“To interfere with the definition of marriage is not a simple or a trivial matter” – Archbishop Martin

Whilst some political parties are being pilloried in Northern Ireland, the chief super-naturalist head of the Catholic Church in Ireland [That’s North and South? – Ed], Archbishop Eamon Martin, has issued a statement [pdf file] of the church’s opposition to a proposed change to the Irish Constitution on same-sex marriage. From the RTÉ report

[Primate of All Ireland and Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin] said: “Until now, Ireland has accepted that it is in the best interests of children and of society to promote and protect the model of children being born and raised in a family with their biological parents.

“The proposed amendment to the Constitution will remove the unique and privileged status in society for the marriage between a man and a woman.”

Archbishop Martin said that Irish bishops have already said they “cannot support an amendment to the Constitution which redefines marriage and effectively places the union of two men, or two women, on a par with the marriage relationship between a husband and wife which is open to the procreation of children”.

He said: “The Church’s vision for marriage and the family is based on faith and reason and it is shared by many people of all faith traditions and none.

“Since time immemorial, Church and State have recognised marriage to be of fundamental importance for children, mothers and fathers, and society.

“To interfere with the definition of marriage is not a simple or a trivial matter.”

The statement added: “How have we got ourselves into the situation that when people stand up to guard the dignity of difference between a man and woman, and speak for the traditional definition of marriage, they are often portrayed as being against freedom, or against equality?

“How is it that many people won’t even raise these issues in their families and workplaces for fear of being ridiculed or condemned as homophobic?

“Could we not expect at least some of our legislators to engage in public discussion on both sides of this debate?”

And from the released statement by Archbishop Eamon Martin [pdf file]

In recent weeks and months I have received many letters and messages asking me, as a Bishop, to explain clearly the Church’s teaching on marriage in the context of the forthcoming referendum. The Irish bishops have already said that we cannot support an amendment to the Constitution which redefines marriage and effectively places the union of two men, or two women, on a par with the marriage relationship between a husband and wife which is open to the procreation of children.

The Church’s vision for marriage and the family is based on faith and reason and it is shared by many people of all faith traditions and none. Since time immemorial, Church and State have recognised marriage to be of fundamental importance for children, mothers and fathers, and society. To interfere with the definition of marriage is not a simple or a trivial matter.

The teaching of the Catholic Church on the issue of same-sex unions was reiterated at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family in Rome, 2014: “There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family” (Synod Report n55). At the same time, the Church emphasises that gay people ought always to be treated with respect and sensitivity.

As people of faith, we believe that the union of a man and a woman in marriage, open to the procreation of children, is a gift from God who created us ‘male and female’. But we are also people of reason, who hold to the truth about human sexuality, grounded in the natural law, that the relationship between a man and a woman is unique.

How have we got ourselves into the situation that when people stand up to guard the dignity of difference between a man and woman, and speak for the traditional definition of marriage, they are often portrayed as being against freedom, or against equality? How is it that many people won’t even raise these issues in their families and workplaces for fear of being ridiculed or condemned as homophobic? Could we not expect at least some of our legislators to engage in public discussion on both sides of this debate?

Until now, Ireland has accepted that it is in the best interests of children and of society to promote and protect the model of children being born and raised in a family with their biological parents. The proposed amendment to the Constitution will remove the unique and privileged status in society for the marriage between a man and a woman. [added emphasis throughout]

It’s an argument we’ve heard before.  As ever, it all goes back to the Un-Enlightment and Pope Francis Benedict Francis Bacon.

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  • terence patrick hewett

    The terrifying power of Charles Dickens still echo’s over the years.

  • Ernekid

    I support ‘traditional marriage’ it’s why I traded my with father in law two goats for his daughter.

  • Mister_Joe

    I just hope that the power that that sect had over the people and the State for centuries has vanished forever.

  • Korhomme

    “Since time immemorial…”

    Interesting use of that phrase. “Time immemorial” is usually taken to mean something like, “The distant past no longer remembered”.

