Archive for March, 2012

Same-Sex Marriage is not a subversion of the institution of marriage

March 4, 2012 2 comments

Today, Cardinal Keith O’Brien wrote in Sunday Telegraph that same-sex marriage is wrong. As a Catholic, I beg to differ.

I believe Cardinal O’Brien to be a fabricator of untruths. For this I direct you to a paragraph written by the Cardinal:

In Article 16 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, marriage is defined as a relationship between men and women. But when our politicians suggest jettisoning the established understanding of marriage and subverting its meaning they aren’t derided.

I know direct you to Article 16 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights:

Article 16.

  • (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
  • (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
  • (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Nowhere in Article 16 does it say that marriage is an exclusive arrangement between a man and a woman. It just says that men and women (of legal age) can marry. Men can marry men, women can marry women and men can marry women.

Also in Article 16, it states that dissolution of a marriage is allowed. Not so in the Catholic Church. For Cardinal O’Brien to invoke Article 16 is disingenuous and for him to provide an addendum to an international document without democratic support is immoral.

Marriage has always existed in order to bring men and women together so that the children born of those unions will have a mother and a father.

By that logic, and actually the logic of the Church, that infertile couples must have their marriage annulled due to the fact that they can’t produce children – the only product of marriage. But that also means that widows and widowers must be condemned if they so choose to remain unmarried.

This view point comes from a man whose employment revolves around celibacy and being married to the Church. I have no problem with this, it’s an admirable quality to dedicate one’s life to a cause. However, Cardinal O’Brien must also acknowledge the historical context as to why celibacy was forced on the priesthood – to protect the wealth of the Catholic Church from claims to its estate from children of priests. There is nothing in the New Testament (for which Christians derive the majority of their faith and understanding from) to say that those who dedicate themselves to the Church cannot dedicate themselves to a family. To love. Conversely, there is nothing in the teachings of Jesus Christ that marriage is a union exclusively between a man and a woman.

Those of us who were not in favour of civil partnership, believing that such relationships are harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of those involved, warned that in time marriage would be demanded too.

Yes, those who have argued for civil partnerships have then argued for marriage. Yes, civil partnerships will, for some, be “harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of those involved” because they, as Christians, cannot be physically, mentally nor spiritually satisfied with the legal rights of marriage. This is because, as I am sure Cardinal O’Brien is aware, that marriage is much more than legal rights but of a spiritual and emotional union between the couple and God. To have that denied, when you are a believer, creates insurmountable stress, thus creating all the “evils” that the Cardinal lists.

As a Catholic, I know that attendance rates in Britain have dropped off in recent years and it is unsurprising considering the illiberal behaviour of a surprisingly liberal branch of the Church. The success of the Church has always been down to its ability to adapt, but I fear that those who seek to “preserve” it are in fact destroying it.

The recent Ordinariate will erode the tenements of the faith. The Ordinariate do not believe in the faith of the Church. They don’t accept transubstantiation. They just don’t like women or gays. By appeasing to these types of people, the idea of transubstantiation, the sanctity of Mary (an unmarried woman, I hasten to add) and the emphasis placed on the Angels and Saints will all be eroded to suit a small minority who are bigotted.

The Ordinariate, Cardinal O’Brien, is more corrosive to the Catholic Church as a whole than allowing a few people who love each other to marry. Who knows, attendance rates might go up if they are allowed to marry.

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