Health Minister, Simon Harris launched an astonishing attack on a Catholic Bishop over the weekend for daring to defend Church teaching on love, marriage and contraception. The Bishop of Elphin, Kevin Doran, had spoken at a conference commemorating the anniversary of the 1968 papal encyclical Humanae Vitaewhen the Minister tweeted his 48,800 followers: “Please just make it stop!”
At the conference, Bishop Doran had said the principles of Humanae Vitae have been ignored for too long and need to be presented in a fresh way. He continued: “As a Church, we probably have not lived up to that demand. It needs to be presented in contemporary language in an appropriate context. There is undoubtedly a place in schools for an appropriate presentation of the Church’s teachings on human sexuality. I think we have, again, problems to address there. Not least, having a very good quality, Catholic inspired programme for relationship and sexuality.”
Bishop Doran also said it was “lopsided” to regard marriage as “simply a loving relationship” in which procreation was regarded as “an optional extra”.
Responding to the bishop’s speech in a tweet on Sunday, Minister for Health Simon Harris wrote: “Please just make it stop! Increasing access to & availability of contraception is and will remain public health policy. Religion plays an important role for many on an individual basis – but it will not determine health and social policy in our country any more. Please get that.”
Senator Rónán Mullen responded to the Minister, telling him, “you sound shrill and intolerant. Let Kevin Doran and others try to persuade people according to their values and you make your own arguments. You should be able to do your job without belittling folk”.