I missed this when it was originally published. But it is too interesting to not bring to your attention, albeit somewhat tardy.

From THE IRISH TIMES (26th. May 2010):

The Bishop of Cashel and Ossory Michael Burrows has written in the diocesan newsletter that in his view “civil partnership legislation is certainly not perfect but it deserves to be welcomed and to be given time.”

He quoted words from the preface to the 1878 Irish Prayer Book: “And now, if some shall complain that these changes are not enough, or if others shall say that these changes have been unnecessary or excessive, let them, on the one side and the other, consider that men’s (sic) judgements of what is otherwise more excellent, and what is imperfect, with peace, is often better than what is otherwise more excellent, without it.”

Bishop Burrows said those sentiments “well articulate my thoughts as we embark upon something of a new social order.”

In “the spirit of those words I dare to hope that those who choose civil partnership will find it gives them some deep sense of peace and acceptance,” he said.

He noted that it was 18 years since the 1992 X case when a 14-year-old girl, pregnant by rape, was initially prevented by the attorney general, through injunction, from leaving this jurisdiction to obtain a termination elsewhere.

He recalled that the Supreme Court lifted the injunction but also took the view that a pregnancy could be lawfully terminated under Irish law where it posed a risk to the life, as opposed to the health, of the mother – including through a risk of self destruction.

“Eighteen years is a long time; it is the time it takes individual humans to ‘come of age’. As a society, however, we have failed dismally to come of age in relation to matters at the heart of the X case,” he said.

“We still remain hypocritical and incapable of engaging with the truth about ourselves at a legislative level – despite successive referendums on these matters, tragic individual human stories are dragged all the way to the Supreme Court in the absence of legislation,” he said. He continued: “I have a high view of politics and parliament, yet elsewhere I have had occasion to condemn what I term the ‘systematic spinelessness’ of the Legislature when it comes to a range of ethical issues surrounding the beginning of human life.”

COMMENT: I don't think the bishop's use of the Prayer Book quotation is a perfect way to try and obtain justice and fulfilment for gay people, but it may be, in the Irish situation, "better than what is otherwise more excellent, without it.”



  1. I never noticed that bit in the preface to the Prayer Book when I lived in Ireland. It’s good. It’s really good.

    And good for the bishop for condemning “systematic spinelessness”.