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Priest tells couple a church wedding could be disallowed if they support abortion

Fr Damien Quigley
Mairead Holland

A NEWRY priest has told a couple that if they support abortion it could prevent them being married in the Catholic Church.

Fr Damien Quigley, who serves in Middle Killeavy in the Armagh diocese, told the unnamed couple that if they promoted or advocated abortion, it would impact on the "appropriateness" of him celebrating their wedding or it taking place in the church.

Fr Quigley contacted the couple by private message on Facebook, according to the Nolan Show on Radio Ulster.

The message read: "Just a head's up, that as the priest you've asked to celebrate your wedding for you, you and I would need to have a conversation about any promotion you may do to advocate for abortion in Ireland.

"Such promotion or advocacy would impact on the appropriateness of me celebrating your wedding or possibly the wedding taking place in a Catholic Church.

"I'm sure we can have a good chat over a coffee sometime."

Yes campaigners celebrate as the results are announced in the referendum on the 8th Amendment of the Irish Constitution which prohibits abortions unless a mother's life is in danger

Fr Quigley confirmed that he had sent the message but insisted that it was private.

"From the outset, I wish to advise you that it would not be appropriate for me to discuss details of my pastoral support to any specific individual or couple in their preparation for the sacrament of marriage," he said in a statement to Nolan.

"However, please be advised that I have never refused to prepare any person or couple for the sacrament."

Fr Quigley, who is originally from Dundalk, was a relative latecomer to the priesthood, leaving a career with Tesco in 2010 to enter St Patrick's College, Maynooth.

A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Armagh told the Irish News: "It would not be appropriate to discuss details of a priest’s pastoral support to any specific individual or couple in their preparation for the sacrament of marriage.

"However, please be advised that Fr Quigley has never refused to prepare any person or couple for the sacrament."

On Monday, Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin tweeted: "For those who voted No to repealing the eighth, it remains as important as ever to affirm the sanctity of all human life, and that the direct and intentional taking of the life of any innocent human being is always gravely wrong."

He also told RTÉ that he was deeply saddened that Ireland has "obliterated the right to life of all unborn children" from the constitution.

Fr Quigley was not available for comment last night.

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