DUBLIN (ChurchMilitant.com) - Ireland's largest diocese is affirming same-sex relationships.
Ahead of the 2018 World Meeting of Families, the archdiocese of Dublin has released a six-part guide, a "parish conversation," to prepare the faithful for the event.
Released under the watch of Dublin Abp. Diarmuid Martin, "Amoris: Let's talk Family! Let's be Family!" is sparking controversy, as it contains a passage endorsing active homosexual relationships as an alternative family model, providing "mutual support" for participants.
On page 24, under a section titled "The Christian Vision for the Family," the guide reads, "While the Church upholds the ideal of marriage as a permanent commitment between a man and a woman, other unions exist, which provide mutual support to the couple. Pope Francis encourages us never to exclude but to accompany these couples also, with love, care and support."
Directly beneath this quote, the guide features a photo of a lesbian couple — one of them sporting a rainbow tattoo — in an intimate embrace.
Homosexual acts violate Church teaching; they run counter to "the Christian vision for the family."
"Amoris: Let's talk Family! Let's be Family!" was released under Abp. Martin's watch.
Church Militant contacted Abp. Martin and the archdiocesan media contact separately for comment. Specifically, both offices were asked if the inclusion of the gay-affirming content was accidental, an oversight; they were asked to explain, if not, how Abp. Martin justifies the inclusion of heterodox material in light of Church teaching on active homosexuality.
Church Militant's outreach to Abp. Martin and the archdiocesan media office went unanswered.
But though silent in the wake of the apostolate's inquiry, as archbishop, Martin has said much to suggest the inclusion of gay-affirming material was intentional. His episcopacy has been marked by statements — both in word and action — that speaks to where he stands.
In his 2017 Holy Week and Easter Sunday homilies, Martin branded Catholicism a "religion of fear" and a "faith of prohibitions," denouncing the Church for its historic "harshness" towards the LGBT community.
In the lead-up to the 2015 referendum that legalized so-called same-sex "marriage" in Ireland, Martin offered no guidance on how Catholics should vote.
"I have ... no wish to stuff my religious views down other people's throats," he said.
On the day same-sex "marriage" was voted in, 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."
Practicing homosexuals in the archdiocese of Dublin are encouraged to receive Holy Communion with the support of clergy and under Abp. Martin's purview.
Every third Sunday of the month, the Avila Carmelite Retreat Centre in Dublin offers a special service — the "All Are Welcome Mass" — for active homosexuals, gay advocates and dissident groups opposed to Catholic teaching, every third Sunday of the month.
Instead of warning those who are conscious of mortal sin to refrain from receiving Holy Communion, the venue extends an open invitation for all to receive without exception: "We would like you to feel that you belong in a praying community and to experience full participation when celebrating the Eucharist."
In November 2015, Abp. Martin declared during Mass that the Catholic Church must change with the times.
"The Church is slow to change," he complained. "Inertia may seem to mean that things can go on as they were and are but the opposite is the case."
Referring to the referendum that legalized gay "marriage" months before, Martin continued, "I spoke some time ago of a 'reality check' ... Times have changed in Irish society, and the Church must change."
In May 2015, Martin advocated the enhancement of homosexual civil unions as an alternative to same-sex marriage.
"We have to find ways in which gay and lesbian people can have their love fully recognized in an equal but different manner," he said. "We have to find ways of examining that, and I don't think we have done that far enough. I think civil partnership is not adequate, I think it could be tweaked."
Martin has spoken out repeatedly against the Catholic focus on dogma. In early 2015, during a homily at an ordination Mass, he suggested, "We will not heal those whose lives have drifted from Jesus Christ by throwing books of dogma at them. That would only mean shouting at them in a language that they still have to learn."
Martin is not alone in scandalizing faithful Catholics by entertaining heterodoxy.
In 2013, fresh from introducing draft abortion legislation, Irish politician Enda Kenny was allowed to publicly receive Holy Communion in the presence of John McAreavey, bishop of Dromore; Noel Teanor, bishop of Down and Conor; and Christy Jones, bishop of Elphin. None said a word to protest the sacrilege.
It fell to the secular Irish newspaper The Independent to comment publicly that Kenny's reception of the Eucharist was defied the Code of Canon Law, clause 915, "which states that anyone who supports abortion legislation is automatically excommunicated."