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Who cares about the consequences of gay marriage?

The problem with same-sex marriage legislation is that it wishes to bring into reality something that cannot exist

By on Monday, 5 March 2012

Who cares about the consequences of gay marriage?

People often ask the sort of question that goes like this: “Why don’t the bishops speak out about X?” where X is the great topic of the day. Well, they often do (not everyone listens) and they have certainly done so about the question of the proposed legalisation of homosexual marriage. Cardinal Keith O’Brien has spoken, and if you have not yet read what he has said, you can read it here.

Cardinal O’Brien is the senior Catholic in Great Britain, so you cannot get a more authoritative statement than this.

What struck me about the Cardinal’s article is the way he homes in on the philosophical underpinning of the proposed change to the law. He calls it an attempt to “redefine reality”, and so it is. Marriage as currently understood was not invented by any government, but precedes the invention of government; it is surely the oldest human institution there is; now a government, ours, is proposing to change the meaning of marriage. The government seems to believe that it has the power to redefine marriage – but how can it?

What this opens up, or rather should open up, for the present age is not really interested in metaphysical matters, is the question of the relationship between the human will and the world we live in. Certain things lie beyond our powers. I may not wish to die, I may deny that death exists, I may call it something else, but I will surely die. Death is a reality that no human decree can stay; so is old age; so are the basic laws of economics, or the laws of physics. No one, not even parliament, can decree that up shall henceforth be down, and down up.

A parliament could legislate that we should all drive on the left hand side, or the right hand side, as appropriate. Some countries have changed from one side to the other: but what side of the road you drive on is purely a matter of convention, human convention. Is what marriage is also purely conventional, in other words, whatever we decide it shall be? Our parliamentarians seem to think so, but on this matter they surely cannot be right. Even after any such proposed legislation becomes law, reality will be the same, nothing will have changed.

Natural law precedes human positive law, as some would put it. Human positive law cannot change natural law.

Incidentally, I am not particularly interested in the possible effects such legislation might have. My objections to such legislation are not consequentialist, but rather essentialist. It is not that I think that such legislation will have bad effects, though it may well do (who can predict the future?), it is rather that I think that such legislation wishes to bring into reality something that cannot of its nature exist.

One last point: Cardinal O’Brien’s article has aroused a predictable reaction. He wants to keep the status quo, as do I. He is accused by many commentators of being motivated by hatred. I see no evidence for this. As for myself, I do not hate anyone.

  • Anonymous

    No.

    A very clear statement of the reasons against allowing altar girls – the use of which is entirely optional – is laid out in this very helpful paper:

     http://www.rtforum.org/lt/lt88.html

    I happen to agree with the rationale and have, personally, no intention of allowing girls to serve at the altar should I be ordained.

    However, although the use of altar girls is offensive to tradition, disruptive to reverence and prayer and does seem to inhibit the function of altar service as a potential seedbed of vocations, altar girls themselves have no sacramental function and they do not possess ordained ministry, the order of acolyte having been abolished.I don’t approve of altar girls, but it is fallacious to equate them with the idea that a gay couple could have a valid sacramental marriage. One is an impossibility, the other is merely undesirable.

  • Nyankslawrence

    What people should know is that there some individuals who wish to create their own understandings and eventually they want to impose them to other people through agitating for human rights.
    Here in Africa,we respect our cultures to the extent up to now they are still valued as important.
    Hearing Homosexual and lesbianism here in Africa,it sounds a taboo because it has never happened.
    However,they are coming(those acts) due to the western influence who like selling their stupid acts worldwide.
    I therefore argue those agitating for those immoral acts to simply practice them on their own but not wanting to enforce the church to allow them.
    What i know the catholic church will never allow them.

  • Charles Martel

     It cannot exist. You can believe in fairies, but it doesn’t bring them into existence.

  • Charles Martel

    Altar girls are obviously a different thing, and as any Catholic knows, a mistake.

  • Charles Martel

     Homosexuality is a disorder. We must be charitable to those who have it, but never tolerate the pretensions of those who want to ‘normalise’ it or campaign for it or aim to give it ‘equal rights’ in society. That is not possible.

  • Charles Martel

    Are you a Catholic, Paul?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=697126564 Paul Halsall

    Homosexuality, like all sexuality, is a grace.

