I have always enjoyed Michael Kelly’s articles but I was appalled by his column on 21 November.
It is unbelievable that the possibility that 75 per cent of Catholics may approve of same-sex marriage is given so little credence and it only confirms the widely held view that the Roman Catholic Church is a not very benevolent dictatorship.
With a hierarchy like this it is no surprise that the Catholic Church is unable to get enough candidates to train for the priesthood and that good folk are deserting a Church which seems to be living in the Middle Ages.
Due to family connections I used to attend Catholic services but I now sadly despair of a Church which seems incapable of change, despite Dr Kelly’s remarks about the faint possibility of married priests or a female priesthood.
There is no other organisation that would appoint a very elderly person to be in charge.
I think the Vatican likes an elderly gent as a Pope as he is unlikely to live long enough or have the energy to make major changes.
Hugh M Mackenzie
Martin Conroy (Letters, 22 November) is correct in thinking that marriage has been weakened by our culture of convenience and is now little more than emotional intensity or legal privileges.
Marriage has effectively been taken over by the state and has become a secular institution which may or may not, in individual cases, have a religious input.
Consequently, it is quite logical that a majority of MSPs should further secularise the institution by approving the first stage of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill.
Perhaps those who care for the real meaning and reason for marriage will need to come up with a replacement, or other alternatives if we are to recognise the various different relationships which can occur.
Martin Conroy writes: “Marriage is about the needs of children rather than merely the desires of adults.” Many straight people get married with no intent or ability to have children. Would he exclude them too?
Some of the children I teach have talked to me about this and, unlike Mr Conroy, they do believe exactly that “marriage is about nothing more than the love and commitment between two people, irrespective of gender”.
Mr Conroy’s feeling that equality “mocks and undermines” marriage leaves him on the wrong side of history and that is “truly saddening”.
Scotland has joined the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Iceland, Canada, New Zealand and many of the Catholic nations of Europe and South America in legalising gay marriage.
Perhaps the most poignant moment in these great parliamentary occasions took place in New Zealand this spring.
After a much closer vote than Scotland’s overwhelming 98 to 15 the public gallery sang the haunting Maori love song often heard at national ceremonies: Pokarekare Ane.
The bill was presented by the legendary Maori sportswoman Louisa Wall, who likened its passing to the founding Treaty of Waitangi: “In our society, the meaning of marriage is universal – it’s a declaration of love and commitment to a special person.”
Our MSPs may not have the Kiwi style or sense of history but they have lined us up with an indisputably attractive group of liberal and civilised nations.
(Dr) John Cameron