SVP's €45k for gays is criticised by bishop
A bishop has criticised a decision by a Catholic charity to donate €45,000 to a resource centre for gay, lesbian and transgender groups.
The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SVP) strongly defended its decision, saying it was helping "isolated and marginalised" people and their families.
Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan said the decision to support the planned Amach LGBT resource centre in Galway had harmed its reputation in the eyes of supporters of the charity.
He said on Galway Bay FM radio that sexual orientation was neither right nor wrong, but "gay culture" supported homosexual activity which was "morally wrong behaviour" that could not be supported by the Catholic Church.
He has written to the charity seeking "clarification" of its decision. The SVP does "magnificent work" for the poor, he said, and this issue "needed to be resolved to restore the image of the Saint Vincent de Paul to where it was".
The resource centre to support young gays and lesbians and their families is to be provided by Galway City Council at a cost of €230,000.
A spokesman for the charity said the €45,000 was not coming from the day-to-day collections which fund work for the poor and marginalised.
The money was coming from the SVP Maureen O'Connell Fund which was set up with a bequest from Ms O'Connell to assist its work within Galway city and county. The special fund helped a variety of projects throughout the region.
The spokesman said: "The decision was endorsed by the SVP National Management Council as providing support for an excluded and marginalised group in need of support.
"This is consistent with the SVP mission statement to support people in poverty, both material and emotional, and social justice initiatives."
He said assistance is given "without differentiation on the grounds of race, colour, creed, ideology or gender".
"It is a key element of the SVP Christian ethos to be non-judgemental," he said.