    Nyankslawrence is seriously misinformed if he thinks homosexuality either does not exist in Africa, or was introduced by Europeans.

    What was introduced in former British colonies was the penalisation of homosexuality in the criminal code.  Such criminalisation does not occur in the former French colonies, which followed the more enlightened decree of the Code Napoleon.

    Currently, South Africa leads the world in allowing same-sex marriage and in providing legal protections of gay people in its constitution.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=697126564 Paul Halsall

    Yes I am.  Fr. Aidan Nichols OP received me into the Church in 1979.

    I have always been impressed by the critical reflection encouraged by Dominican spirituality, and I see my faith as a matter of dialogue and appreciation of the tradition, saints, and thinkers of the past.

    I am especially keen on devotional Catholicism, and have a special devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes (and have been ever since I went on a Catholic Association pilgrimage many years ago with the aid of Nora Edwards).
    And, for what its worth, I am not currently involved in any sexual activities at all!

  • Recusant

    So cultures that have since died out conducted same-sex unions. you’re not exactly convincing me.

  • Honeybadger

    Right on, spot on, Peter!

  • Honeybadger

    If Paul is a Catholic, I’m the Dalai Lama!

  • Honeybadger

    Who gives a fried fish finger?

  • Honeybadger

    I’ve read some horsefeathers but you… you have provided a shedload of horsefeathers here, chum!

    Do you honestly think priests came down in the last shower and had no experience of life?

    You haven’t met many priest or got to know them as human beings, have you?

    Just because I have studied history it doesn’t mean to say that I have to hire a bloody TARDIS to actually experience it! If you see Jam Doughnuts behind the glass in a bakery, do you take their word for it or demand a bite without paying for it?

    There are men who have been born and raised in families big, small, troubled, happy, dysfunctional, traumatic…

    There have been men who have been widowed, who have been part of a family unit but whose wives have died…

    Men who have loved and lost (whether they have had physical relationships is none of my beeswax) more than once in their lives…

    There are men who have worked in occupations – chefs, City bankers, supermarket shop assistants, soldiers, footballers, rugby players, binmen, insurance clerks, airport personnel…

    WHO. BECAME. PRIESTS. AND. WHO. EVENTUALLY – EVENTUALLY -TOOK. VOWS. OF. CELIBACY!!

    So, Patrick wotzyourface, how do you know whether a priest has had a ‘physical’ life or not? Have you asked them about it over a beer or a cup of tea? Did you make yourself comfy in a sitting room at the presbytery to do an impression of Chatty Man or Jonathan Ross when you posed the question?

    Or have you made assumptions, like a lot of people have?

    I’d say you have made assumptions.

    If the Church of England is so fab, why are there thousands upon thousands of Anglicans swimming the Tiber and banging their knuckles on the doors of the Vatican to be let in?

    Contrary to popular belief, the Pope didn’t put an ad in the paper to net in discontent Anglicans.

    What decent person would turn away those who need guidance.

    The Ordinariate is rather like making up the spare room for unexpected guests in the anticipation of a longer stay.

    The Church of England began because of divorce, by the way!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=697126564 Paul Halsall

    Yes, I have a link.  See Michael Szonyi, “The Cult of Hu
    Tianbao and the Eighteenth-Century Discourse of Homosexuality,” Late Imperial China 19:1 (1998), 1.
    [Online at http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/late_imperial_china/v019/19.1szonyi.html ]

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=697126564 Paul Halsall

    Re: Montaigne:

    One of the most interesting
    passages relating to the widespread conceivability of gay marriage comes from
    France’s premier essayist Montaigne. The story here is confirmed by other
    sources – records of a Venetian diplomat for instance, and so seems to refer to
    an actual event – a gay marriage, understood as such, in late 16th century
    Rome:

                    “On
    my return from Saint Peter’s I met a man who informed me … that on this same
    day [March 18, 1581] the [Holy Week] station was at San Giovanni Porta Latina,
    in which church a few years before certain Portuguese had entered into a
    strange brotherhood. They married one another, male to male, at Mass, with the
    same ceremonies with which we perform our marriages, read the same marriage
    gospel service, and then went to bed and lived together. The Roman wits[i] said that because
    in the other conjunction, of male and female, this circumstance of marriage
    alone makes it legitimate, it had seemed to these sharp folk that this other
    action would become equally legitimate if they authorized it with ceremonies
    and mysteries of the Church. Eight or nine Portuguese of this fine sect were
    burned.”[ii]

