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The Government has been attacked over its attitude towards religion by The Irish Catholic newspaper.
In an editorial, the newspaper accused the Government of unleashing “a veritable double whammy” against people of faith, by coming out in favour of gay marriage and abortion.
Citing the announcement by Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore that he supports same-sex marriage, it said:
“It seems odd for a man who insists that the voice of faith must be silent on issues of political or social concern to speak of 'belief' in political causes.
“Can it be, as many people of faith suspect, that some beliefs are tolerated around the Cabinet table while others are decidedly beyond the pale?”
Last week, Mr Gilmore said: “I believe in gay marriage. The right of gay couples to marry is, quite simply, the civil rights issue of this generation, and, in my opinion, its time has come.”
Although Taoiseach Enda Kenny would not state his position on the matter, The Irish Catholic said that the very fact that gay marriage would be discussed at the forthcoming Constitutional Convention meant that the Government was in favour of the proposal.
“It seems highly unlikely that the Fine Gael-Labour come-all-ye will include voices who dissent from the prevailing orthodoxies.”
The paper also recalled the Government's stance on the seal of Confession, accusing it of igniting “an unnecessary controversy” around the issue.
Before last summer's Dáil recess, ministers had “lined up to give weight to the spectacle of priests being imprisoned for not reporting allegations of abuse that they hear in the confessional despite the fact that no-one involved in child safeguarding thinks the sacramental seal is an issue”.