Imagining the Impossible…

…Doesn’t make it possible.

Once again our newspapers are full of people imagining impossible things and thinking by doing so that said things might become possible. It’s a bit like those get rich schemes where people say you have to “vision it” for it to happen. People have really begun to believe this is true. It is a peculiar 21st Century version of nominalism (Nominalism v2.1, perhaps).

I am, of course, referring to last night’s 73-72 vote in the Federal Parliament calling on MPs to gauge their constituents’ views ”on ways to achieve equal treatment for same-sex couples, including marriage”. A harmless enough motion, you say? What damage can it do? Only this: that it is an exercise in “thinking the impossible” as a step toward making it “possible”. Which in any previous age would have been dismissed as a futile exercise. But not today. Today we have convinced ourselves that if we get enough people thinking it is possible for two people of the same sex to be “married”, then it will become a real possibility.

And it isn’t just in the area of gay marriage that this happens. In 1994 Pope John Paul II wrote:

4. Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church’s judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force.

Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.

He wasn’t being mean. He was being a Realist (with a capital “R”). A 21st Century Nominalist on the other hand would say that the just by thinking that the impossible is possible we can make it so. Sorry, we can’t.

Marriage isn’t just to do with “love”. It is to do with reproduction, and a few minutes thought about what it actually takes to produce a baby (and a quick look at a school text book on human anatomy) will make it clear that marriage between two people of the same sex is an impossibility. Everyone knows – no matter how many pictures are published in our papers showing happy “same-sex families” – that same-sex sexual relations are, as a simple biological fact, utterly sterile.

Similary, ordination as a priest isn’t simply to do with “a call”. They have to do with the configuration of a man to Christ as “in persona Christi capitis”. It is only because he has been sacramentally configured in this way that a man is able to exercise Christ’s priestly service to God’s people. It should not surprise us that there is a common element here between the supporters of same-sex marriage and the supporters of women’s ordination. Both ignore the plain fact of nuptial reality. You have a man and a woman, a bridegroom and a bride. The Bridegroom is Christ, and the Bride is the Church. The Sacrificial Meal in which Chrsit is liturgically present in person of the priest is a Nuptial Meal. Thus Christ is “Priest” to the Church precisely as “The Bridegroom”. There is no getting around this fact. And so likewise, the one who, by sacramental ordination, is configured to Christ and enabled to exercise Christ’s sacerdotal office in the Church, must be male. A woman simply cannot be the liturgical “bridegroom” for the Bride.

Except, of course, in a world which imagines that by imagining the impossible it makes the impossible possible. Welcome to the world of 21st Century nominalism.

What we need is a remedial dose of Realism.

About Schütz

I am Catholic, married to Cathy, father of Maddy & Mia. Since 2002, I have been the Executive Officer of the Ecumenical & Interfaith Commission of the Archdiocese of Melbourne. I was once a Lutheran pastor, but a "year of grace" and soul-searching led me into the Catholic Church. It was a bumpy ride, but with the support of my (still Lutheran) wife, I was finally confirmed on June 16, 2003.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to Imagining the Impossible…

  1. matthias says:

    the president of the Shop Employees Union has just taken a swipe at the ALP over this issue and about euthanasia. roxon the health minister has done the usual political whitewash

  2. Gareth says:

    It is always a mystery to me how a priest having given themselves over fully to God could be be so far away from grace as to actually believe this.

  3. Paul G says:

    I think the Greens are being political, not philosophical. They know a vote on gay marriage will fail, and even if it were a conscience vote, it also would probably fail. They have brought on this meaningless vote in order to keep the issue in the news and thereby hope that sympathetic reporting and commentary will persuade more people.

    An atheist philosopher, Margaret Somerville, agrees with you that marriage is about the right to have children. She supports civil unions, but opposes gay marriage because she suspects (no doubt correctly) that the next step will be gay adoption and subsidised IVF or surrogacy. She opposes these on the grounds that the child has a right to a father and a mother and that right is not considered against the “right” to marriage. Of course, some circumstances like the early death of a parent can upset this ideal family, but that is different to deliberately denying the child both parents.

    The other question I never hear answered is why polygamy or polyandry could be opposed if gay marriage is legal. Maybe it won’t be opposed???

    (By the way, on a trivial pursuits type question, I listened to some of the political debate on gay marriage last week and I heard the pollies talking about their LGBTI constituents. I had heard of LGBT before, but what is the “I”? Then today I heard the explanation, it stands for “intersex”, whatever that means. How many combinations is it possible to have?)

  4. Peregrinus says:

    Well, you’ve got your platonic ideal of marriage of course, which it is impossible for a same-sex couple to realise. But, then, it’s impossible for anyone to realise; that’s the whole point of platonic ideals.

    Obviously marriage is closely connected with founding a family, and equally obviously for a same-sex couple that connection cannot be realised, at least in the biological fashion. But this is also true of an opposite-sex couple, one (or both) of whom is infertile. They too fall short of the platonic ideal, and for the same reason; their union will never – can never – be biologically fertile. But we let them marry.

