DUBLIN (ChurchMilitant.com) - In his Holy Week and Easter Sunday homilies, Ireland's head archbishop, Diarmuid Martin, called Catholicism a "religion of fear" and a "faith of prohibitions," denouncing the Church for its historic "harshness" towards the LGBT community.
In his speech at the Good Friday Way of the Cross in Dublin, he remarked, "How is it that the Church and its institutions could at various times in history, and not only in a distant past , have been so judgmental and treated broken people who were entrusted to its care with such harshness?"
"How could we have tried to use the teaching and the merciful way of dealing with sinners to justify or accept harsh exclusion?" he continued. "Think of so many groupings who were misjudged: single mothers who wanted to keep a baby they loved, gay and lesbian people, orphans."
He went on, "We can be so judgmental and hurtful towards those whom we decide have failed and those who drift outside our self-made ideas of respectability."
And in his Easter Sunday homily, Martin criticized the Catholic Church: "We had created a religion of fear, so much that even when we tried to live the good life, we were never left with a sensation of being free."
"For many, Christianity had been turned into a faith of prohibitions," he continued. "Certain theologies spoke about freeing people from sin but had developed a concept of sin and sinner which made it almost impossible for a sinner ever to feel himself or herself truly liberated."
The archbishop added, "There were so many rules that many were left with a sense of scrupulosity, which left them trapped and oppressed by guilt and doubts."
Before the 2015 referendum that legalized so-called "homosexual marriage" in Ireland, Martin refrained from telling Catholics how to vote, saying, "I have, however, no wish to stuff my religious views down other people's throats" — a direct contradiction to his Good Friday lament that "many Christians simply hide their faith in the privacy of their hearts."
And on the day gay marriage passed, Martin commented, "I appreciate how gay and lesbian men and women feel on this day. That they feel this is something that is enriching the way they live. I think it is a social revolution."
Martin has gone against the Vatican by maintaining in the liberal UK Catholic paper The Tablet in 2005, "You don't write off a candidate for the priesthood simply because he is a gay man." He has also denied the link between homosexual men and the abuse of boys and teenagers.
Ireland's national seminary in Maynooth, where Martin and the other bishops of Ireland sit on the Board of Trustees, has been plagued with homosexual scandals. Seminarians were removed after complaining that their professor, a Catholic priest, professed he didn't believe in the True Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.
In 2015, seminarians were dismissed for being too "theologically rigid," while others were sent packing when they expressed their preference to kneel for the Consecration at Mass.
One seminarian was removed after he reported his vocation director to the police for abusive behavior. He alleges the priest inappropriately touched him multiple times, asked questions about his sexuality and told offensive and sexually graphic jokes.
In January 2017, Church Militant reported that Martin had moved a deacon accused of homosexual misconduct at Maynooth to the Pontifical Irish College in Rome, where he continues his studies to this day. Some are affirming a "gay culture" at Maynooth, "that students have been using an app called Grindr, which is a gay dating app," and that Martin and the other Catholic bishops of Ireland are doing little to stop it.