Christian and LGBT Groups Criticise Bishops' 'Meaning of Marriage' Leaflet

meaning of marriage

Christian and LGBT groups have criticised Bishops’ decision to distribute a 16-page document to over 1,600 parishes countrywide, opposing same-sex marriage.


The new document, released to parishes in the run-up to next year’s referendum states that a Yes vote could effectively “deprive children of the right to a mother and father” and be a “grave injustice” to children.

Click above to read ‘The Meaning of Marriage’

The document, entitled The Meaning of Marriage, says: “Marriage means the union of a man and woman. A husband is a man who has a wife; a wife is a woman who has a husband. A same-sex couple cannot be husband and wife. A same-sex couple cannot procreate a child through the sexual act which expresses married love.”

Bishop Liam MacDaid of Clogher, chair of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference council for marriage said at the launch of the document: “The view of marriage as being between man and a woman and for life, that’s not something which is particular to Catholics and Christians. There are people of all kinds of other religious beliefs, and of none, who believe in that.”

Dr. Richard O’Leary of LGBT Christian group Changing Attitudes Ireland has criticised the document. “Many Christians in Ireland support the extension of civil marriage to same-sex couples and disagree with the Catholic Bishops’ view,” he said. “The Catholic Bishops’ view of marriage as being essentially about reproduction rather than being primarily a loving stable relationship was contrary to how many Christians understood their own marriages.The Catholic Bishops’ definition of marriage in 2014 was as flawed as their view 30 years ago when they also opposed the legal availability of contraception in Ireland.”

Dr O’Leary added: “While as a fellow Christian I respect Catholic Bishops’ right to govern access to religious marriage, they should not seek to discriminate against other Irish citizens’ access to civil marriage.”

Kieran Rose, chair of GLEN, also commented on the document. “Marriage is good for society, good for families and good for loving and committed couples, including lesbian and gay couples, and the Irish Constitution should allow all loving, committed couples who wish to enter a civil marriage the opportunity to do so.

“Allowing lesbian and gay couples to get married will not harm or change any existing marriage, or any future marriage of a man and woman. The desire of loving and committed lesbian and gay couples to marry strengthens marriage and the place and status of marriage in Irish society.”

“Lesbian and gay couples seek the right to civil marriage, not church marriage. Sacramental marriage remains the preserve of religious bodies. No one can or should be able to force a church to marry any couple against their teaching, as for example the Catholic Church cannot be forced to marry couples where one is divorced.

“Irish people, the majority of whom are Catholic, are very welcoming of lesbian and gay people, their loving relationships and families. We see this in the very warm support by families and communities for civil partnerships and in the very widespread support for access to civil marriage and constitutional equality for lesbian and gay people.”

Ireland’s referendum on same-sex marriage is due to take place in spring 2015.

© 2014 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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