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Irish Church needs reality check after same-sex marriage vote, says Archbishop Martin

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, rapporteur of Circulus Anglicus 'B' (AP)

The Church in Ireland needs a “reality check” after the country voted overwhelmingly in favour of legalising same-sex marriage.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin was speaking after Friday’s referendum which saw 62 per cent vote in favour of legalisation with 38 per cent opposed. Sixty per cent of 3.2 million eligible voters cast their ballots in the poll.

“The Church needs a reality check right across the board, to look at the things we are doing well and look at the areas where we need to say, have we drifted away completely from young people?” Archbishop Martin told RTE.

“When I met Pope Benedict at my first synod as archbishop, he asked me, where are the points of contact between the Catholic Church and those places where the future of Irish culture are being formed? He talked to me about young people, about theatre, about media, about universities.”

The archbishop added: “We [the Church] have to stop and have a reality check, not move into denial of the realities. We won’t begin again with a sense of renewal, with a sense of denial.

“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.”

Archbishop Martin added that he voted ‘No’ in the referendum, saying that gay rights should be respected “without changing the definition of marriage”.

He also said that “if this referendum is an affirmation of the views of young people then the Church has a huge task in front of it to find the language to get its message across” to them.

“I ask myself, most of these young people who voted yes are products of our Catholic school system for 12 years. I’m saying there’s a big challenge there to see how we get across the message of the Church,” he said.