Can Marriage Ever Change?
But wait! This is an edition of The Tablet, so let's really explore the issues in a manner that leaves our readership scratching their heads. Let's leave a little room for doubt. Let's pander to the liberal persuasion of this esteemed publication and its readership! Let's sow the seed of confusion! Take it away, Tina! Take it away, Martin!
'In these times of radical change in our understanding of sexuality and human dignity (especially the full and equal dignity of women in this life and not just in the life to come), maybe we heterosexuals need the marriages of our homosexual friends to help us to understand what marriage looks like when it’s not corrupted by traditions of domination and subordination.' Tina Beattie, The Tablet, 10 March, 2012
'...the Second Vatican Council stated that the ends of marriage are twofold, not solely based upon procreation. In medieval times the focus was so strongly on betrothal rites that marriage, in some places, was a rarity, since so few people could fulfil the social and economic requirements for a marriage to take place before the altar. And what of all those “sworn brotherhood” rites, adapted also to include same-sex female partners, identified by researchers such as Alan Bray and John Boswell? In spite of all this, I am not a supporter of same-sex marriage for myself. I hold, conscientiously, that the institution of marriage, in spite of all its cultural and social variability, is essentially patriarchal and not a status I wish to adopt.' Martin Prendergast, The Tablet, 10 March, 2012
In other words, let's not bother to engage with the reasoned arguments against same-sex marriage. Let's praise civil partnerships, admire the positive aspects of gay relationshps, distort the meaning of the word 'love' in suggesting that particular Old Testament figures were probably homosexuals and praise all things 'Equality'. What a marvellous opportunity to expound upon the fundamental principles and reasoned arguments in support of natural marriage which have guided both the Church and humanity in previous ages unto the present day. Let's ignore that opportunity and disappear up our own behinds, while taking our readership with us! Let's suggest that gay marriage may not be for me, but it might just be for my gay friends!
In the Cathedral of the Precious Blood, then, there will, presumably at the back of the Cathedral be copies of the Archbishops' Pastoral Letter on the Government's Proposals on Same-Sex Marriage. Perhaps yards or feet away, will be copies of The Tablet for sale with an in-depth discussion on the subject which ignores the Church's cogent response to the Governmpent proposals and leave room for a measure of doubt as to whether marriage can ever change and the words, 'Perhaps in these times of radical change, perhaps we need the marriages of our homosexual friends to help us understand what marriage looks like...'
Ah, Tina. We can always rely on you to defend the Faith, can't we love? Tina. We know what marriage looks like. It looks like one man and one woman united in matrimony, in the hope of raising and educating children. In natural law, this is what marriage looks like. Any other kind of marriage is, as Fr Timothy Radcliffe so rightly says, 'impossible'. I believe I may have said it before, but in praising same-sex partnerships and looking to them as a model for heterosexual marriage, you distort and defame the glory of Christian marriage. I say this because gay men who support gay marriage have no idea whatsoever of the measure of sacrifice, forgiveness, love and heroism involved in marriage and raising a family.
When I meet married couples with children I am in awe of them because of the self-sacrifice that it takes to put the needs of your beloved and the needs of your children above your own needs and how even though that can bring a measure of suffering and dare I say it, sleeplessness, that love is what binds families, society and whole communities together. The power of the love and duty that it takes to make true marriage work and to raise children means that gay relationships, even if they are built on friendship and love, even if they are chaste and holy, can in no way compare to the sheer heroism, love and endurance required of men and women in true marriage. I am afraid you simply cannot compare the two, Tina, and in doing so, while making yourself popular with your liberal friends and homosexual friends, you do the institution of marriage, in your writing at least, a great disservice. For a long time, the militant homosexual lobby has railed against those of a homosexual orientation who end up marrying women, describing them as sham marriages. I am becoming more and more aware that while every marriage must present people with great difficulties, there is only one 'sham marriage' - and that is a 'gay marriage'.
At this time, when Marriage is under renewed and sustained attack, the Church needs heroes, people who will stand up to defend that which is timeless and sacred, inviolable and in language that does not leave people confused. Don't you agree, Tina, love? In defense of marriage and defence of the Church...Bishops, Priests and Laity...Take it away Bonnie!