Thursday, 21 May 2015

Some facts for consideration in the Marriage referendum

Civil Right?
Same sex marriage is proposed to us as a civil right but the European court has on two occasions rules that it is not . The last time it ruled on the matter was only last year, when it told a man to woman transsexual in a partnership with a woman that under human rights law countries do not have to grant access to marriage to same sex couples.  The highest court in the European Union does not see this as a civil rights issue.

A Redefinition of Marriage?
The referendum commission says it not a redefinition of marriage . Its about extending the right to marriage to same sex couples. If that is the case why do we need a referendum ? The commission is correct in stating that the Constitution does not explicitly state that marriage is between a man and woman  however as I pointed out in another posting the constitution implies that the marriage is between a man and a woman.  And the interpretation over the years in the Supreme Court has meant that marriage was defined as between a man and a woman.
The irony is that even if the referendum is passed  that  section of the constitution will still be in place.








Countries allowing Same Sex Marriage
We have heard a lot from politicians and celebrities how Ireland's standing will be diminished in the eyes of the world if we vote no to the marriage referendum. They however don't tell us how this will happen. They are playing on the Irish peoples fear of what the neighbours will think.

Globally they are 193 states who are members of  the United Nations  only 17 permit same sex marriage.

Nearer to home there are 28 nations in the European Union. Of the 28, 10  permit same-sex marriage: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
In the UK,  Scotland , England and Wales permit same sex marriage Northern Ireland does not. Of British oversee territories in Europe Gibraltar permits Civil Partnership only. In the Crown Dependencies of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands only civil partnerships are permitted.

The French parliament under the socialists voted for same sex marriage despite widespread protest from the French people. All parties of the right including Sarkozy's  UMP have all pledged to reverse this law.

Another 7 nations , Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Ireland and Slovenia permit civil partnerships.

The other 11 nations have no provisions for same sex couples  Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

The way the media present this debate would imply that no other country has had a referendum on the question. But this is not true. Other countries have had marriage referenda  defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
Croatia in  2013 changed its constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.  65.8% voted in favour of the constitutional amendment.

In February of this year Slovakia had a referendum to define marriage as between a man and a woman. In Slovakian law a referendum to be passed must have a 50% turnout of the voters. It failed to reach this, of the votes cast 90% voted to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

Even so the parliaments of Hungary , Croatia and Slovakia have changed their constitutions in the last few years to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

Even in the most liberal state of the USA, California, the people  voted  through proposition 8 to define marriage as between a man and a woman. The peoples vote was never allowed for constitutional reasons.

The trend seems to be to define marriage as between a man and woman and to allow civil partnerships for same sex couples. The complete opposite to what we are being asked to do .
How can we be diminished in the eyes of our neighbours when so few have same sex marriage.

Civil Partnership Statistics for Ireland and the UK

Civil Partnerships became legal in Ireland in 2011. The Population of Ireland is roughly 4.5 million

Year         Civil partnership
2011         536
2012         429
2013         323
2014         392
In total there has been 1680 civil partnerships
At the same time there were 84,439 marriages in Ireland . There are approximately 1.7 million people married in Ireland out of a population of 4.5 million. We can see clearly that the demand of civil partnerships,which would give many rights to same sex couples, does not really exist.  In the last census there was over 4000 cohabiting same sex couples. Many of the 536 were counted among them. Roughly 50% of cohabiting couples have changed their status to civil partnership.

UK statistics
The UK has a population of over 65 million. The British figures show a similar trend, low take up and decreasing numbers . The other interesting fact worth noticing in UK is how the married population has decreased in the same time frame. Marriage has slipped from 51% of the population to 49%.

year          civil partnerships
2005         1953
2006         16106
2007          8728
2008          7169
2009          6281
2010          6385
2011          6795
2012          7035
2013          6276
 The British figures show a similar trend, low take up and decreasing numbers . The rate of dissolution is climbing fast int he UK. from 41 in 2007 to 880 2012 . The figure for 2013, 984 is for England, wales, and Northern Ireland

The figures in both countries show a very low demand for legal coupling among same sex
couples.


 

















































































































































































Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Constitutional confusion after a yes vote

Article 41 of the Constitution as it is now states :



ARTICLE 41

1 1° The State recognises the Family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law.

