Bishop of the view that blasphemy law is obsolete
County Wexford stuck to the national trend when it came to voting in Friday's blasphemy referendum with Wexford returning a Yes vote of 64.23%.
Bishop of Ferns, Denis Brennan, supports the view held by the Bishops of Ireland that the reference to blasphemy in the Irish Constitution was largely obsolete.
When contacted by this newspaper prior to the referendum taking place the Bishop's secretary, Fr John Carroll, issued a statement which was released by the Bishops of Ireland and he said was a position the Bishop supported.
Bishops had discussed the decision by the Government to hold the referendum on removing the offence of blasphemy from the Constitution and in doing so they reflected on the November 2013 submission of the Irish Council of Churches and the Irish Inter-Church Meeting to the Convention on the Constitution which considered this issue at that time.
The statement read: 'Bishops reaffirmed their position that the current reference to blasphemy in the Constitution, under article 40.6.1.i, is largely obsolete, and may give rise to concern because of the way such measures have been used to justify violence and oppression against minorities in other parts of the world.
Bishops reiterated that the promotion of freedom of religion, and the freedom of conscience, for all in society greatly enriches the social fabric of a country, and is one aspect of respect for the dignity of human persons.
The human right of faith communities to contribute to public life, including public debate on issues that are of importance to everyone, without being subjected to attack or ridicule, needs to be acknowledged and respected.
Bishops stressed that it is vital to ensure that the rights of individuals and communities to practice and live out their faith openly are protected by our law.
In this context bishops, once again, expressed their solidarity with Christians and all those throughout the world who are currently experiencing persecution and human rights abuses because of their faith or beliefs.'