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The gay marriage debate has made us evaluate what marriage is for

Perhaps an unintended consequence of this saga is that it has made us appreciate marriage more

By on Wednesday, 11 July 2012

A short video has just been produced by a new Australian lobby group calling itself “What is Marriage?” Posing the obvious question, “What doesn’t and never has needed legislation is love. Understandably so. Why should the Government regulate our love lives?” the video presents, in a simple and attractive cartoon form, what marriage is about. Starting with the age-old reality of “Boy meets girl… They fall in love… They decide they want to get married. Why?” the video states, “because they might one day want to make little boys and girls of their own. This is called the act of marriage.”

The video informs the viewer that this is currently legislated for in the Marriage Act of Australia, defined as between a man and a woman. It emphasises that “The Government legislates marriage because the central purpose of marriage is to produce offspring and biologically one boy and one girl is the recipe for more boys and girls.” The video also points out that the Marriage Act as it stands does not take away any rights or laws of any other couples in Australia; there is no discrimination. It adds the factual details that 73% of Australians believe children should be raised by their biological mother and father and that at present 72% of Australian children are being raised in this way, in 2.1 million families. It concludes: “Let’s celebrate marriage.”

Alongside this, the family-orientated Iona Institute, based in Dublin, has produced a useful briefing paper on marriage, asking the key question: “Should we have an institution which encourages fathers and mothers to raise their children together?”

Such initiatives are timely and necessary. One might add that it is a great pity that they are being mustered so late in the day. I was reminded of this by a relevant letter from publisher Robin Baird-Smith in The Tablet recently. Baird-Smith writes, “…Two years ago my daughter was married in a Catholic church, both she and her husband being baptised Catholics…As prescribed, they attended a marriage-preparation course. They came back from this deeply disappointed and quite angry. Not only did it cost them £70 to be there, but although a lay man and a lay woman were supposed to conduct the course, only the man turned up. My daughter described him as hopeless. The physical aspects of marriage were not discussed at all. What a wasted opportunity. Instead of having hysterics about gay marriage, wouldn’t it be better if our Christian leaders devoted more time, energy and money to proper, well-informed marriage-preparation courses? Then we all might stop feeling that the institution of marriage was quite so threatened.”

One can only agree with him. Why have the bishops in this country been so slow to implement good marriage-preparation courses as a matter of priority? I know a Canadian priest who has spent his entire priestly life working on marriage preparation courses, first in Vancouver and then in Nova Scotia. The material his small office has produced is first-rate: couples have to attend several sessions, some with a priest and others with older and experienced married couples, in which to discuss the question of money, budgeting and household management, raising children in the faith, sex (and why contraception would damage their relationship) and other pertinent questions. He told me that on a few occasions a couple had decided to withdraw from the classes, realising they were not right for each other.

To celebrate marriage is good; but it must also include proper preparation for couples so they enter this unique relationship with a clear idea of the sacrifices and responsibilities, as well as the joys, that such a permanent and public commitment entails.

  • Burt

    it’s certainly not about weirdos addicted to sodomy or any other gross pervertions.

  • Gaz

    Your Troll-Fu is weak. MUST TRY HARDER.

  • theroadmaster

    A proper understanding  and appreciation of the timeless religious and social institution called marriage, would help to cement it’s inestimable value in the collective mindsets of western societies.  We need to go back to the basics in order that prospective marriage partners and society in general, relearn the human and social advantages, which marriage brings in the natural order. This could help neutralize preoccupations about the threats posed by attempted legal redefinitions of this great covenant which has always been recognized as the union between one man and one woman, which is open to procreation.  But there is a long, winding and tough road ahead for those who are arguing in favor of the correct understanding of marriage, as great damage has been done by such realities as the contraceptive mentality, easy availability of divorce and other objectionable ideological forces which are undermining the very foundations of matrimony.  But the struggle will be worth it in the end as nothing less than the social stability and common good of society is at stake.

  • JessicaHof

    Thank you for this Francis. Before it is inundated with people telling us that people who love each other should be allowed to marry (unless they are brother and brother or sister and sister, perhaps?) – I’d like to endorse what you say about the poor preparation for marriage. My husband and I went on an Anglican preparation course, which was more or less a complete waste of time – spent a lot of time telling us about birth control and the importance of physical relations, and nothing about the spiritual significance of the ceremony we were going to be going through.