2° The State, therefore, guarantees to protect the Family in its constitution and authority, as the necessary basis of social order and as indispensable to the welfare of the Nation and the State.

2 1° In particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.

2° The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.

3 1° The State pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of Marriage, on which the Family is founded, and to protect it against attack.

2° A Court designated by law may grant a dissolution of marriage where, but only where, it is satisfied that –

i at the date of the institution of the proceedings, the spouses have lived apart from one another for a period of, or periods amounting to, at least four years during the previous five years,

ii there is no reasonable prospect of a reconciliation between the spouses,

iii such provision as the Court considers proper having regard to the circumstances exists or will be made for the spouses, any children of either or both of them and any other person prescribed by law, and

iv any further conditions prescribed by law are complied with.

3° No person whose marriage has been dissolved under the civil law of any other State but is a subsisting valid marriage under the law for the time being in force within the jurisdiction of the Government and Parliament established by this Constitution shall be capable of contracting a valid marriage within that jurisdiction during the lifetime of the other party to the marriage so dissolved.

The Referendum which we will vote on will add to section 3 a subsection 4 :
Marriage may be contracted in accordance with the law by two persons without distiction as to their sex..

However  Section 2 remains :

2 1° In particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.

2° The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.

It seems that the government will be making some marriages more equal than others in the constitution. How will section two affect the marriage of two men?
In the case of two woman marrying will section two apply to both woman? Will both woman in a a two woman  marriage  be allowed to stay at home at the expense of the taxpayer?

If the rest of the constitution implies that a family is made up of at least one woman could this mean that the marriage of two men would still be unconstitutional? Could we be in the situation that a man and woman could marry, two woman could marry but two men could not?

How come no politician, special advisers , the attorney general or the head of the referendum commission ( who is a judge) did not notice this glaring contradiction?


Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Pastoral Statement of Bishop Kevin Doran on the Marriage Referendum

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ. Today we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension. It is, in a sense an ending. It also marks the beginning of our mission as Church in the concrete circumstances of the world in which we live. Next Friday we vote in the referendum on the meaning of Marriage. In that context, I think it is worth drawing your attention to the conversation between Jesus and his disciples, as recorded by St. Luke in this Sunday’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles. The disciples wondered, now that Jesus had risen, if He was going to “restore the kingdom to Israel“. In other words, was He going to intervene directly in the political affairs of the nation. As often happens, Jesus comes at the question from another angle. He simply tells them, “when the time comes, you will receive power from the Holy Spirit and you will be my witnesses“. That is precisely my message to you today.
Every citizen and long-term resident has a vested interest in how society defines and protects marriage and the family founded on marriage. As Christians, you HAVE received the Holy Spirit. You are called to exercise the gifts of wisdom and right judgement and to be witnesses to Jesus Christ. As citizens, you are the people with the vote and you have a responsibility to use it, for the common good. Nobody else can exercise that responsibility on your behalf.
I would hope that, over the past few months, you have thought carefully about this question and that you have also reflected on the content of the two statements issued by the Irish Catholic Bishops, one before Christmas and the other in March. If you have not read them, then I believe you should do so before Friday. You can get copies of them either here in the Church or online.
There are a few points that I would ask you to consider carefully in making your own decision before God.
  1. The Constitution is the document which underpins our whole legal system. To define marriage in the Constitution as a relationship between two people without distinction as to their sex, would be a major change. It would mean that family law could no longer give preference to a mother and father relationship as the form of parenthood best suited to the needs of children. It would make it increasingly difficult to speak in public about marriage being between a man and a woman. In the absence of any conscience clause, I would be concerned, for example, at what teachers might be expected to teach our children.
  2. I would ask you to consider carefully how a same sex union, however loving, can be said to be the same as marriage. It is true, of course, that all people are equal. Reason, however, points to the truth about human sexuality that makes the relationship of man and woman unique. This uniqueness has been recognised in every culture and has always been associated with the openness of marriage to the gift of life. That is why society has always sought to “guard with special care the institution of marriage“. Why would we suddenly want to change that now?
  3. During these past few months, many commentators have described same-sex marriage as a human right. I would ask you to take account of the fact that the European Court of Human Rights, which is not a religious organisation, issued a statement only last Summer making it clear that same-sex marriage is not a human right.
There is one final point that I want to make. It comes straight from our second reading [1] this Sunday. St. Paul encourages the people of Ephesus: “to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together“. We need to acknowledge that the issue of same sex-relationship is a reality for many in our society and, among them, families in our own parishes. We need to remember that we are “all called into one and the same hope“. This is a challenge for the Church, both now and for the years ahead.
As far as the referendum is concerned, however, I believe that the truth is quite clear. I also believe, quite honestly, that society can respond to the human rights of all who live together in committed relationships, without changing the meaning of marriage.
I encourage you to reflect carefully, to pray for wisdom from God’s Spirit and then to go out and vote on Friday.
+Kevin Doran
Bishop of Elphin

