The Catholic Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, has said bishops have not yet decided whether priests will continue solemnising marriages for the State.

Speaking after mass at the Marian Shrine in Knock, the Archbishop said the issue would be discussed at the Bishops' Conference in Maynooth next month.

He questioned whether the State still required priests to perform the function, adding that it had not been confirmed either way.

The Archbishop said it would be “a long time” before the Church could examine in detail the consequences of the referendum result.

He also said he could not foresee a situation, in the future, in which the Church would facilitate gay marriage ceremonies.

Archbishop Martin also said the Church must re-commit itself to the pastoral care of people who feel victimised or stigmatised.

He said many lessons could be learned from the passing of the same-sex marriage referendum.

He said the Church wanted to find ways to reach out to “different kinds of families and relationships”, while also continuing to advocate a “Christian vision of marriage”.

Dr Martin said he had received many letters and messages since the passing of the referendum, some of which had accused the Church of not doing enough to oppose the amendment.

However, he said others had criticised the Church for presenting a message that was out of touch with the will of the people.