catechism lessons to family issues, so Wednesday's remarks about the importance of the period of engagement before a marriage were perfectly in line with the themes he has been stressing for months.

Francis said fiancees should use their engagements to really get to know one another, acknowledging that they may know one another "intimately," and even live together, but don't truly know one another.

During the period of engagement, he said, "The man learns about women by learning about this woman, his fiancee, while the woman learns about men by learning about this man, her fiance."

Francis' weekly catechism lessons are part of his two-year study on family issues that will culminate in October when bishops from around the world gather to discuss better ways to minister to today's Catholics. At their preliminary meeting last fall, bishops stressed the need to better welcome gays into the church, but ruled out gay marriage.

As archbishop of Buenos Aires, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio fought hard, and unsuccessfully, to block Argentina from becoming the first country in South America to legalize gay marriage.

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