    If Montaigne’s informant was correct then a number of
    men took part in Catholic marriage ceremonies in Rome, with the argument that
    sexual intercourse and domestic partnership are what constitutes as
    marriage.  Unless the ceremony was a
    sham, it also seem to indicate the desire of at least one
    “homosexual” couple to live in long term relationship. At some point
    this was tolerated by the authorities of at least one Roman church. It is not
    clear how long before “a few years” was. At some later date this
    group was considered a “sect” and some members were burnt.

                            [i]
    “Esperis” – the word might also mean “experts.”

     

                            [ii]  Montiagne, Travel Journals, trans. Donald M. Frame, trans., Montaigne, (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1948),
    954-55.

     

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=697126564 Paul Halsall

    Chenrezig is not a honey badger.

  • Tridentinus

     

    When you
    were received into the Catholic Church you would have made the following
    declaration; “I believe and profess all that the Holy Catholic
    Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.” For you now to
    declare that, “Homosexuality like all sexuality, is a grace,”
    when the Church since its very institution has persistently believed, taught
    and proclaimed the sinfulness of sodomy (homosexual activity), calling it one
    of the sins crying out to heaven for vengeance. It would be interesting to know
    how you square your current belief that it is a ‘grace’ and your advocacy of
    same-sex ‘marriage’ with the declaration you made all those years ago.

  • Charles Martel

    Paul, if you don’t believe us, ask Fr Aidan Nichols OP whether the Catholic Church will ever allow homosexuals to marry in Church.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=697126564 Paul Halsall

    Like the church, one develops in one’s understanding of the faith over time.

    The Church used to teach that there was no salvation for non-Catholics. Now it does not do so.  Understandings, as I said, change.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=697126564 Paul Halsall

    I doubt Fr. Aidan does think that.

    But as I have indicated before, things change.

    After all, who would have imagined that the man who received Aidan into the church – Archbishop McQuaid of Dublin – and a super conservative – would turn out to have been reported as abusing boys and doing nothing to stop priests in his charge doing so to others.

    One of the things I am most keen on is openness and the end of the closet that has proved so destructive to Catholicism, and has allowed abusers to flourish.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=697126564 Paul Halsall

    Cardinal Hume wrote:  9. Love between two persons, whether of tile same sex or of a different sex, is to be treasured and respected. “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus,” we read (Jn. 11:5). When two persons love, they experience in a limited manner in this world what will be their unending delight when one with God in the next. To love another is in fact to reach out to God, who shares his lovableness with the one we love. To be loved is to receive a sign or share of God’s unconditional love.
    10. To love another, whether of the same sex or of a different sex, is to have entered the area of the richest human experience. But that experience of love is spoiled, whether it is in marriage or in friendship, when we do not think and act as God wills us to think and act. Human loving is precarious, for human nature is wounded and frail. Thus marriage and friendship will never be easy to handle. We shall often fail, but the ideal remains.

  • Jack McFall

    I make the assumption that you are a practicing catholic and hopefully a reasonable person. It does not help the image of the catholic church when it’s members make seeping statements without verification.  It would be interesting to know how you can decree that homosexuality is a disorder because all academic and clinical knowledge to date would not support your view. I do accept that your personal and subjective opinion is as good as that of anyone else, but if you cannot provide reasoned and objective references for your point of view, then the opinions you express are useless, and not worth serious consideration.Scientific and medical understanding is that sexual orientation is not a choice, but rather a complex interplay of biological and environmental factors. While some religious organizations hold the view that homosexual activity is unnatural or dysfunctional, all credible research shows that homosexuality is an example of normal variation in human sexuality and not a source of negative psychological effects. However, prejudice, discrimination and misinformation against homosexual and bisexual people have been shown to cause psychological harm in the same way that racial and religious persecution was caused psychological harm but that does not mean disorder.

