Church’s place in marriage debate
I SEE John Lind makes the tired assumption the Church is trying to impose its view on society commenting that “organised religion is able to dictate our laws to the government based on their personal opinion” and society should not be “forced to conform to their views” (Letters, 12 August). In a modern democracy the Catholic Church claims its right to speak out for the same reason that any other civil-society association or organisation does – a natural right to proclaim and promote its values, and to persuade others, to start a debate about the health of society and its priorities.
Mr Lind should also be aware the Church does not believe “that marriage is purely for the reproduction of human beings”, indeed, although marriage is indissolubly linked to children, it is not simply a means for procreation. Couples who cannot for some reason reproduce can still be married: both Church and state accept that a marriage exists as long as it can be consummated – that is, as long as the behavioural conditions for procreation can be fulfilled. Marriage is a social institution, rooted in nature, which belongs to civil society. It should be recognised, regulated and nurtured by state and Church, neither of which has a mandate to redefine it.
Finally, Mr Lind asks about the consequences of redefining marriage. Already in the UK there is talk of removing the words “husband” and “wife” from official documentation; Spain has replaced “mother” and “father” on birth certificates with “progenitor A” and “progenitor B”; and in Canada hundreds of cases have been brought against individuals, mostly Christians, who have opposed same-sex marriage in the public sphere.
What is happening elsewhere is sure to follow here now that the Government has turned its back on the truth of nature, reason and religion and is ploughing ahead with its plan to redefine marriage.
Martin Conroy, Oldhamstocks, East Lothian
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