Catholic Door Policy

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Joining Miriam O’Callaghan to discuss the influence of Pope Francis on the Catholic Church last night were Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin Denis Nulty, Breda O’Brien of the Iona Institute, UCD Professor of Modern History Diarmaid Ferriter and Gina Menzies, theologian and member of We Are Church.

Miriam O’Callaghan: “Let me ask you about “Cultural Catholics” so because it’s interesting, are they Catholics within your meaning of the word – the fact that if they only go to mass at Christmas, or if you know they use contraception, as many people do in Ireland, if they live in sin, they say they have partners – are they…..?”

Bishop Denis Nulty: “Of course they are Catholic – there’s no doubt about it, they may not be as committed as I myself may like them to be, but they are Catholics.”

MO’C: “Are they welcome to have sacraments within the Church?”

Bishop Nulty: “They are welcome to… the Church is an open door, and welcomes all people – sacraments are a slightly different area….because of issues… some people may not be (able) to go to sacraments – but that teaching is clear enough. The Church welcomes everyone with an open door.”

MO’C: “Simple question, I suppose Fintan O’Toole addressed it there as well – if you had a gay couple living in your area, and you knew that they were living together – would they be allowed to take the sacraments in your church?”

Bishop Nulty: “A gay couple, and I knew they were living together? I woud be encouraging them not to – I would be saying it’s the same way that a couple who are remarried outside of the church, outside of the sacrament, I’d be encouraging them not to, but to still to come to church.”

MO’C: “But would you give a gay couple Communion – I suppose a simple question?”

Bishop Nulty: “…I wouldn’t, but I think you’re {interrupted}…narrowing something.. …which Pope Francis says…you shouldn’t”

Diarmaid Ferriter: That doesn’t sound like an open door, does it?

Gina Menzies: “Well, actually that’s quite contradictory – in a way what Pope Francis is saying in his interview in his exhortation, he actually changes the language, he changes the context, he talks about an inclusive church. And one of the most significant things he said which was truly radical is that the Eucharist is not a reward for those who sort of follow the rules – that the Eucharist is a nourishment for the journey of faith, which is an insight that has come by theologically almost thirty years ago. And it’s interesting that we now have a Pope who has acknowledged that inclusivity as the way of the gospel.”

[Later]

Ciaran Ó Mathúna: “I represent a group called Gay Catholic Voice Ireland and we set ourselves up to represent gay and lesbian people who have felt not welcomed and who have felt excluded and we want to be a positive voice because there are lots of gay people in parishes participating and want to participate in their faith and want to give expression to their faith something that is very important – but yet again tonight we’ve heard we’re not really welcome. And all these nice words – like I mean, we welcomed Pope Francis’ interview that he gave from Brazil when he used the word ‘gay’, instead of ‘homosexual’, and he was the first Pope to do that – and we welcomed this tone and this openess and you know, it’s a nice challenge to other church leaders and organisations to be more inclusive – and yet you know we are told that, yes you are loved and you’re made in the image and likeness of God and you’re welcome and you’re part of our church and you’re welcome with open doors with equality – but we don’t experience equality, we don’t experience those open doors – and yet, week after week, we want to be part of our parish, and yet members have been told they can no longer read at mass, they can no longer be in the choir, they can no longer be a minister for the Eucharist – because they are gay.”

Watch in full here.