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The times they are sure changing. Shoren begorrah, sure by God. Who could imagine in your wildest dreams the people of Ireland would support the legislation of same-sex marriage? Some 80% of Irish people still identify themselves as Catholic and almost half the country goes to mass every Sunday.

The Bishops voiced their dire edicts that it was against the teachings in the bible that the people should have the government of Ireland legislate that two women or two men could enter into marriage. The church hierarchy even urged the people to "vote no" to preserve the sacred definition of marriage, the voters listened to both sides of the argument and 62% of the people voted a resounding "yes" to the referendum.

The vote was a wake up call to the church that society has changed and that although they respect the voice of the clergy they will in the end make up their own minds. Edicts from the priests used to be considered sacrosanct and not to be questioned or opposed by the parishioners. Times and people have changed with people voting yes to love all their neighbours including gays, lesbians.

The day after the vote the Irish people woke up with a feeling of being reborn. Thousands of revelers of all sexual identities celebrated in the streets. The Justice Department confirms it plans to draft legislation to permit those taking vows in civil ceremonies to choose either to be "husband and wife or "spouses of each other."

The Community of the Sisterís of St Joseph in their new residence on Windermere comprises 78 elderly women who have taken the vows to be sisters of the faith. Fashion has changed with the nuns dressed in civilian dress with only a simple cross to designate their calling.

When I was in university I fondly remember being "adopted" by four nuns who enjoyed riding with me in my Mustang convertible with the top down.. Sisters Monica, Sabina, Anna-Catherine and Inez and me. Quite a sight to behold with me with my sweat shirt and the sisters in their black flowing robes blowing in the wind.

The sisters have not had a women join the order for the last fifteen years but are very proud that they have three new novices waiting in the wings. Being very astute women the residence has set aside three wings in the building for Hospice to give comfort to those who are dying. Not a lot of young Catholic girls see a life as a nun as a viable career choice.

St Peterís Seminary is a magnificent huge structure in north London. There are very few, 26 Seminarians, in residence and only 4 Deacons who graduated from the Seminary this year ready to take on their priestly roles to administer the gospel to the thousand of Catholics in the area. Vows of charity and obedience in to-days environment are a hard cross to endure.

I have Catholic friends who are worried that there may not be a priest available to give them their last rights.

There is a cost to the church in that some of the most qualified loving members of the priesthood who have admitted that they are gay are not welcomed by the bishop to administer the sacraments. There was no acceptance for a dear friend of the family who told the truth that he was a homosexual and was forced to give up his pulpit. His faith, love of God, has not diminished but in the narrow definition of the church he is no longer welcome by the holy church.

The social fabric of people has changed with the times for the better. Not excluding but including all people with a sense of love and tolerance for all regardless of their sexual orientation.

If the papacy wants to be relevant to the people they are supposed to serve they will have to embrace changes in the church. Women being created equal in the eyes of God should have the right to be included as priests Bishops, Cardinals and Popes.

Married clergy between two people regardless of sexuality preferences is a normal right of passage between two consenting adults. Contraception including abortion on demand avoids unwanted lonely babies and should be regarded as health concerns.

I am sure that many of you conscientious Christians can add many other changes that the church should embrace to make it relevant. As I write the Supreme Court of the United States has decreed that same sex marriage is legal in all of the fifty states of the union. The rainbow of tolerance and love for all people has finally spread across the border from Canada where same sex marriage has been legal for many years.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com