    The phrase has a specific meaning in law; it is the time before legal memory, being fixed by statute as before 1189, before the reign of Richard I.

    Until the 11/12th centuries, the Church did not concern itself with marriage; but this changed, as the Church exercised its power over the people. Beforehand, you did not go to a church to get married, nor did you need the approval of a priest; it was enough for the man and the woman to make a declaration. Marriage then became one of the seven sacraments, and the only form of marriage recognised and approved of by the Church was one that they performed. (And yes, they regulated what the people could and could not do in marriage; and the requirement of marriage was the procreation of children who would, it was hoped, remain free from the taint of sex and sin and so populate Heaven with pure virgins.) Even the Church’s idea of marriage has changed over the centuries.

    In England in the 18th century, a ‘molly’, a gay man, could and did contract a ‘marriage’ with another; with the ceremony celebrated by a renegade minister.

  • chrisjones2

    “As people of faith, we believe that the union of a man and a woman in marriage, open to the procreation of children,”

    So for all those post menopausal women marriage is off the agenda? Illegitimate in the Church’s eyes?

    Looks like someone just redefined marriage!!!!

  • chrisjones2

    How is it that many people won’t even raise these issues in their families and workplaces for fear of being ridiculed or condemned as homophobic?

    Possibly because its no ones business in the workplace and it is a homophobic attitude.The fact that homophobia is driven by a religious belief is no defence or excuse. Its still homophobia

  • chrisjones2

    the relationship between a man and a woman is unique.

    As is the relationship between a man and a man or a woman and a women and its all driven by the ‘natural law’ of biology as is the relationship between for example man and domesticated animals like dogs and cats.

  • Mister_Joe

    It never ceases to amaze me that people who say or pretend that they are celibate feel that they are best to contribute an opinion on the “proper” relationship between men and women or men and men or women and women. Especially since they themselves would appear to be amongst the more homosexual community.

  • Zig70

    Omg, not in my workplace. There are weekly homophobic rants. Someone actually said they should be locked up. In an open office no less.

  • Korhomme

    Not so long ago in Ireland, if a woman was advised a hysterectomy by a specialist, she had to get permission from her priest. Sometimes permission for a hysterectomy wasn’t given.

  • Zig70

    Since time immemorial I think means as written in an history book they use for teaching but the best bit is nobody knows exactly who wrote it or when it was written, not to get into translations.

  • Zig70

    Ain’t that the truth.

  • Clanky

    Mrs Brown has posted a video on Youtube in support of same sex marriage, I know whose view on moral issues I have more respect for.

  • chrisjones2

    If you are gay and its in NI just record everything then complain.If The company does not address it suie.Its worth thousands

  • chrisjones2

    Well it was all part of his God’s plan

  • Abucs

    I just thank God that the power of this sect over Europe to create the establishment of hospitals, universities, welfare and the advance of science was strong enough to create the modern world that we are all benefitting from.

  • Abucs

    Charles Dicken’s was of a time after the Reformation where the English royalty had disbanded Catholic charitable organisations. This contributed very strongly to it being ‘the worst of times’.

  • Mister_Joe

    Advance of science? I take it that you are jesting. Ask Galileo.

  • Mister_Joe

    Thirty years ago, a sister- in – law of mine had to carry a dead baby for three months because her priest, along with her incredibly stupid doctor, of a certain sect, persuaded her that it would be a sin to terminate the pregnancy. She, too late, now knows how stupid that was.

  • Zig70

    I’m not but I was offended and had to say something. Not all companies have HR departments and processes and not everyone has contracts that let them stick their head above the parapets.

  • Abucs

    Joe, it’s quite a superficial and embarrassing argument.

    Galileo was a Catholic brought up in the Catholic scientific intellectual sphere. He received a special papal pension for his science, he belonged to scientific societies dominated by clergy who more than once celebrated his accomplishments, he was the personal friend of two popes, he disobeyed all conditions of his sentence and the Church did nothing to intervene.