    It is a shame there can’t just be a word for a secular partnership and another for a religious one – it would remove a lot of the heat from this.

  • Paul

    I presume your comment is said with Christian charity and with the words of the Catechism ringing in your ears … homosexuals “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.  Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” (CCC 2358).

  • Burt

     I personally do have compassion and sympathy for others who are in a state of mortal sin, don’t assume otherwise. It is very sad that some people have become addicted to depraved and disgusting passions and appetites. I srtongly disapprove that some homosexuals exceed their right to sin, thinking they have the right to allow their depravities to encroach on and redefine the beautiful sacrament of marriage.

  • Burt

     
    While you searched for quotes from the CCC, I assume you read the passage which specifically backs up my first statement about weirdo sex . You might prefer the word disordered to weird maybe:

    CCC 2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved

  • karlf

     Why does God make people homosexual Burt?

  • rjt1

    Does God ‘make people homosexual’ or is it one of those disorders which arises in a world damaged by sin? I think the latter.

  • karlf

    what leads you to that conclusion?

  • Burt

     who said God makes them homosexual? does God make men paedophiles too?

  • karlf

    I suppose he must – it’s not like they would choose to be one is it?

  • Burt

     That’s because you have little or no Catholic understanding of the existential ‘problem’ of evil. If you really can imagine God would deliberately make some men with sexual disorders so warped that they seek sexual pleasure by abusing minors. Do you believe the same thing applies to other pervertions? sado-masochism? bestiality? ever heard of Satan? ever heard of disease? Ever hear of the fall? ever hear of Original sin?
    The Catholic religion is one where we believe that there is such a thing as the phenomena of evil. We all need Grace to resist our own evil inclinations, all of us. So please understand I am not arguing from any false notion that I am better than anyone else, whatever predelictions they have to resist.

  • karlf

    I know – the Catholic religion concocts all sorts of wonderful stories to excuse God of bad things and to credit him for the good things.
    I didn’t think you still believed in Satan though. The Devil?

  • Burt

     Yes the Devil, Hell, Angels and Heaven. That’s all very much essentially part of our Catholic Truth and Faith. Are you non Catholic karlf?

  • karlf

    I’m Cof E, and I don’t believe in the Devil, but I’m interested to understand why someone would.

  • Burt

    All I can say in such an opportunity as this message board presents is why someone like me believes in such things, is because it makes sense. It does to me at least. It explains Auswitz and what happens on a daily basis when you look at the news. Of course I can’t prove it to you though. But to me it’s like everything about Catholicism, it makes perfect sense, like joining the dots.

  • Burt

     anyway karlf, I know CofE is a broad church, but I thought they believed still that God is essentially Love, and Goodness himself.

  • rjt1

    Firstly, I don’t think it is necessary to conclude from the fact that there are people with homosexual feelings that God must have created them that way.

    Secondly, God is good and is not responsible for evil, although he obviously permits it.

    Thirdly, it seems to me that the Bible reveals the fact that disorder came into the world by human sin. This does not commit me to taking the Book of Genesis as a video-recorded event or transcript of earliest times but I am committed to the idea that it reveals important truths through what we may regard as a story.

    Fourthly, it makes sense, when looking at the world, that human sin damages the world.

  • karlf

    A lot of CofEers are like me in that they enjoy the community,services, history, churches, tradition,etc but they have more rational, reasoned outlook

  • karlf

    So do you believe in Adam and Eve or not?

  • rjt1

    Why do you ask?

  • karlf

     As I said to Burt earlier, the Catholic religion concocts all sorts of wonderful hypotheses to
    excuse God of bad things and to credit him for the good things.
    Adam and Eve seem to have been relegated to analogy though.

  • rjt1

    I  think I would delete my comments on Genesis as distracting from what I wanted to say, and stick with my first sentence in that paragraph. I don’t particularly want to get into biblical exegesis.

    Do you think God is responsible for evil?

  • Burt

     karlf you believe in God right? If you do and you can accept he created the universe and human beings….what’s so difficult the Creator did not make other intelligent entities such as angels?

  • Burt

     whats so difficult to accept I meant to say

  • karlf

    I don’t believe in evil as such. I believe that some people are born with ‘twisted’ minds, and this could just be a case of a malformed brain. Nature contains much that causes terrible suffering and is horrific.God must be responsible for all of this surely?

  • rjt1

    I will post a new comment to avoid disappearing

  • karlf

    I believe humans evolved from a long line of development originating from an initial spark of life.

