ROME -- The Vatican secretary of state has dubbed the Irish public's vote legalizing same-sex marriage "a defeat for humanity."
Cardinal Pietro Parolin was the most senior Vatican official to comment on Ireland's referendum since the landslide result of the vote was announced on Saturday.
"I was deeply saddened by the results," Parolin said after a conference Tuesday night. "The church must take account of this reality, but in the sense that it must strengthen its commitment to evangelization. I think that you cannot just talk of a defeat for Christian principles, but a defeat for humanity."
He went further than Irish archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who told Irish TV after the vote: "We have to stop and have a reality check, not move into denial of the realities."
Parolin's words are in line with Pope Francis' views on marriage and family.
Although Francis made headlines in 2013 with his "who am I to judge" phrase in regard to homosexuals, he has consistently defended heterosexual marriage and traditional family values.
In January, at a large gathering with families in Manila, the pope said the traditional family was being "threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage." A Vatican spokesman confirmed the pope's words did refer, at least in part, to gay marriage advocacy.
In November, Francis said marriage between a man and a woman was "an anthropological fact... that cannot be qualified based on ideological notions or concepts important only at one time in history."
Filed by CBS Radio News correspondent Anna Matranga.