    In fact ;
    an archbishop invited him to stay at his house for 6 months;
    the Pope even wrote to Galileo to ask if there was anything he could personally do to make Galileo’s time more comfortable,
    he still received his special pension
    and the independent ambassador of Tuscany (where the elderly Galileo lived outside the Papal states) wrote to his king to say of his surprise that he had never seen anyone sentenced treated as well as Galileo.

    For this to be basically the one and only go-to argument in favour of the Church’s imaginary persecution of science is quite embarrassing.

  • Abucs

    Joe I have also just come back from the city of Shanghai. In that city is a park dedicated to Xú Guangqí a Chinese scientist and convert to Catholicism. He received the Papal delegation in 1582 which included Father Matteo Ricci. The park includes different statues of the men throughout talking about scientific issues, reforming the calendar and translating important Western texts into Chinese and vice versa, In one corner of the park is an observatory and in the other is the Catholic Cathedral.

    http://www.sacred-destinations.com/china/shanghai-st-ignatius-cathedral

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesuit_China_missions

    Whether it be the Church spreading and helping develop science in China or taking weather, volcanic and seismic readings in South America; whether it be converting Cathedrals to observatories or building, funding, staffing and pioneering schools, hospitals and universities or educating priests who pioneered everything from heliocentrism, the Big Bang, atomic constructs or genetics; it is not credible to have a half arsed idea of Galileo and try to pretend this somehow defines the Church and science.

  • chrisjones2

    priests who pioneered everything from heliocentrism, the Big Bang, atomic constructs or genetics …..then were denounced as heretics?

  • chrisjones2

    You mean the Monasteries who has developed huge wealth by conning the gullible? Some of it went to help the poor but much more when to ‘Glory of God’ on pretty opulent living for the few

  • Korhomme

    Something similar happened to a relative of mine in England in the 1940s; she had to carry a dead foetus for two months, for to intervene would have been an ‘abortion, and abortion was illegal’. I don’t think her Church of England said anything.

  • Korhomme

    Though Galileo seems to get the most attention, it was Copernicus who developed the modern heliocentric theory, publishing in 1543. Copernicus was a polymath, a physician and a canon in the Church.

  • Robin Keogh

    The Archbishop like many other religious leaders and so called devout adherents are doing what they feel they should be doing; and thats warning the faithful about the dangers of allowing people like myself to enter into a legal marraige agreement with the person we love, and have that legal contract afforded equal protection under the law as enjoyed by opposite sex couples. Unfortunately for the Archbishop and his cohorts across the religious devide, many of the ‘faithful’ have been touched by a deeper charity than one offered by the main religions. That charity is a belief in equality and the rights of individuals to live under the laws of the land uninhibited by man-made discriminatory doctrine propogated by those who believe their private faith should dictate public law.

    Mr Archbishop is also painfully aware that many of his priests on the ground might nod their heads in obedience to Rome’s delinquent meddling, on the ground however many priests and middle grade clergy refuse to support the instituionalised homophobia by reaching out to their gay parishoners with genuine concern and inclusivity. Ultimately the churches might prefer to continue keeping us Homo’s isolated in a cage for the intrinsically disordered, however the people are beginning to speak for themselves and profess true human love, understanding and consideration. A recent poll in the North shows 45% of Protestants, 66% of Catholics and 74% of non-aligned support equal marraige, which altogether forms a majority if my calculations are correct. So, while our church leaders and Unionist politicains fall behind the crowd and try to teach us a new way to hate in an oh so civilised fashion, God’s disordered abominations will continue to struggle for justice, equality and fairness.

  • Abucs

    Not really, just the opposite in fact Chris. For example, Father Georges LeMaitre the originator of the Big Bang Theory was asked by the Pope to be part of the Vatican 2 discussions. Father Roger Boscovich, one of the pioneering people in discovering atomic structure was asked by the Pope to help make stable the Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. Brother/Father Gregor Mendel was granted special privileges by the Pope to continue his investigations into his newly created science of genetics. Brother/Father Copernicus, a pioneer of heliocentrism was praised by the Church (during his lifetime) and urged by cardinals to publish his work and dedicated his work to the Pope.

