Young, Gay and Single Among the Nuns and Widows of Ireland
We may not yet have a Pope, but the country’s religious leaders have already done us a favour. By opening up their ranks, showing their true colours, and offering us a window onto the future, they’ve helped us to see more clearly what sort of country we’re dealing with…
In the autumn of last year, a letter dated September 26th, 2017 (see below) was anonymously delivered to the offices of the Archdiocese of Dublin, in response to an email sent out by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, addressing the Catholic Church’s concerns at Irish Muslims praying on the graves of those who had died during the 1916 Easter Rising. It was a letter that, despite its apparent lack of authenticity, revealed the depth of Ireland’s ‘culture clash’ with Islam, as a growing number of Irish Muslims refuse to accept the death of any Muslim during the struggle.
Among the issues set out in the letter was the issue of ‘Gay and Lesbian Youth’ who, under the terms of the Irish Child Welfare Act, may not be taken out of their homes or ‘socialized’ until they are at least 18. Those under 18 would, in any case, have to be returned to their parents, while those under 16 would have to be returned to foster care.
In addition, the Irish Child Welfare Act also banned ‘paedophilic’ relations between adults, on the grounds that there is an underlying ‘substantial risk’ that such relationships ‘increase the risk of harm to [children’s] sexual orientation, ability to form healthy attachments, [and] future psychosexual development’. A gay or lesbian couple may not enter into such a relationship without an agreement between them ‘that the nature of the sexual activity is for the purposes of the relationship’. Given that gay and lesbian couples in Ireland make up only 0.3% of all marriages, that is a high probability a gay or lesbian couple would agree to such an arrangement.
What is the reaction?
Among those to whom the letter was delivered, the response was immediate. Within 24 hours of its arrival, the letter was published by the Irish Catholic Herald’s website. From the start, it was apparent that it was being read out on a large number of websites, including those with