VATICAN CITY - The Irish vote to allow same-sex marriage was a "defeat for humanity", a senior Vatican official has said in the first high-level reaction from the Holy See to last week's landmark referendum.
"Not a defeat for Christian principles, it was a defeat for humanity," Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said in comments quoted by Vatican Radio late on Tuesday. "I was very saddened by this result."
Parolin, Pope Francis' most senior Vatican official, added that the referendum result showed the Church needed to improve the ways it preached the Christian message.
"The Church must take account of this reality, but in the sense of reinforcing its commitment to evangelization," he said.