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Pastoral reflections of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin for use at all Masses on 16th and 17th May Feast of the Ascension of the Lord

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I write on the subject of marriage and the family in the light of the upcoming referendum.  I have asked parishes to make available in Churches some material to aid your reflection.
Marriage is linked with the family where mothers and fathers bring different, yet complementary gifts and strengths into a child’s life.  Marriage is not simply about a wedding ceremony or about two people being in love with each other. “
I ask you to reflect on why humans exist as male and female?  It is not an accident or a social construct.  There is a unique complementarity between men and women, male and female, rooted in the very nature of our humanity.  I believe that this complementarity belongs to the fundamental definition of marriage.  The vast majority of States in Europe and worldwide interpret marriage in that sense.
I encourage you to consider very carefully the profound implications which the constitutional amendment on marriage would have on the family and on our understanding of parenthood.
Some say that the change will not affect those who do not agree with it and will not affect marriages which take place in Church.  No politician can promise that, since it will be exclusively up to the courts to interpret the changed Constitution.
In the debates around same sex marriage in Argentina, Pope Francis was very clear that he was against same sex marriage yet he was consistent in telling people not to make judgements on any individual.  I know that the severity with which the Irish Church treated gay and lesbian people in the past – and in some cases still today – makes it difficult for some to understand the Church’s position.
The change is not simply about extending marriage rights to others; it is not just a debate about religious views; it is a fundamental change in the philosophy which underpins cohesion in society and thus affects and concerns every citizen.  I remind all of you of your civic responsibility to vote.
I urge you before voting to remember that marriage really matters and to reflect carefully and be informed before changing its definition.”
Diarmuid Martin
Archbishop of Dublin
“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I write on the subject of marriage and the family in the light of the upcoming referendum.  I have asked parishes to make available in Churches some material to aid your reflection.
Marriage is linked with the family where mothers and fathers bring different, yet complementary gifts and strengths into a child’s life.  Marriage is not simply about a wedding ceremony or about two people being in love with each other.
I ask you to reflect on why humans exist as male and female?  It is not an accident or a social construct.  There is a unique complementarity between men and women, male and female, rooted in the very nature of our humanity.  I believe that this complementarity belongs to the fundamental definition of marriage.  The vast majority of States in Europe and worldwide interpret marriage in that sense.
I encourage you to consider very carefully the profound implications which the constitutional amendment on marriage would have on the family and on our understanding of parenthood.
Some say that the change will not affect those who do not agree with it and will not affect marriages which take place in Church.  No politician can promise that, since it will be exclusively up to the courts to interpret the changed Constitution.
In the debates around same sex marriage in Argentina, Pope Francis was very clear that he was against same sex marriage yet he was consistent in telling people not to make judgements on any individual.  I know that the severity with which the Irish Church treated gay and lesbian people in the past – and in some cases still today – makes it difficult for some to understand the Church’s position.
The change is not simply about extending marriage rights to others; it is not just a debate about religious views; it is a fundamental change in the philosophy which underpins cohesion in society and thus affects and concerns every citizen.  I remind all of you of your civic responsibility to vote.
I urge you before voting to remember that marriage really matters and to reflect carefully and be informed before changing its definition.”
Diarmuid Martin
Archbishop of Dublin
- See more at: http://www.dublindiocese.ie/2015/05/16/archbishop-martins-pastoral-reflection-on-marriage/#sthash.qFsXMla7.dpuf
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I write on the subject of marriage and the family in the light of the upcoming referendum.  I have asked parishes to make available in Churches some material to aid your reflection.
Marriage is linked with the family where mothers and fathers bring different, yet complementary gifts and strengths into a child’s life.  Marriage is not simply about a wedding ceremony or about two people being in love with each other. “
