“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.