    The list is quite long and could go on for quite a while. The question is why is it that this knowledge is not common?

    Many were bishops such as Nicholas Steno, one of the founders of the branch of modern geography and palaeontology. Others gave their treatises to Papal courts (such as Bishop Oresme, another pioneer of heliocentrism) or were chosen as advisor to the Pope and sent on diplomatic missions such as Bishop Albert the Great. (I think Albert was also the one chosen by the Pope to improve the standard of universities in Europe but I’d have to double check that).

    etc. etc.

    That being said, it is true that around the time of the Reformation and the turmoil that ensued, the church (as you would expect) was much more strict on it’s pronouncements. This also involved the interplay with science and Christianity. It was what Galileo was caught up in and also the writings of Copernicus, who had died decades beforehand. But this is a tiny aberration to the strong historical support, priority and development the Church bestowed on the field of science.

    It is not credible to mis-characterise this small period of
    time, forget the greater picture and then insist on the hyped-up mis-representation of a mild aberration to be anywhere near the story of the Church and science. There is no doubt that the Church was a major factor in the establishment and development of science and a promoter of it abroad to places like China as I have mentioned.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11296a.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albertus_Magnus

    http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Nicole_Oresme

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Joseph_Boscovich

  • chrisjones2

    You were robbed ……. one goat and a chicken might have sealed the deal

  • chrisjones2

    Le Maitre was an important and influential physicist but the world decided that Hubble was first. To suggest otherwise is, I venture, a slight rewriting of history

  • Abucs

    Your proof for this assertion?

  • Abucs

    True.

    Also the Bishop of Lisieux, Nicolas Oresme, was an interesting figure in the development of helio-centrism and other scientific thought. He was a century or more before the time of Copernicus.

  • Korhomme

    There’s a short piece on the Guardian website referring to the Archbishop’s comments. In it, they raise the concern that churches would be sued if they didn’t perform equal/gay marriages. (To me, this seems a completely specious argument; nobody is being compelled to do anything.)

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/may/02/ireland-archbishop-fears-lawsuits-for-churches-against-gay-marriage

  • Abucs

    Hubble named Lemaitre’s theory “Big Bang”. Lemaitre had called it “The Cosmic Egg Theory”.

    People claimed that Hubble called it Big Bang to make fun of Lemaitre but Hubble denied he was being sarcastic. It was Lemaitre’s theory.

    Lemaitre was a friend of Einstein and it was Einstein’s use of the Cosmological constant that helped form Lemaitre’s idea. Einstein is said to have remarked about Lemaitre – “His maths is brilliant, but his physics is terrible” (or something like that). It was LeMaitre’s idea and later Einstein said that missing Lemaitre’s physics interpretation was his biggest mistake.

    I’d have to go back and check but I think Lemaitre claimed his theory could be proved by checking the stars and galaxies are moving away from us and also that there should be a tiny uniform background heat signature left over from his ‘exploding egg’.

    Hubble confirmed Lemaitre’s theory with the red shift of the stars and Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson accidently found the cosmic background radiation in 1964 and thus doubly confirmed Lemaitre’s theory.

  • John Collins

    Chris
    I suggest that you read the chapter in Linda Colly’s ‘Britons’ dealing with the efforts of Thomas Conram, an entrepreneur, to establish homes for waits and strays in London in the Eighteenth Century. He condemned the lack of support for his proposals by the senior Anglican Clergy of the day. He said they would gladly walk about the Royal Court in their bare backsides before they would lend him any support in this worthy enterprise. He also drew attention to the fact that such deprived children were much better looked after by the church in France. Of course the situation did improve in GB but Conram, a layman, was the man that led the charge and not the Reformed Church. I might point out that Linda Colley is a historian who strongly celebrates the way GB developed in this period.