I ask you to reflect on why humans exist as male and female?  It is not an accident or a social construct.  There is a unique complementarity between men and women, male and female, rooted in the very nature of our humanity.  I believe that this complementarity belongs to the fundamental definition of marriage.  The vast majority of States in Europe and worldwide interpret marriage in that sense.
I encourage you to consider very carefully the profound implications which the constitutional amendment on marriage would have on the family and on our understanding of parenthood.
Some say that the change will not affect those who do not agree with it and will not affect marriages which take place in Church.  No politician can promise that, since it will be exclusively up to the courts to interpret the changed Constitution.
In the debates around same sex marriage in Argentina, Pope Francis was very clear that he was against same sex marriage yet he was consistent in telling people not to make judgements on any individual.  I know that the severity with which the Irish Church treated gay and lesbian people in the past – and in some cases still today – makes it difficult for some to understand the Church’s position.
The change is not simply about extending marriage rights to others; it is not just a debate about religious views; it is a fundamental change in the philosophy which underpins cohesion in society and thus affects and concerns every citizen.  I remind all of you of your civic responsibility to vote.
I urge you before voting to remember that marriage really matters and to reflect carefully and be informed before changing its definition.”
Diarmuid Martin
Archbishop of Dublin
“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I write on the subject of marriage and the family in the light of the upcoming referendum.  I have asked parishes to make available in Churches some material to aid your reflection.
Marriage is linked with the family where mothers and fathers bring different, yet complementary gifts and strengths into a child’s life.  Marriage is not simply about a wedding ceremony or about two people being in love with each other.
I ask you to reflect on why humans exist as male and female?  It is not an accident or a social construct.  There is a unique complementarity between men and women, male and female, rooted in the very nature of our humanity.  I believe that this complementarity belongs to the fundamental definition of marriage.  The vast majority of States in Europe and worldwide interpret marriage in that sense.
I encourage you to consider very carefully the profound implications which the constitutional amendment on marriage would have on the family and on our understanding of parenthood.
Some say that the change will not affect those who do not agree with it and will not affect marriages which take place in Church.  No politician can promise that, since it will be exclusively up to the courts to interpret the changed Constitution.
In the debates around same sex marriage in Argentina, Pope Francis was very clear that he was against same sex marriage yet he was consistent in telling people not to make judgements on any individual.  I know that the severity with which the Irish Church treated gay and lesbian people in the past – and in some cases still today – makes it difficult for some to understand the Church’s position.
The change is not simply about extending marriage rights to others; it is not just a debate about religious views; it is a fundamental change in the philosophy which underpins cohesion in society and thus affects and concerns every citizen.  I remind all of you of your civic responsibility to vote.
I urge you before voting to remember that marriage really matters and to reflect carefully and be informed before changing its definition.”
Diarmuid Martin
Archbishop of Dublin
- See more at: http://www.dublindiocese.ie/2015/05/16/archbishop-martins-pastoral-reflection-on-marriage/#sthash.qFsXMla7.dpuf
“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I write on the subject of marriage and the family in the light of the upcoming referendum.  I have asked parishes to make available in Churches some material to aid your reflection.
Marriage is linked with the family where mothers and fathers bring different, yet complementary gifts and strengths into a child’s life.  Marriage is not simply about a wedding ceremony or about two people being in love with each other.
I ask you to reflect on why humans exist as male and female?  It is not an accident or a social construct.  There is a unique complementarity between men and women, male and female, rooted in the very nature of our humanity.  I believe that this complementarity belongs to the fundamental definition of marriage.  The vast majority of States in Europe and worldwide interpret marriage in that sense.
I encourage you to consider very carefully the profound implications which the constitutional amendment on marriage would have on the family and on our understanding of parenthood.
Some say that the change will not affect those who do not agree with it and will not affect marriages which take place in Church.  No politician can promise that, since it will be exclusively up to the courts to interpret the changed Constitution.
In the debates around same sex marriage in Argentina, Pope Francis was very clear that he was against same sex marriage yet he was consistent in telling people not to make judgements on any individual.  I know that the severity with which the Irish Church treated gay and lesbian people in the past – and in some cases still today – makes it difficult for some to understand the Church’s position.
