No church wedding for Northern Ireland Catholics who are pro-abortion, priest says

A priest in a Catholic Church in Northern Ireland has turned down a couple who asked him to officiate their wedding because they supported abortion.

(Reuters/Clodagh Kilcoyne)Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O'Neill leader of Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland hold up a placard as they celebrate the result of yesterday's referendum on liberalizing abortion law, in Dublin, Ireland, May 26, 2018.

Father Damien Quigley apparently sent the unnamed couple a private message when he learned they wanted to marry in church. The Nolan Show on BBC Radio learned of the message from a listener's tip.

"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," Quigley apparently wrote to the couple. "Such promotion or advocacy would impact on the appropriateness of me celebrating your wedding or possibly the wedding taking place in a Catholic Church," he added.

The Nolan Show asked Quigley about the letter, but he refused to provide details and insisted that it was a private conversation between him and the couple.

The diocese also released a statement in support of Quigley, which detailed that the priest would never "refuse to prepare" a couple who intend to undergo the sacrament of marriage.

Another priest, who is based in Belfast, shared a similar opinion as Quigley. Father Patrick McCafferty said that couples supporting abortion should choose to marry at the City Hall instead of the church.

"[It would be] dishonest to have a wedding in a church if you don't respect or regard what the faith is about," McCafferty told the Belfast Telegraph.

The sentiments of these priests come after the Republic of Ireland voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment that protected the rights of the unborn child. The pressure to follow in the Irish referendum has been mounting in the region up north.

Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom, which has legalized abortion for up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. U.K.'s abortion laws, however, don't apply to Northern Ireland, as only women with risky pregnancies can undergo an abortion in this state. The procedure isn't permitted in other cases, like incest, rape or fetal abnormality.

Government leaders in Northern Ireland said that the Irish referendum's result has no bearing on their state.