Jesus proclaimed a vision of an alternative society based on justice, equality and inclusivity'
Normally, when someone declares oneself a person of faith - in my case a Catholic - the public, with justification, will make the presumption that you are a staunch upholder of the status quo in society and in the case of the forthcoming marriage equality referendum, a definite 'No' voter.
However, such a presumption is not justified anymore. Over the past 50 years there has been a significant change occurring, especially within the Irish Catholic Church.
This change is not seen among the hierarchy but is very evident among the non-cleric lay people who have decided to remain in their church to demand reform.
Very many Catholics, especially in the Western world, do not accept the traditional teachings of their church and yet still insist they are true and loyal followers of Jesus Christ.
When the media reports that the Catholic Church, from the Pope down, is against marriage equality, it does not mean that such a view represents the totality of its members.
Modern theology sees the church not as a static, hierarchical power structure but as the people of God in movement through history. There are leaders, of course, but they are out in front exercising true leadership not, as in the past, demanding absolute obedience from their sheep-like followers. Catholics do not leave their self autonomy and freedom of action at the door of their church when they enter it.
At the heart of this new vision of the church is the certainty that Jesus of Nazareth proclaimed a vision of an alternative society based on justice, equality and inclusivity. He welcomed all who were marginalised and treated as outcasts in his society.
As followers of the way of Jesus, we cannot accept an unjust society where between 5pc to 10pc of our citizens are marginalised when it comes to marriage equality while the rest of their sisters and brothers can enjoy the full exercise of their constitutional right to marry.
Catholic sexual morality is based on outdated biology and science and needs to be urgently modernised and integrated with contemporary developments in medicine, biology and the social sciences.
Social justice demands that the rights of all our citizens be upheld and respected. Each person has a right to personal fulfilment and happiness in our society. When civil rights are denied to people in a society for whatever reason, the society becomes corrupted with injustice - violence and scapegoating are its inevitable results.
When gay people are denied marriage equality, it not only perpetuates an unjust society, but it also diminishes the dignity of those who refuse to recognise the constitutional rights of their gay and lesbian sisters and brothers.
WE are Church Ireland