  • [Sorry; double post deleted.]

  • Fr. Martin, as he was known to me then, taught me RE in my first year of St. Columb’s College in Derry. He later went on to become president of the college before embarking on his swift ascent through the Catholic Church in Ireland. Maybe he’ll be Pope some day! As an agnostic atheist, I have pretty much zero interaction with members of the clergy these days, but if only I’d had the greater level of consciousness/independence and lack of innocent deference to authority I do now back then to enable me to spot and challenge the utter hypocrisy of the Church’s position, maybe I’d have been able to nip this in the bud!

    He never particularly struck me as nasty or bigoted – more tender/thoughtful and effeminate than anything actually, without wanting to sound droll – but I do think it a bit rich that he can so freely abandon “God’s plan for marriage and family” himself through his own life of celibacy as a priest yet pontificate about those of the same sex who do wish to marry and at least raise children in a loving two-parent environment. There’s obviously no moral obligation upon any human being or married couple to procreate, so it’s disingenuous to suggest that procreation has to be an integral aspect of marriage.

    Those of religious authority are obviously opposed to the notion of single parent-hood and object to the availability of divorce, preferring two parents to one, but would they not, at the very least, be able to concede (in consistency and in accordance with their own logic/supposed preferences) that two parents, regardless of gender, might be better able to support one another in the raising of a child or children than one parent? If that is conceded, then why not support the affording of such arrangements proper recognition and protection in the best interests of all involved? (That’s not to cast personal judgment nor is it to personally assume what might actually be a preference for a particular parent or child as everyone’s life is their own and maybe some single parents feel that that’s the best situation for their children, and that’s up to them; just using the Church’s own logic to expose the senselessness of its position.)

    Of course, the great thing for ‘no’ campaigners and about campaigning for a ‘no’ vote in the upcoming referendum is that, even if they lose, it’ll make absolutely no difference to their own lives whatsoever. It’s a no-lose situation for them. What a neat luxury.

    But Martin’s just saying what he has to, isn’t he? What it does is it really demonstrates the surreality/daftness of the institution and it’s incongruity with modern life and liberal, enlightened ideas. People dictating to other people (who wish absolutely no harm upon anyone or society) how to live their lives are thankfully becoming less and less relevant.

    The statement is full of such dubious and contradictory codswallop. I’d dissect the whole thing if I was bothered. I’ll just look at the reference to this supposed “natural law”; is that the same law that says humans should defecate in the cold corner of a cave and die of septicemia at the age of 28 if lucky enough to live that long without being eaten alive by wild animals?… Humans are a part and product of nature; our actions, thoughts and desires are, therefore, natural by definition. If you wish to take your guidance on the “truth about human sexuality” from nature, you’ll, thus, only find that homosexuality must be inherently natural because it’s something in which humans (and indeed hundreds if not thousands of species of other animals) engage. And why consider marriage, an entirely human social construct, in accordance with the supposed “natural order” but not homosexuality? One is as “natural” or “unnatural” as the other.

  • Korhomme

    As I recall, there were two prefaces to Copernicus’s ‘revolutionary’ work on the heliocentric theory. Copernicus presented his work as a theoretical model which made astronomical calculations much easier. He seems to have been very aware of the theological discord that his work would produce.

  • JohnTheOptimist

    The attempt by leftist liberals to link the Catholic and other Christian Churches with homophobia is nauseating hypocrisy. Their own record over the years is much worse.

    Lets’s take relatively moderate liberals first. Whether he’s right or wrong, the Archbishop is merely stating what Bill Clinton was stating in 1996, and what Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton were stating in 2008. So, if the Archbishop is a homophobe, then all these distinguished liberals were homophobes for nearly all of their lives. Were they condemned as such before their recent conversions to the cause of gay marriage (probably triggered not out of genuine conviction, but by electoral considerations)? If its so obvious that ‘marriage’ between two men or two women is no different to marriage between a man and a woman, how come 99.9 per cent of the world’s population, including 99.9 per cent of leftist liberals, didn’t mention it or campaign for it until a few years ago?