  • rjt1

    reply to karlf below:

    When you say that you don’t believe in evil, do you mean that people are not responsible for their acts? Don’t you think that you have (like myself) sometimes done things that you think are wrong.

    As for the wider question: I think it is possible to hold that there is a God, that he is good and that there is evil (whether this is metaphysical evil – e.g. pain and suffering due to natural events such as earthquakes – or moral evil – bad choices voluntarily made). I think it follows from what it is to be God that he is good, i.e. he is necessarily good. I don’t think we know why God permits evil but I find Aquinas’ statement that God would not allow evil unless some much greater good were to come out of it to be fairly satisfying. From what was perhaps the greatest moral evil – the crucifixion of his divine son – came our salvation.

  • Burt

    I see..a spark caused by an impersonal intelligence maybeyou mean. You are perhaps a ‘Deist’.
    Well as a Catholic I believein a personal Creator, who bestowed Mankind with free will.

  • JabbaPapa

    Very clearly, you haven’t the slightest clue about anything.

  • JabbaPapa

    If you believe that the Myth of Eden was concocted by the Catholic Church, then your ignorance on these questions is rather stupefying !!!

  • Acleron


    It explains Auswitz’
    How?

  • karlf

     Embellishments were. Ho ho!

  • karlf

    What a silly comment

  • karlf

     I believe that people naturally have a conscience and compassion
    and are responsible for their acts. But premeditated acts which we would think
    of as evil can only be carried out by a disturbed or defective mind.

    “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is
    he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing?
    Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”

    Epicurus (c. 341-270 BCE)

  • rjt1

    I am aware of the Epicurean argument. Clearly, God does permit evil but it is not clear that this makes him malevolent: it means that we do not understand his ways.
     
    Furthermore, if God is necessarily good, then the existence of evil does not prove otherwise.

  • karlf

    indeed! God constantly permits a great deal of evil to plague millions of innocents. I too cannot understand this either

  • Jonathan West

    I’ve a question. if a Catholic priest were to have a civil partnership with another man, live with him and state that the relationship is celibate, would he have broken Canon law?

  • Dee

    Agree 100% marraige is sacred and for one man and one woman ..end of!

  • Dee

    God does not make them gay, they choose to be gay. It’s proven not to be genetic or any of that guff. It’s a lifestyle choice and largely down to upbringing. I guarentee that in 99.9% of gays they have been raised wrongly in an indiscreet way. I could give many examples but what would be the points. Gay support is rife, why only god knows ….gays are 80% more promiscus that’s a fact, as it’s desire over reality they desire what they were never allowed to have, so being gay releases that desire to have whom ever I want. It’s like an illness, bit like beings who want to jump on animals it’s the desire to be sexual with whatever the wish to and society is too conforming take the nazis rampage why did so many men commit such an atrocious act ? Because they conformed within a group they were taught it’s ok to commit that act of murder, does that mean god made them??? Yes he made them as beings but he always let’s us be and life with the sin of free will he could rip this defiled evil filled planet apart and take the good to where they belong in heaven any day and it will happen its only a matter of time. So back to the gays, they too thru the megaphone of media, tv, radio, celebrities who endorse and are gay themselves scream thru the megaphone to the minds tricked in conforming that this is ok and is normal to commit sodomy when I’m just sorry but the truth is in the bible no matter what faith it’s sodomy it’s a mortal sin. Gays were 75% responsible for the rapid spread of aids that too is a fact…..they are usually filled with spite and self pity because deep down they knw what they do is not humanely normal so because us who don’t like it they scream out homophobe homophobe …we have no rights …I mean what next after they destroy marraige as I do believe our scummy government will commit the evil act of redefinition, will the men in these sudo fake marriages want to carry babies coz as soon as gays get what they want they being filled with bitterness a pity move on to something else that they know they can’t have because of their freedom to be gay, what can’t the male do?? Carry a baby..oh but I can see it now ten yrs down the line…we are discrimated against by these females, why should they carry the babies in their stomachs!!! We will have it hubby and hubby will agree with his hubby, you go and fight for your rights darling you get a baby put in your tummy Frankenstein style!! You all may laugh buts who would have dreamed that our sacred right to marraige between man and woman to bare children would be destroyed say twenty years ago?? It would have been hysterically laughed at, the sheer audacity to try take what just can’t be due to ones lifestyle choice is disgusting but hey as Catholics we are dum dum dum…..homophics!!! Well we have rights too, we believe in tradition, this redefinition will destroy marraige altogether. History always repeats itself sodom fell, Gomorrah fell and Rome finally fell all had one major common they endorsed and committed sodomy and endorsed mock same sex marriages

