Broc’s Blog

 

Donnybrook Parish

Church of the Sacred Heart Web Site

Donnybrook Parish

This coming year a constitutional referendum on Marriage is planned with the stated aim of extending the possibility of marriage to same sex couples. The reason given is to accord to same sex couples the same rights in law as heterosexual couples.  Arrangements for marriage have had a very varied history in law over the centuries and in different cultures, polygamy, concubinage, bethrothal, arranged marriages, child marriages and so on.  It took many centuries before the current understanding of marriage, emerged, a stable relationship for life established between one man and one woman of mature age, by the free decision and mutual consent of both parties. Christian revelation has been very influential in this development. It is now to be proposed to change one part of that understanding, that marriage is between a man and woman.

Marriage has always been considered in a context, and that context is the family. Family is the bedrock of society. The family is the school of life.  It is in our families that we learn two things essential to our personal wellbeing and equally essential to the good of society.  In our families we learn, well or badly, that we are loved for who we are and to respect and take account of others. These are the foundations for both human life and for a humane society.

Children of course, have been central to both marriage and family.  The basic family is that of mother, father and children. Having and bringing up children are a very significant dimension of marriage traditionally understood.  Family is the primary source of wellbeing for the child. The child, too, has rights, the right to know and have a relationship with its father and mother.  Though, even motherhood is now in question, given the recent High Court case on who in law is mother, the birth mother, or genetic mother? Our laws had never anticipated questions like that. Growing up in a stable relationship of father or mother is in the best interests of the child. 

The state does not have any great interest in relationships between free consenting adults. The State does, or should have a very serious interest in family, since family is the bedrock of society.  The State does or should have a very serious interest in the wellbeing of children and a responsibility to vindicate their rights. 

One would hope that the debate about whether or not to extend marriage to same sex couples is not focused exclusively on individual personal rights. If the decision made is to be wise and to serve the common good, the implications of this proposal for the family and above all, for the rights and wellbeing of children now and into the future, must be at the heart of the debate.  

 

See also 

 

For additional information see http://www.catholicbishops.ie/2015/01/21/meaning-marriage-2/