  • David Devinish

    You are a great advocate for Catholic ethics. You feel free to mock the dignity of His Holiness The Dalai Lama but you would be most indignant if someone mocked the Majesty of His Holiness The Pole.  Attitudes and actions like yours demonstrate just how shallow, erratic and meaningless the morals of the Catholic Church really are. It is people like you who are damaging the integrity of the Catholic church more than any outsiders, because how can some potential Catholic take flippant and discourteous comments like yours seriously. People like you frighten other people away

  • David Devinish

    Apology for the error. Should have read: Majesty of His Holiness The Pope

  • Dave Corrigan

     Your facile, flippant argument says much about your own inarticulate and closed minded attitude. The number of clerics who have been married prior to becoming priests, nuns and monks is virtually infinitesimal and the only figure that I could elicit was 0.08 of 1% in the past hundred years. For obvious reasons, the figures are not accurate but have been estimated for me by an erudite Roman Catholic historian. However, they may have had sex before marriage before becoming priests, but that is not the point that you are making. It does not assist the Catholic Church’s cause in any way when people like you resort to coarse, abrasive, public house repartee to make an most inane case. For far too long, The Catholic Church has been irreverently referred to as “The church of Irish navies and Italian waiters” and suggests that the Roman Catholics are unsophisticated. Your feeble attempt at literary rhetoric tends to give some credence to this insulting and mistaken concept.

  • Dave Corrigan

    Using the analogy of a tennis match, I would say that it is game, set and match to Lucifer.

  • Tridentinus

     

    I agree whole-heartedly
    with what Cardinal Hume has written as I am certain that the love he had in
    mind was not erotic. I love my family dearly, I love my brother and loved my
    parents. I can’t say that I have loved anyone of either sex to the same degree as
    I love my family but I do not deny that it is possible. Our Lord, Himself said,
    “Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his
    friends.”

    As for developing one’s
    understanding over time, again I agree with you. However, when an individual’s
    developed understanding leads him into believing the opposite of what the
    Church teaches then humble submission to the Magisterium is the only course
    open to a true Catholic.

    As for there being no
    salvation outside the Catholic Church, this is as valid today as it was when
    declared by the Fourth Lateran Council. The bald statement itself has
    been explained and expanded upon over the centuries by numerous Popes and is
    further defined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and remains, “…… Hence
    they (men and women) could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church
    was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it
    or to remain in it” (Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, 14).”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=697126564 Paul Halsall

    Tridentinus, I am glad you see that teaching develops.

    That is how we went from this:

    “we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”  (Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam, 1302)

    to this:

    “16. Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of God in various ways.[18] There is, first, that people to which the covenants and promises were made, and from which Christ was born according to the flesh (cf. Rom. 9:4-5): in view of the divine choice, they are a people most dear for the sake of the fathers, for the gifts of God are without repentance (cf. Rom. 11:29-29). But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Moslems: these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day. Nor is God remote from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, since he gives to all men life and breath and all things (cf. Acts 17:25-28), and since the Saviour wills all men to be saved (cf. 1 Tim. 2:4). Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience–those too many achieve eternal salvation.[19] Nor shall divine providence deny the assistance necessary for salvation to those who, without any fault of theirs, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God, and who, not without grace, strive to lead a good life.(Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 16, 1964)

    So also in the fullness of time will the Church open up to its lesbian and gay members.

  • David Devinish

    And within hours of making that statement Henry V had died from gastro-enteritis. He didn’t shed his blood. All that he fought for was for nothing; all those people died for nothing. I think that this may be an omen for the outcome for the attitude of the catholic church’s attitude to the same sex marriage issue.

  • Honeybadger

    He sure does!

  • Honeybadger

    ”It does not assist the Catholic Church’s cause in any way when peole like you resort to coarse, abrasive, public house repartee to make an most (sic) inane case.”

    You condescending, patronising, supercilious, invalidating excuse for a living, breathing specimen!

    May God help you and forgive you!

    And YOU are helping the Roman Catholic cause? Yeah, right! Like Jim Davidson for Race Relations!

    Who is this erudite Roman Catholic historian? Let me guess…Stephen Fry? Coco the clown? Pepa Pig?

    Where did you get your figures from? Strictly Come Dancing?

    So, what is facile, flippant, inarticulate and closed minded about what I’ve said? Go on, if you think you’re smart enough!

