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Irish Council warns against using Vatican document to promote hatred

The Vatican's recent document opposing legal recognition for homosexual unions could be used to promote hatred, according to the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.

Council director Aisling Reidy warned that people using the document to promote hostility toward homosexuals could face six months' imprisonment under Ireland's 1989 Incitement to Hatred Act.

But the civil liberties chief denied a claim, reported in The Irish Times on Saturday, that, under Ireland's 1989 Incitement to Hatred Act, bishops and priests might face prosecution for distributing the Vatican document.

"However offensive the (Vatican) document may be, it was not written with the intention of creating hatred - even though that might be the result of it," Reidy told Catholic News Service.

"I don't see any problem with distributing the document at Mass services, but the document could be used in other ways that would contravene the act," Reidy said.

"The section that claims that allowing gay or lesbian couples to adopt would involve 'doing violence to these children' is particularly dangerous, given the high level of public anxiety about pedophilia," she added.

Catholic News Service

Irish Council for Civil Liberties
Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act, 1989
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Considerations regarding Proposals to give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons (English official text)
Political reaction (Catholic Leader)
Poll finds Canadian Catholics support same-sex unions
Catholic parish pays up for gay wedding (DPA)

8 Aug 2003