The change is not simply about extending marriage rights to others; it is not just a debate about religious views; it is a fundamental change in the philosophy which underpins cohesion in society and thus affects and concerns every citizen.  I remind all of you of your civic responsibility to vote.
I urge you before voting to remember that marriage really matters and to reflect carefully and be informed before changing its definition.”
Diarmuid Martin
Archbishop of Dublin
- See more at: http://www.dublindiocese.ie/2015/05/16/archbishop-martins-pastoral-reflection-on-marriage/#sthash.qFsXMla7.dpuf
“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I write on the subject of marriage and the family in the light of the upcoming referendum.  I have asked parishes to make available in Churches some material to aid your reflection.
Marriage is linked with the family where mothers and fathers bring different, yet complementary gifts and strengths into a child’s life.  Marriage is not simply about a wedding ceremony or about two people being in love with each other.
I ask you to reflect on why humans exist as male and female?  It is not an accident or a social construct.  There is a unique complementarity between men and women, male and female, rooted in the very nature of our humanity.  I believe that this complementarity belongs to the fundamental definition of marriage.  The vast majority of States in Europe and worldwide interpret marriage in that sense.
I encourage you to consider very carefully the profound implications which the constitutional amendment on marriage would have on the family and on our understanding of parenthood.
Some say that the change will not affect those who do not agree with it and will not affect marriages which take place in Church.  No politician can promise that, since it will be exclusively up to the courts to interpret the changed Constitution.
In the debates around same sex marriage in Argentina, Pope Francis was very clear that he was against same sex marriage yet he was consistent in telling people not to make judgements on any individual.  I know that the severity with which the Irish Church treated gay and lesbian people in the past – and in some cases still today – makes it difficult for some to understand the Church’s position.
The change is not simply about extending marriage rights to others; it is not just a debate about religious views; it is a fundamental change in the philosophy which underpins cohesion in society and thus affects and concerns every citizen.  I remind all of you of your civic responsibility to vote.
I urge you before voting to remember that marriage really matters and to reflect carefully and be informed before changing its definition.”
Diarmuid Martin
Archbishop of Dublin
- See more at: http://www.dublindiocese.ie/2015/05/16/archbishop-martins-pastoral-reflection-on-marriage/#sthash.qFsXMla7.dpuf
“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I write on the subject of marriage and the family in the light of the upcoming referendum.  I have asked parishes to make available in Churches some material to aid your reflection.
Marriage is linked with the family where mothers and fathers bring different, yet complementary gifts and strengths into a child’s life.  Marriage is not simply about a wedding ceremony or about two people being in love with each other.
I ask you to reflect on why humans exist as male and female?  It is not an accident or a social construct.  There is a unique complementarity between men and women, male and female, rooted in the very nature of our humanity.  I believe that this complementarity belongs to the fundamental definition of marriage.  The vast majority of States in Europe and worldwide interpret marriage in that sense.
I encourage you to consider very carefully the profound implications which the constitutional amendment on marriage would have on the family and on our understanding of parenthood.
Some say that the change will not affect those who do not agree with it and will not affect marriages which take place in Church.  No politician can promise that, since it will be exclusively up to the courts to interpret the changed Constitution.
In the debates around same sex marriage in Argentina, Pope Francis was very clear that he was against same sex marriage yet he was consistent in telling people not to make judgements on any individual.  I know that the severity with which the Irish Church treated gay and lesbian people in the past – and in some cases still today – makes it difficult for some to understand the Church’s position.
The change is not simply about extending marriage rights to others; it is not just a debate about religious views; it is a fundamental change in the philosophy which underpins cohesion in society and thus affects and concerns every citizen.  I remind all of you of your civic responsibility to vote.
I urge you before voting to remember that marriage really matters and to reflect carefully and be informed before changing its definition.”
Diarmuid Martin
Archbishop of Dublin
- See more at: http://www.dublindiocese.ie/2015/05/16/archbishop-martins-pastoral-reflection-on-marriage/#sthash.qFsXMla7.dpuf

