Irish gay marriage vote a 'defeat for humanity': Vatican official
The recent Irish vote to allow same-sex marriage constituted a "defeat for humanity", Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Pietro Parolin has said in the first high-level reaction from the Holy See to last week's landmark referendum.
Parolin, Pope Francis' most senior offical, made the comments on the Vatican Radio late on Tuesday. The Cardinal described himself as being "saddened" by the result, which highlighted that the Church needed to improve the way it preached the Christian message across the world.
The veteran Vatican diplomat's comment underlined the shock created by the landslide vote in Ireland, a traditionally Catholic country, which legalised homosexual marriage. Dublin's Archbishop, Diarmuid Martin, told Ireland's RTE radio that "the Church needs to do a reality check," post-vote.
Pope Francis has been articulating a more sympathetic tone towards homosexuals than that of his predecessors since his ascension to the Holy See, famously commenting that "if a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, then who am I to judge him?"
The Argentine-born Pontiff, however, has shown no sign of easing the stringent Church doctrine that firmly frowns upon gay marriage, and which considers homosexual acts as being intrinsically sinful, even if homosexuality itself is not.
In Italy, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's administration is preparing legislation that will allow civil unions between homosexual couples, although there are no plans to allow full marriage.
The Irish referendum has boosted calls in Germany, where same-sex civil unions are legal, to go further and legalise gay marriage, with Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) seeing growing internal pressure over their traditional opposition to changing the existing legislation.
"One would think we can also do what the Catholic Irish have done," CDU parliamentatiran Jens Spahm, a member of the party's ruling presidium, told German daily Die Welt.
British chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak and health secretary Sajid Javid quit the government on Tuesday amid mounting pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson for appointing a tarnished member of the Parliament to a key government position.
A 21-year-old man who allegedly opened fire on a July 4 parade in a wealthy Chicago suburb while disguised in women's clothing was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder on Tuesday, prosecutors said. Robert Crimo, 21, was arrested on Monday, several hours after the attack on a festive Independence Day crowd. More than 35 people were injured.
UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet and the United States both called Tuesday for a swift investigation into the deadly clashes at mass protests in Uzbekistan. Authorities in Uzbekistan said Monday that 18 people had died in clashes in the autonomous Karakalpakstan region on Friday after demonstrations erupted over planned constitutional changes affecting the territory's status. The United States separately voiced concern and urged all sides to seek a "peaceful resolution" to the tensions.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson late Tuesday named his Iraqi-born education secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, as finance minister after the shock resignation of Rishi Sunak. Downing Street said Queen Elizabeth II had approved the appointment of Zahawi, who came to Britain as a child with his Kurdish family not speaking any English, before forging a lucrative business career. The prime minister named another loyalist, Michelle Donelan, to take Zahawi's place at the education ministry.
The gunman who attacked an Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago fired more than 70 rounds with an AR-15-style gun that killed at least seven people, then evaded initial capture by dressing as a woman and blending into the fleeing crowd, police said Tuesday. More than 30 people were wounded in the attack, including one who died Tuesday, task force spokesman Christopher Covelli said. Robert Crimo spent several weeks planning the assault, Covelli said.