    That priests didn’t come down with the last shower or come through the birth canal (which doesn’t run from Manchester to Leeds) wearing a dog-collar? That they had working lives and tasted the experience of family life in their own homes? That they, at some time in their lives, fell in love and lost?

    What’s so facile, flippant, inarticulate etc. etc. about that?

    Can’t you take your face out of your anal orifice to face the truth about priests because you prefer to continue being snivelingly nasty as it gives you a cheap thrill and a superiority complex?

    That Anglicans are knocking on the doors of the Vatican – hence, the Ordinariate? Helloooo?!?!!??!

    That King Henry VIII broke away from Rome because the Pope did not give into his demands for a divorce from Catherine of Aragon? So, he spit the dummy and made HIMSELF head of the Church of England. Anyone who disagreed were beheaded and martyred in the most horrific ways.

    So, the Roman Catholic Church is is referred to as unsophisticated, the church of Irish navvies (you can’t even spell navvy, you plonkhead!) and Italian waiters. Indeed, the Roman Catholic Church in the UK, USA etc would be in a sorry state without Italians, Irish, Polish, Spanish etc. etc. etc. from all walks of life, who gave their spare pennies to build the most beautiful churches for their spiritual nourishment! These churches are not just beautiful works of art but they are memorials to priests who helped the poor and the ‘unsophisticated’ when the so-called ‘sophisicated’ would pass by the poor, expoited and unsanitised on the other side of the street.

    I’m proud to belong to the Roman Catholic Church because it has no ‘sophisticated’ pretensions.

    After all, Jesus Christ Himself was regarded as ‘unsophisticated’ because he spoke Aramaic and came from Nazareth (the biblical version of a backwater) the son of God (brought up by his housewife mother and jobbing carpenter fosterfather, Joseph)

    Yes, compare Him to the ‘sophisticated’ scribes, pharisees, chief priests and romans!

    ”insulting and mistaken concept” – my giddy eye!

    So, how come there are RC Churches built by the same guys who built – amongst other landmarks – the Houses of Parliament? That business people, lawyers, accountants and other professionals fill the pews of lunchtime masses in major cities?

  • Margaret

    I know many people think it was unwise of the Cardinal to make the statement he has.  The clergy are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.  I see parallels here with what appears to most people as a small change to the marriage rite to include same sex couples.  The abortion law was supposed to be for the few that would need it  and only for a serious reason.  Now we have it as almost a contraceptive and just this last week we have ethisists (whoever they are) saying we should be able to kill infants for a number of reasons AFTER they are born.  I’m sure David Steel did not envisage his law being used in this way.  It leaves me wondering what this new marriage law will lead to in the end.

  • Honeybadger

    Oh, David, David, where have you been?

    The Pope has been disrespected more times than the Dalai Lama!

    The Pope has been called Nazi, Whore of Babylon, paedophile etc. etc. etc.

    People feel free to mock my Pope but, because I use the Dalai Lama’s name in vain, you grab your handbag and go ‘wooooo?’

    OK, I’ll rephrase: If Paul is a Catholic, I’m Spongebob Squarepants.

    Now, Spongebob is going to be offended.

    Well, be offended!

  • Honeybadger

    The Polish Pope – Blessed John Paul II aka Karol Wojtyla – died on 2 April 2005.

  • Honeybadger

    What does it matter who baptised you? I don’t want your name, rank and number!

    There are several catholics who are baptised but do not – shall we say – stay with the church and its teachings both publicly and privately.

    I’ve attended many baptisms down the years and the majority of those baptised, sadly, are like boomerangs that don’t come back. Their families and friends have the ability to practise their faith but fail to.

    That ain’t my fault!

    And, to those of you who blame me for scaring people off the Roman Catholic Church – you sooooo want a scapegoat, don’t you?

    I speak/write as I find.

    If you, or anyone else don’t like it – so what?

  • Honeybadger

    The secular laws are far more authoritarian than Cardinal Keith O’Brien.

  • Honeybadger

    He likes to wind up devout, practising Roman Catholics because he and his like are too cowardly to pick on someone else.

  • Honeybadger

    We Roman Catholics DO NOT believe in charms, omens or such-like fooleries!

    If you prefer to believe in omens, go right on ahead!