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Same Sex Marriage radically changes the nature of marriage

On December 28 2014 the feast of the Holy Family I preached a homily showing how the nature of marriage would be radically changed if the referendum was passed. The basic premise of my homily was that the referendum would finally divorce sex from marriage. Marriage has always had as an essential element sex. Not only did the Church issue decrees of nullity for non consummation but so did states. In England and Wales they use the term void.

 In my homily I said that after the referendum two heterosexual men or two heterosexual woman would be able to marry. I gave the example of New Zealand where two heterosexual men married in order to win rugby tickets. You can read about their story here

I have given much the same talk at venues where the referdum has been debated.
At one venue I was heckled by gay activists. When I asked them to show where my analysis was incorrect  all I got was to be called a homophobe and that I was making fun of a serious issue. At no time has anyone shown me that I was incorrect.

The Iona Institute put a question to the Referendum Commission It simply asked :
  'Could two heterosexual male or female friends who are not closely related marry each other under the terms of the proposed new marriage law?'

The Commission answered :'The simple answer is yes.'


This has huge implications for marriage. As Iona point out many people will be able to marry simply for tax reasons or for inheritance reason. Iona Institutes commentary on this is here

The Referendum Commission in its booklet states that :The other detailed rules about who may marry will continue to be set out in legislation for example rules about the age of the parties or about relatives who may not marry each other.

But there is a problem with this. The prohibition on marrying certain degrees of relatives was based on sex being an essential element of marriage and to prevent children being born because of the fear of genetic problems. If sex is no longer an essential element of marriage how can a government prohibit these marriages.

To date nobody has given me an answer to this question.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Pastoral message by Bishop Phonsie Cullinan, Marriage is Important

Dear Friend,
Thank you for the really kind and affectionate welcome you have given me since I arrived in the Diocese of Waterford & Lismore just a few weeks ago. Everyone has been so friendly that I feel very much at home.
That word ‘home’ is a good way of beginning what I want to say about the up-coming referendum. What will ‘home’ be like in twenty years? I had not intended writing a letter to you so soon but this matter is so vital that I felt I needed to speak up.
The message we are bombarded with is that we are all equal. This is true – we are all equal in dignity but we are not all the same. Men and women are different. Children are different to adults. The union of a man and a woman is different to any kind of relationship between two men or two women. A man and a woman join in bringing new life into the world and every child has a right to a father and a mother (be they natural or adoptive).
Common sense alone tells us that every child should have its ‘mammy and daddy’. This has been the way since the dawn of civilization in every culture and on every continent. Neither the Church nor the State invented marriage and neither can change its nature. The referendum on 22 May is seeking to change the very meaning of marriage. It is like removing concrete foundations under a house and saying that any material will do. If passed it will mean that according to the highest law of the land a ‘marriage’ between two men or two women will be equal in all respects to a marriage between a man and a woman. The amendment will give constitutional approval to the recent Children and Family Relationships Act which proposes to remove all mention of terms like ‘father’ and ‘mother’ and make all ‘family’ types the same. This goes against nature itself and against God’s plan for humanity who “made them male and female”, and Jesus adds: “this is why a man will leave his father and mother and cling to his wife and the two shall become one body”.
Family life in Ireland is already under pressure. I salute all lone parents who, often heroically, bring up their children is tough circumstances. Will this amendment make family life better or worse?
Of the 193 countries in the United Nations only 17 permit same-sex marriage – that’s fewer than 9%. The international majority is not in favour of it!
Please do not think I am in any way critical of homosexual people whom I care for as I do everyone. Christ calls us to love everyone and treat all with equal compassion and respect. There are many homosexual people who do not agree at all with this amendment.
So what is put before us in this referendum has huge implications. Please exercise your vote. You will be on your own in the polling station booth and your decision will have real consequences for the future of this society and the natural loving care of its children. In what has turned out to be a desperately one-sided public debate I hope you will think long and hard about your decision.
I finish with a few questions which I respectfully put before you. If this referendum is passed:
– Are we pandering to the desires of adults over the rights of children?
– Will parents who hold that marriage is only between and man and woman be free to teach this to their children?
– Will every school, Catholic, Protestant or Muslim, etc., be free to teach according to its ethos?
– Will people who work in adoption agencies and other jobs dealing with the public be free to act according to their conscience?
– Will the terms ‘father’ and ‘mother’ have any real meaning in the future?
We all want what is best for society and for our children. But let us consider very carefully what exactly is best. We are all equal but we are not all the same.
I sincerely wish God’s blessing on you and your family.
+ Phonsie Cullinan
Bishop of Waterford & Lismore