Friendly dialogue is key to progress, priest urges

Friendly dialogue is key to progress, priest urges Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (left), who is on an official visit to the United States, is accompanied by his partner Matt Barrett (right) as he stands in a group photograph with the US Vice President Mike Pence (second right) and the VP's sister Anne Pence Poynter at the VP's official residence in Washington DC. Photo credit: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

While many Twitter users saw last week’s meeting of American Vice President Mike Pence with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his partner as an in-your-face moment for the pro-marriage Christian politician, a Dublin-based priest has said the scene really shows gracious dialogue.

Fr Bill Dailey, priest in Dublin’s Newman University Church, criticised Twitter users who were getting a kick out of the March 14 meeting at the US Naval Observatory, rather than appreciating that people can disagree with one another and still be friendly.

The tweet, which has garnered almost 1,000 likes said: “I assume those amused by this cannot produce a picture of themselves being gracious and loving to people with whom they have disagreements about morality. Hence the hilarity.”

Speaking to this newspaper about the tweet, US-born Fr Dailey said that “people should be able to find a way to love through disagreements”, on divisive issues such as same-sex marriage.

He added that in a time when people are worried about all kinds of problems, it’s vital that productive dialogue takes place, without personal hate attached.

“It’s crucial that we find a way to have conversations, even moral disagreements, with love.”

Mr Pence, who describes himself as a Christian and a conservative, extended an invitation to the couple during a meeting with Varadkar last year.