    The Church has survived because of the blood of martyrs… and they did not die for nothing.

  • Honeybadger

    You are so right, James!

    Even the phrase Big Bang Theory was devised by a Catholic!

  • Honeybadger

    And Jesus Christ Our Lord keeps his promises!

  • Honeybadger

    Ah, Lucifer’s silverware is in the cutlery drawer.

    The might of Christ is more powerful than your friends in the furnace!

  • Honeybadger

    Clutching at straws here…

  • Anonymous

    I’ve read a number of your comments, and I understand that you see church doctrine as something continually in development. Well, that’s true to the extent that the church from time to time refines its teaching. It’s not true that it will depart from the philosophy of
    nature that underpins its teaching.

    You say that “a number of men took part in Catholic marriage ceremonies in Rome, with the argument that sexual intercourse and domestic partnership are what constitutes as marriage.” Well, whatever they thought they were doing, they were at best “imitating” the certain elements of true marriage.

    There is also an argument that “sexual intercourse” means nothing without reference to its procreative end – that is in a complementary, heterosexual marriage.

    The Catholic Church teaches (with sound philosophy) that sex is the ultimate expression of love between a man and a woman, but can only be understood in the light of the possibility of bringing about a new life. Thus the beauty of the self-giving of marital life, between the spouses, and the labour of love that is raising children. We would do well to reflect on the fact that the sexual union has a biological purpose. “Homosexual acts” are in this respect meaningless, and not an appropriate basis for the household, let alone a sexual partnership.

    Men can love one another, as can women; they can live together; they can have close and fulfilling friendships. But  But the sexual aspect of human nature is in its only meaningful sense between a man and a woman.

  • Dave Corrigan

    Your intemperate response is thoroughly uncouth and devoid of reason and not a credit to the catholic church. It is because of values like his that the spiritual standing of the catholic church is diminished. This vulgar prose denotes that you is an ignoramus. Such vulgarity and crude sentiments are unworthy of a dignified response.

  • David Devinish

    So what are miraculous medals, scapulars, cross’s and crucifixes, relics and holy water. Lourdes water etc.?  They are superstitious lucky charms and accoutrements to protect against the works of the devil.

  • Anonymous

    Well, i think Honeybadger’s point is…

    …that it’s facile to say that the teaching of the church is invalid because it is made “by celibate people who have no experience at all of sexual intercourse, marriage, or raising children.”

    Not only is the conclusion untrue, but the premises are completely false.

    Catholic teaching is the work of theologians and thinkers from all walks of life – not of sheltered ignoramuses. It has been developed by saints who were once great sinners; drawn from philosophers who had no knowledge of Christianity. Yet, far from being “messed up,” it is a coherent body of life-giving doctrine.

  • Dave Corrigan

    Oh, but it will!! The law will be passed in two stages. First it will become law that all human beings will be eligible to marry one another irrespective of gender. For biological reasons the law concerning consanguinity will still apply. The second stage will be that marriage will be conducted by persons who have a licience to conduct a marriage ceremonies, and they will not be allowed to refuse a couples wish to be married on the grounds of being the same gender. The Catholic church can complain as much as it wishes, but this law will come into being.

  • Anonymous

    If it wasn’t deemed an important enough issue to worry about, perhaps that’s because marriage wasn’t under threat by the society in question. The Catholic Church has historically articulated its teaching at the prompting of some crisis.

    Another point. The natural law doesn’t depend on some myth that monogomous heterosexuality is the historical norm (though heterosexuality certainly is). Rather the natural law is based in certain philosophical notions. You may reject them, but they are worth considering. One of these is that there is a nature of things; another is that nature acts for an end. Consider the procreative aspect of the sexual act. Consider the implications of this in the healthy raising of offspring.

    Do you think Catholic teaching should be judged by historical trends? isn’t it better to determine whether the philosophical principles it harmonises with are sound?

  • David Devinish

    Canon Law is like Sharia Law and has no status whatsoever within the legal structure of English Law. Canon law has no power other than directing internal Catholic church affairs. The government has absolute power to formulate and enforce the law. Canon Law counts for nothing whatsoever and is a complete mystery, especially for Catholics.

  • Honeybadger

    Thank you, piecomilk!