Thursday, 3 November 2011

Email Exchange with a Catholic Church Representative

Following the reading of an article on Pink News about the Catholic Chruch's opposition to marriage equality in Scotland, I decided a week ago to write an email to John Deighan, the Catholic Church's parliamentary officer. Contrary to my expectations I received a response though not really a reply within a day or two. I replied back with further points but I haven't heard anything more from Mr Deighan. Response and reply are copied below.

Dear [Zefrog],

Thank you for getting in touch. It is of course difficult to convey the details of our views in the media and I fully understand that it can be confusing to have arguments reduced to soundbites. It would be nice if we were given the opportunity for a full explanation of our views.

Fundamentally marriage arises from human nature and is a consequence of the natural complementarity of male and female. This is the environment in which children come in to the world and provides the ideal environment (ordinarily) for the socialisation of children. By altering the understanding of the family unit we alter the support for the best model of socialisation which will have a ripple effect through society.

It is not an instantaneous linkage that allows you to see an immediate effect as you suggest we should see from the other parts of the world which have adopted same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage just happens to be the next stage in the deterioration of support for the family built on marriage. The decline in that support has been accompanied by damage which is posing and will continue to pose problems. The collapse in birth rate across Europe, for example, is part of the reason our public services are unsustainable since the proportion of tax payers collapses with birth rate. We also see many problems arising from lack of family stability - drug and
alcohol abuse, crime etc.

I can only briefly give an overview in an email but if you are interested in finding out more you can check the website
www.catholicvotersguide.org/marriage-and-family and from there link to the appropriate information.

I should end by stating that the Church's views are not motivated by any animus or disrespect of any person. Rather it is about proposing the things which lead to fulfilment of the human person and human society.

Best wishes,

John Deighan



Dear John,

Thank you for your reply. Having read it, I am still none the wiser as to how practically you think marriage equality would be harmful. It doesn't take anything away from marriage as it is but if anything would add to its richness. People will be able to marry as they always have and for the same reasons. It just happens that more people will be able to enter into it thus becoming even more involved in society as a result. If anything it fosters a stronger feeling of social belonging from a part of society which has felt rather excluded until now.

You say that marriage arises from human nature. I agree with that. It comes for the desire of two people who love each other to make their relationship even more special and ask for the recognition and support of the wider community (although other elements of human nature, such as greed, have long been part of the reasons why people want to tie the knot).

Therefore I don't see why loving gay couple should have to renounce their human nature to bow to a restricted view of marriage, which is not even part of their moral landscape (since many are not Christian).

Indeed the Bible itself (Old Testament), since I assume (I hope not wrongly) that this is the basis of your objections, portrays and promotes various forms of marriage that even Christians do not recognise as valid any longer.

I would also point out that not all heterosexual marriages exist with a procreative aim. Should these therefore be forbidden?

Again you make statements about what marriage equality would do to marriage as a whole without explaining how this would happen practically. And I don't see why a comparison with other countries is not possible and can not bring some light on what would happen here. All of these countries are very much western and share very similar values to the UK.

To finish, I think I am aware of most, if not all, the arguments the Church has against marriage equality. What I am trying to understand, and the reason why I contacted you, is how it sees the process that would lead equality to engender the destruction of civilisation as we know it, since this is what we seem to be talking about here.

I am also somewhat surprised that while an ever smaller section of the Christian community is vehemently opposed to opening marriage to more loving couples, the same people are more than quiet about divorce, which seems to me much more undermining to marriage. It seems to me that they should be campaigning just as vehemently so that man does not separate what god has joined together. I can't help but feeling that this smacks of double standard.

I look forward to your thoughts on these points.

Regards,

[Zefrog]

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