    When I was at Queen’s in the late 1960s, there was lots of left-liberal agitation even before 5th October 1968, but I never heard any of the resident leftists arguing for gay marriage at the time. Most of them were totally hostile to the idea of marriage in general (and I suspect still are). Indeed, as members of the then Republican Clubs (effectively the pre-split Sinn Fein), many of them were supporters of the Soviet Union, which at that time punished gays with 5 years hard labour in the gulags (the law was repealed by Boris Yeltsin). The IRA leader at the time, Cathal Goulding, was renowned for having a portrait of Romanian Communist dictator, Caeusescu, above his desk. But, at that time the same Caeusescu was interning thousands of gays in internment camp.

    The hypocrisy of the left on this issue is staggering. While persecution of gays can never be justified, over the years gays have been treated much less harshly in Christian (including Catholic) countries than in Marxist countries. Cuba is a good example. This is what the Cuban gay writer Reinaldo Arenas wrote: “The decade of the sixties was when all the NEW laws against homosexuals came into being, when the persecution started and concentration camps were opened. LGBT persons were imprisoned frequently, particularly effeminate males, without charge or trial, and confined to forced labour camps. The camps became increasingly crowded as the methods of arrest became more expedient, and were rife with verbal and physical mistreatment, shaved heads, work from dawn to dusk, hammocks, dirty floors and scarce food.” None of this, although well-known at the time, prevented Castro’s Cuba being idolised by the Irish left in the 1960s (some of them are still around prattling about ‘homophobia’ among their opponents on the right). Had either wing of the IRA succeeded in their aim of establishing a Socialist Republic in Ireland in the late 1960s, its quite likely Ireland would have seen similar treatment of gays.

  • Abucs

    That appears to be largely speculation Korhomme. Other speculation is that it would cause consternation with fellow scientists.

    I haven’t seen any evidence for ether speculation, nor for any other reason. Five hundred years later, it is quite easy to speculate on a number of possibilities.

    But as you have suggested it is possible that Copernicus had in mind possible ‘discord’, whether it be theological, scientific, political or simply social discord.

    From memory he (i’d have to check) did write about the ‘time not being right for his theory’, whether that means theologically, scientifically or politically (the Reformation). i think it is all speculation at this point.

    I don’t see any reason why it would be a serious theological problem. It wasn’t with Bishop Oresme.

    Even if you take the trial with Galileo, the head of the inquisition Cardinal Bellarmine wrote to Galileo to say that if he had real scientific proof of helio-centrism then the Cardinal would have no choice but to change his mind. It’s difficult to be any more reasonable than that.

    Given all the superfluous problems with Galileo, the Churches original brush off of the whole affair and the tameness of the ‘punishment’, i doubt whether Copernicus had anything to fear theologically or from the Church.

    It’s possible though. I wasn’t there myself. 🙂

  • Korhomme

    It’s a couple of decades since I ‘did’ Copernicus as part of an OU course, so I’m relying on memory. And the OU was certainly seen then as being ‘lefty’, which might explain their attitude to Copernicus and the Church. We also did the Vatican astronomers, but I’ve largely forgotten what we learned.

    The theological problem relates to a statement somewhere in the OT about the earth being the centre of the universe, and ‘unchanging’—or something like that.

    (We also studied James Hutton, the Scottish geologist, and his ideas of ‘deep time’; this idea, that the earth was millions of years old, troubled him a lot. Ussher’s biblical chronology was well known at that time.)

    And, isn’t it curious that although this blog post is about the definition of marriage, yet we come to discussing Copernicus et al.

  • Zig70

    Paddy power has a pass at 12/1, so it sounds like he will need to get used to it. I have to admit I’m not sure what the fuss is about? What will it get you, a letter from the government saying you love someone else at that point in time? I get the point that it will help to normalize society into accepting gay relationships and to that end it is worthwhile but I wouldn’t be surprised if the uptake was low after the initial rush.

