Grace on the Margins: Those who say the Vatican is softening its stance on same-sex marriage may have been taken aback by Cardinal Pietro Parolin's recent comments.
When I went to church on Sunday, one of the hymns sung at the end of Mass was "When Irish Eyes are Smiling." It was in celebration of the Irish vote (62 percent, no less!) in favor of same-sex marriage the previous day.
Ireland voted to legalize same-sex marriage on Friday. Afterward, Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin spoke with The New York Times.
"The church needs to take a reality check," he said. "It's very clear there's a growing gap between Irish young people and the church, and there's a growing gap between the culture of Ireland that's developing and the church."
Catholic Ireland has become the first country to introduce gay marriage by popular vote, with 62 percent voting "Yes" in a referendum on Friday.
This week on "Interfaith Voices," I had a personal interview with Kevin Eckstrom, who this week is leaving his post as editor-in-chief of Religion News Service. He has taken a position as chief communications officer at the Washington National Cathedral.
I found his personal story quite compelling.
"In Ireland," says a character in a 1904 George Bernard Shaw play, "the people is the Church, and the Church is the people."
But not so much anymore.
On Friday, voters in this once deeply Roman Catholic country will decide whether the country's constitution should be amended to allow for gay marriage. If the amendment passes, Ireland will become the first country to legalize same-sex civil marriage by popular vote.
Grace on the Margins: As we head toward the next synod, it would be wise to note how strongly the pope privileges heterosexual marriage.
As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments Tuesday that could wind up legalizing gay marriage nationwide, dozens of Christian leaders have issued a call to civil authorities to preserve "the unique meaning of marriage in the law" -- but also to "protect the rights of those with differing views of marriage."
As some in the United States consider whether religious and civil marriages should be separated, they might look to practices in Europe, where most countries have long distinguished between the two.
"Whereas the Catholic church has a clear vision of the special meaning of marriage, it's viewed in the civil context as a contract between two people -- and it's a fact of modern society that such contracts vary," Thierry Bonaventura, spokesman for the 34-country Council of European Bishops' Conferences, told Catholic News Service on Monday.