The Church needs more ‘compassionate’ approach, says moral theologian

A leading moral theologian has defended Bishop Kevin Doran’s remarks that the family is a “building block” of society.

Dr Suzanne Mulligan, however, called on the bishop to clarify whether he was speaking in a personal capacity or on behalf of the Church regarding some of his more “unhelpful” statements.

The lecturer in Moral Theology at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, was speaking in the wake of Bishop Doran’s interview with Newstalk radio, for which he has subsequently said he regrets any hurt his words may have caused.

Dr Mulligan said she felt, at times, “the interview was confusing and unclear”. “There were a number of sweeping and unhelpful statements and connections made that unnecessarily blurred the discussion at times.

“I think the bishop needs to clarify whether he was speaking on behalf of the Church or in a personal capacity,” she said.


Dr Mulligan said some of the bishop’s remarks in relation to parenting needed to be “more nuanced” and that drawing “comparisons between sexual orientation and disabilities” is an “unhelpful starting point”.

“To be fair to the bishop he was speaking about very complicated and complex issues but we should be working from a much more compassionate and loving approach to find a way forward,” she said.