  • chrisjones2

    The huge amounts Henry VIII squeezed out of them!

  • chrisjones2

    I agree totally. The Anglican church was just as bad – its a function of religion and the role it played in the state not Catholicism per se

    Both were equally good and bad. They were probably about equal too in the torture and murder of so called heretics who challenged the orthodoxy

  • chrisjones2

    Shocking. I am genuinely sorry. Why the hell did we ever put up with these perverts?

  • I agree such commentary and instruction from a priest (especially towards non-Catholics and non-adherents of the faith) is completely inappropriate and hypocritical, but you say priests would “appear to be amongst the more homosexual community”? I’m far from being a fan of the Catholic Church, but members of the clergy are an easy target these days; that’s just lazy innuendo and, whether intentional or not, also looks like you’re conflating child abuse with homosexuality. Why would priests, most of whom are celibate and will never have engaged in any sexual activity with another person whatsoever, “appear to be amongst the more homosexual community”?

  • Abucs

    If we seized all the assets of the NHS and sold them off, how do you reckon we’d do? Would such an action say about the doctors, nurses and ‘gullible’ public, or would it say more about us?

  • Abucs

    The records of the Spanish Inquisition were released to the public in the mid 1990’s. You might want to look into the academic studies of them to help separate fact from fiction.

  • Abucs

    It goes that way sometimes.

    You might want to look at Bishop Steno’s contribution to the idea of ‘deep time’.

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/history_04

    I think when we consider the period of Galileo we have to remember that ‘literalism’ was a very sensitive issue because of the widespread rebellion of that particular time.

    The Reformation brought with it the idea that you didn’t need the big bad Church. Reading the Bible yourself was all that was needed.

    With that comes several assumptions and consequences :
    —-> The Bible is God’s way of teaching salvation.

    —-> Therefore the Bible must be clear and straightforward so that the ‘common’ man can understand it. God does not lie nor does he get things wrong, So not only is the Bible clear and simple to read but

    —-> if someone suggests it is incorrect in some respect they are questioning God’s plan for salvation and his plan to connect to the ‘common’ man.

    —-> Therefore he is standing against God and not to be followed.

    Such an idea has run its course and is as incorrect today as it was back then. But in the heat of the (literal) battle, people had to tread very carefully when going near that subject. If we want the Catholic position then I think it is important to come out of that particular period of time and judge more holistically.

  • John Collins

    Yes. Absolutely agreed. I feel politics and religion should be strictly kept apart. I was in Krackow Poland, for a few days, a few weeks back. While I would appreciate that John Paul 11 played a part in the fall of Communism there but it was amazing that I never heard anybody mention Lech Walesa. I feel the Church has totally hijacked the Revolution narrative in that country, which is rather like history repeating itself

  • Devil Eire

    It was Fred Hoyle who came up with the term ‘Big Bang’, but it was intended to be derisory as Hoyle favoured his own Steady State theory.

    Lemaître derived a dynamic solution to general relativity in which space was constantly expanding. (Einstein originally preferred static, or unchanging ones, later shown to be unstable). He was then able to provide the first interpretation of the redshifts obtained by Slipher and Hubble as being due to a universal expansion. This was two years before Hubble’s 1929 paper. It’s an exaggeration to say the Lemaître and Einstein were friends, although they met and corresponded.

    It is correct, though, that Lemaître did not receive the recognition he deserved. This is partly because his 1927 paper was published in a relatively obscure French journal. Later, in 1931, an English translation was published in MNRAS but this omitted some crucial paragraphs where he derived what is now known as ‘Hubble’s Law’. This omission prompted some conspiracy theorists to suggest that Hubble’s supporters were intent on establishing his (Hubble’s) prominence. However, it has recently been established that the mystery translator was none other than Lemaître himself. He apparently left out the discussion of the data, worrying that it would be ‘of no actual interest’.