    That’s because the law – and the church – may consider the platonic ideal, but it has to deal with the concrete reality. All real relationships fall short, in various ways, of the platonic ideal.

    The (Catholic) church squares this circle by taking an ontological approach. If a union is directed at fertility (and if it has other characteristics, of course) then it’s a marriage, even if the end of fertility is known to be absolutely unattainable. Hence an (opposite sex) couple can marry despite the infertility of one or both of them. They are as open to children as their circumstances allow, and that is enough.

    The state has never taken this approach. A couple who intend never to have children are free to marry as far as civil law is concerned, although the church would decline to marry them. The relationship they want is not, in the Catholic understanding, a marriage because, by precluding the begetting of children, the union is not directed towards the end of fertility. But the state does not share the church’s ontological approach to understanding marriage. And evidently the church does not feel that it must; the Catholic church does not become exercised about the state dignifying this particular union with the name and legal status of marriage, although in the Catholic understanding it is no marriage at all.

    Note that this isn’t a simple church-state conflict. There are plenty of religious traditions which would marry that couple; the ontological approach is distinctively Catholic. But there are also religious traditions – albeit fewer of them – which would marry a same-sex couple too.

    “Today we have convinced ourselves that if we get enough people thinking it is possible for two people of the same sex to be “married”, then it will become a real possibility.”

    In light of what I’ve just said, it seems to me there’s a step missing in your argument. Same-sex marriage is impossible, in the Catholic understanding, because of the Catholic ontological understanding of reality. But if we say the state (or the community at large, since we are talking about public attitudes here) must accept the ontological understanding, we must demonstrate that the ontological understanding is more than a philosophical position; it is objectively true. And this is a big ask, if only because we are seeking to assert, not a general religious, or a general Christian, position, but a distinctively Catholic one. But it’s also a big ask because [i]we haven’t asked the state to do that up to now[/i].

    If we haven’t objected to the state “marrying” people who can have children but intend never to do so, on what basis do we object to the state “marrying” two people of the same sex? Neither relationship is a marriage, and for precisely the same reason, and yet we only demand that that state should reflect and enforce this understanding where the couple concerned are gay.

    It’s not a good look, particularly when we bear in mind that we are bidden to avoid every sign of unjust discrimination against gays. The obvious question is, why are gays being singled out here?

    • Tony says:

      Pere,

      I have a confession to make: I rarely use the word ‘ontological’ in my daily conversations. I know, I know, it’s beyond the pale.

      Of course I have read it and have a working understanding of what it means, but I usually dive towards a reference to refresh my understanding. Thus, the Wiki entry speaks of ontology as:

      … the philosophical study of the nature of being, existence or reality as such, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations … ontology deals with questions concerning whether entities exist or can be said to exist …

      So, two thoughts arise.

      I think it is fair to say that there has been homosexuality in the human population since Adam … mmm … well, maybe not Adam. My understanding is that there is a consensus among those we generally deem as ‘experts’ that is part — albeit a minority part (like left-handedness) — of our human condition. Does that make it ontological?

      How exactly can you be ‘directed’ towards fertility if you are, in fact, infertile?

      I guess what I’m getting at is what you mean by ontological in this context.

      In terms of PB16’s views on the priesthood, I tend to adopt the ‘Gareth line’, ie, I note his opinion, I respect it, but I also respectfully disagree and hope for a time when his successor sees the issue differently.

      • Gareth says:

        Tony: In terms of PB16?s views on the priesthood, I tend to adopt the ‘Gareth line’, ie, I note his opinion, I respect it, but I also respectfully disagree and hope for a time when his successor sees the issue differently.

        Gareth: This sentence doesn’t make sense. Does the current Pope have a view on the priesthood that is different from 2000 years of Catholic teaching, does he?

        I think this line wiould be put in better language that rather than disagreeing with Pope Benedict’s ‘views’ or ‘opinion'(which in essence can not differ that much from Catholic dogma as a Pope is a servant not master of the magesterium which is given to us by the Jesus Christ, not the Pope), it is rather a case that people do not have the grace from God to accept a mainstream Catholic teaching.

        Pray, do penance, recieve the sacraments, plead to Our Lady always – the fruit of one’s prayer life will soon manifest itself in one’s fidelity and orthodoxy to the Church.

        • Tony says:

          I think this line wiould be put in better language that rather than disagreeing with Pope Benedict’s ‘views’ or ‘opinion’(which in essence can not differ that much from Catholic dogma as a Pope is a servant not master of the magesterium which is given to us by the Jesus Christ, not the Pope), it is rather a case that people do not have the grace from God to accept a mainstream Catholic teaching.

          But that doesn’t seem to apply to you in terms of the current CCC on capital punishment. Presumably PJPII was aware of church tradition when he expressed his view.

          Pray, do penance, recieve the sacraments, plead to Our Lady always – the fruit of one’s prayer life will soon manifest itself in one’s fidelity and orthodoxy to the Church.

