There was a time in Ireland when no one - at least outside of Northern Ireland - in politics would ever dare take on the Roman Catholic Church or criticizes the Church for its medieval mindset. Yet of late we've seen very harsh (and true) statements about the Church from the top of political spectrum in the Republic of Ireland. Now, former Irish president, Mary McAleese (pictured above), is criticizing the Church for its constant anti-gay venom and seeking to highlight the damage done to gays because of the Church's insistence of clinging to a literally medieval "natural law" construct which falls apart when faced with modern knowledge of sexual orientation. Here are highlights from the BBC on McAleese's statements about the Church and its toxic treatment of gays and its consequences:
A former Irish President has criticised the Catholic church for its 'isolated' views on homosexuality. Mary McAleese said she was concerned at the growing number of gay men who take their own lives. She said that when the research is broken down, it shows that young gay men are one of the most at-risk groups in Ireland.Mrs McAleese was president of Ireland for 14 years. Her term in office ended in November 2011.Speaking to RTÉ Radio, Mrs McAleese said many of these young men will have gone to Catholic schools and they will have heard there their church's attitude to homosexuality. "They will have heard words like disorder, they may even have heard the word evil used in relation to homosexual practice," she said. "And when they make the discovery, and it is a discovery and not a decision, when they make the discovery, that they are gay, when they are 14, 15 or 16, an internal conflict of absolutely appalling proportions opens up". She said many young gay men are driven into a place that is "dark and bleak".Mrs McAleese said she met the Papal Nuncio shortly after Easter to raise with him her concern about the growing number of suicides among young men in Ireland. . . . . she said the issue will not be tackled until the "omerta" or code of silence on the issue is broken.
She well describes the horror and self-revulsion that many gays experience when they realize that they are in fact gay. Some like myself try to deny it for decades before finally accepting reality. Others remain closeted and miserable their entire lives. And others decide to end the struggle: they take their own lives.
The number of gay lives severely harmed or destroyed by the Catholic Church and backward, ignorance embracing religious sects is likely beyond calculation and must number in the many millions. As for gay suicide, for those raised in anti-gay religious settings, suicide can appear to be the only solution because "change" doesn't occurred regardless of the snake oil lies of the "ex-gay" ministries. Indeed, for gays the only way to cease being gay is to cease living. I've known that reality and as I've shared before, along the way during my "coming out" journey I had two serious suicide attempts that left me hospitalized. All because bitter old men in dresses and bombastic preachers can feel special and self-righteous. So much suffering and so much harm - thanks to religious based ignorance and bigotry.