The purpose of the proposed marriage referendum is to redefine marriage so that it would no longer mean the unique ‘mother-father-child’ relationship (marriage was actually the word used to describe this relationship with its particular and unique characteristics) and instead would mean only a committed sexual relationship between two adults.
If referendum passes, there will only be one way of looking at ‘marriage’ and that is a way that radically redefines the very essence of marriage as it has been understood from the earliest times: it will no longer be the word we use to refer to that ‘mother father with a unique connection to having and bringing up children’ relationship that has universally been recognised as immensely valuable, even essential to society. In fact that relationship would no longer exist anywhere in Irish law – it doesn’t exist in the law of any country that has redefined marriage in this way. This is what the referendum is about – this is the change we’re being asked to decide on.
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One of the things I find most attractive about the Catholic faith is its ‘reasonableness’ – it makes sense. When the blueprint it offers is genuinely followed, it does indeed bring us to be the best we can be – as individuals and as a society. So I get really frustrated when Catholic principles are presented in the media as a set of almost arbitrary rules and regulation that don’t make any sense unless you’ve been brain-washed and certainly don’t connect with the real world. (Hence this blog – it’s a kind of therapy really!)
I’m the first to accuse media of bias and of not giving Catholic speakers a fair run – so credit where credit is due: Pat Kenny has just hosted a very cordial interview with Professor Robert George of Princeton University. Professor George outlined a rational and well thought out rationale for why he is not in favour of embryonic stem cell research; he also argues that the same-sex marriage debate should properly be seen as a debate on sexual morality and not on basic rights. Again he argues his case in a way that makes sense and recognises real world problems.
If we really believe that there is only one Truth – then what we believe should ‘work’ in the real world. There should be no mismatch between what we believe and our real experience as people living here and now in this society. (Challenge, yes – but not a disconnect)
If there appears to a mismatch then maybe we need to see if we really understand our faith – or the argument against it. If you can’t get to the Davenport Hotel in Dublin this evening to hear Professor George, have a listen to his interview with Pat.
(If you’re reading this before 12 noon on Fri 5th March, today’s programme won’t be up yet. If you’re reading more than a week from 5th Mar, the programme is likely to be gone – so don’t delay 😀 )
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Posted in Finance, Marriage on January 27, 2010|
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The “Joe Duffy Show” on RTE Radio 1 is discussing charges requested by a Dublin parish for the use of the Church building for weddings. Up to last year the cost was €700 for non-parishioners and about half that for parishioners. This didn’t include donations to the priest or sacristan. (In view of the changed economic circumstances the Parish Finance committee has now reduced this to €400 and, I think, €250 for parishioners and non-parishioners respectively.)
The Parish Priest has been ‘talking to Joe’ and trying to explain and even defend those charges, and some callers have rightly said that, after all, the focus for a Catholic Marriage is what happens in the Church – the administration of the Sacrament.
I don’t think a charge of €700 just for the use of the Church can be justified. Of course a donation is to be expected and of course the focus should be on the Church part – but the amount of the fee should be set in accordance with justice and fairness, and not according to the economic environment. A huge fee is hardly a good way to encourage respect for the Sacrament!
Now that it’s dead and buried we can all see that the Celtic Tiger era was characterised by a certain madness when it came to costs, and no Parish Priest should be using that as a good reason for this excessive charge. Maybe Fr David should have apologised for the previous charge rather than trying to defend it – in a way that dosn’t cause civil war with his Finance Committee – we’re all human after all!
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