  • Dee

    Ahhh, the non believer who believes in a proven and disbelieved theory by the author itself. The origin of species, funny I do believe thee origin of our species has just never been traced why do think that is karl??? Because the origin of our species is something that’s right beneath our two bare feet when outdoors. From dust you were made and to dust your body shal return to. The body however has a soul which is the very essence of our being, it’s what makes us unique from animals we show or can show compassion love and many other feelings but knowledge is the sin free will is the sin which was like a terminal illness for the soul and body, how can a being who has the knowledge and free will enter heaven which is just pure love itself?? It can’t not until our lord returns his first coming saved our souls upon repentance from all evil and free wil to commit evil so when we die we simply rest in peace and when the lord comes the damage caused by lucifer the deceiver and liar will all be restored and heaven will hold its children of god forever and this forsaken planet of willing evil doers will be gone forever too….your ok tho you have time to repent and let Jesus in your heart question is will you ever??

  • Acleron


    Well we have rights too’

    Yes you do, but one power that has been taken away from you is the power to make others conform to your requirements. And rightly so considering the inability you show in tolerance to others.

  • karlf

    How ridiculous! Why would anyone choose to be gay, even if they could??? Our sexual feelings are so strong and distinct.

    I think the reason that gay men are more promiscuous is because they are ALL men

  • Jay

    Can we just go back to the way marriage is supposed to be.. 1 man, 12 women all fighting to not be eliminated week after week for the right to have his hand in a beautiful god sanctioned union.

    Seriously, Gay people fighting for marriage, fighting to commit to a union that existed well before the christian church enveloped it has nothing on what heterosexuals have done to the ‘institution’ and will only ever serve to strengthen it and the community.

    It’s not the end of the world to allow someone something you’ve always been given for free.. trust me, I promise not to worry about your marriage without your permission if you stop worrying about mine.

  • Jeremy

    Burt, you got a whole lot of stuff going on in your head about gays and their sex… are you ok? need someone to talk to? been thinking about it a LOT haven’t you mate.. it’s ok, God loves you as well as the rest of the Gays.
    big hugs.

  • Jeremy

    Hey Dee, it’d be awesome if you can provide ‘proof’.

    I’m sure most of the Australian and American Scientific, psychological and social services would be amazed to see that you’ve done an incredible amount of research and determined that it’s not genetic! Well done!And 80% more promiscuous! That’s Fantastic!! did you know that 100 percent of people who call themselves Dee on websites rub their faces in animal poop!! …I know, I know,  it’s totally made up like your “facts” but it’s such fun to simply pull made up things into an argument!Young straight females under the age of 24 are currently the highest risk group of HIV (no one spreads AIDS, it’s the end result of a disease) – thats the real fact. Not your 75% hate story about gays.Oh… the hetereosexuals beat the gays to destroying marriage by the way, more than 50% separate, 1 in 3 children are born out wedlock, 69.2% of marriages aren’t done by ministers in a church anymore. You can blame ‘the gays’ but again.. you’re completely wrong. (real stats from the Australian Burea of statistics Dee, you can check yourself instead of making your own up)Australia’s 4.8 million non-religious people in the 2011 Census is more than 1 MILLION more than way was recorded 5 years ago at the last national headcount.. people like you Dee, people just like you are pushing others away from the church with your made up stories and ‘facts’ against gay people. You need to Stop.. you’re hurting your own cause with your bigotry and hatred, you’re damaging the church with your made up ‘facts’ that are really just lies to make you sleep better.Unless you can PROVE against a wealth of scientific and social evidence any of your ‘facts’ are true.. you are simply making sure that everyone who reads your comments sees you for what you are.. an agent of the enemy pretending to be doing gods work.

  • karlf

    Of course the origin of our species has been traced! haven’t you heard of genetics? Or do you think we just appeared in the likeness of God (a God who resembles an evolved ape?)?
    What do you mean by ‘Lucifer’ exactly?
    I would be extremely interested in meeting Jesus, but it hasn’t happened yet.

  • JabbaPapa

    Yes.

    Catholic priests who try and do this end up being defrocked and excommunicated.