The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano has said that Ireland’s passing of the same-sex marriage referendum constitutes as a "defeat" that highlights a gap between the church and modern society.

While neither the Pope nor the Vatican have reacted officially to the referendum result, the newspaper reported of "a challenge for the whole Church," and of "the distance, in some areas, between society and the Church."

It said: "The margin between the 'yes' and the 'no' votes was too large not to be accepted as a defeat. It was the result of high voter turnout, notably among young people,".

On Saturday the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said the marriage referendum results show that the church has a huge task in front of it to get its message to young people. 

He said the Catholic Church "needs to have a reality check across the board."

Cardinal Georges Cottier, a noted Church theologian, was cited by the Osservatore Romano as saying it was impossible to understand the referendum result "without taking into account the paedophilia scandal which has rocked the Irish Church."

Pope Francis has called on Roman Catholics "not to judge" homosexuals who seek God, but he has also referred to church teachings which decry homosexuality.