          Physician heal thy self!

          • Gareth says:

            Tony: But that doesn’t seem to apply to you in terms of the current CCC on capital punishment. Presumably PJPII was aware of church tradition when he expressed his view.

            Gareth: I am not sure why you keep bringing this up Tony?

            The hard facts that you do not seem to be able to understand are firstly what an opinion and an official deposit of the faith is and secondly what I have expressed in the past on this blog and other discussion board on the topic you brought up out of no-where does not contradict Catholic dogma in anyway.

            To say you disagree with an official Catholic 2000 year old teaching and attempt to compare it to a ‘view’ is wrong. Whilst your honesty and willingness to not sit on the fence is acknowledged, the hard fact is that what you have expressed is out of order with the Catholic faith. Pure and simple.

            This leads to my own question of why would I want to take take what anyone has to say about capital punishment seriously when they are out of order of so many other aspects of the Catholic faith?

            • Tony says:

              I am not sure why you keep bringing this up Tony?

              Let me put it as simply as possible then: I disagree with the Pope’s position on, in this particular context, the priesthood. You disagree with the Pope’s position on the death penalty.

              … the hard fact is that what you have expressed is out of order with the Catholic faith. Pure and simple.

              I take a little comfort knowing that you’ve done the same thing re captial punishment.

              This leads to my own question of why would I want to take take what anyone has to say about capital punishment seriously when they are out of order of so many other aspects of the Catholic faith?

              Again, the feeling is mutual!

              Nice to be in agreement on some things, eh?

            • Gareth says:

              Tony: Let me put it as simply as possible then: I disagree with the Pope’s position on, in this particular context, the priesthood. You disagree with the Pope’s position on the death penalty.

              Gareth: Wrong, wrong, wrong.

              Let me put it simply.

              You disagree with the Catholic teaching (in which the Pope himself is subject to) that the priesthood is reserved for males only.

              This has been a consistent teaching of the Church for 2010 years and in which no Pope has any authority to change. To believe otherwise is quite simply a heresy.

              I uphold the Catholic Teaching on the state’s right to have recourse to the death penalty which the Church and every Pope has taught and upheld for 2010 years.

              What I disagree with is the viewpoint expressed by a previous Pope on the precise circumstances in which he thinks the death penalty should be upheld and his justification for this.

              The Pope’s views on the precise circumstances in which he thinks a moral act may take place whilst may have some substance and must at least be acknowledged are not part of the official deposit of the Catholic faith or are they binding on the faithful, which I have demonstrated many times that the current Pope has acknowledged.

              Therefore, your comparison is a poor one.

              I don’t have to or wish to express this anymore.

              Tony: I take a little comfort knowing that you’ve done the same thing re captial punishment.

              Gareth: Tony, is this playing games or mere stupidity on your part?

              Again, I do not have to express anymore that my views are in accordance with the Catholic Church on the matter.

              Tony: Again, the feeling is mutual!

              Gareth: I can’t remember expressing a view that is out of line with Catholic teaching, unless you care to notify me otherwise.

              On the contrary, you seem to find it hard to ‘agree’ with anything the Church has to say. Artificial contraception, homosexual marriage, women priests – these are all serious stuff. The list could go on and on.

              If orthodoxy is the fruit of one’s prayer, what is one to think of this?

              Make one wonder….

      • Peter says:

        “I think it is fair to say that there has been homosexuality in the human population since Adam … mmm … well, maybe not Adam.”

        We can say with certainty is wasn’t ‘since Adam’, otherwise we wouldn’t be here to talk about it. For the human race to have continued from then till now they needed to give special preference to the relationship in which a child could be concieved, born and raised.

        If that relationship loses that special consideration society is effectively saying in law what it it has been saying ‘de-facto’ for a few decades now. That is: The people who are alive now are the ones that matter. We don’t value children, we don’t protect or assist their parents in raising them and we don’t value the future of humanity.

        • Tony says:

          If that relationship loses that special consideration society is effectively saying in law what it it has been saying ‘de-facto’ for a few decades now. That is: The people who are alive now are the ones that matter. We don’t value children, we don’t protect or assist their parents in raising them and we don’t value the future of humanity.

          On that logic (note logic), a formalised requirement for celibacy threatens that ‘special consideration’ too. It represents a sanctioned state where children are not possible.

    • Schütz says:

      I feel inclined to go with Paul G on this, Perry, and say that you are doing a “Screwtape” on this issue. Your examples of the different ways in which the Church and State regard marriage do not add up. As Christine said, even infertile couples can still be parents – by adoption – and when they are they are a “mother” and a “father” because they are a male and a female. The question of intent is actually a legal question. For a marriage contract to be binding, it has to be shown that the parties to the contract intended to follow the law of marriage. Canon Law and State Law are different in regard to law on the matter of openness to children. Nevertheless both State and Canon Law require the parties to a marriage to be one male and one female. This is a universal understanding of what marriage is – it is the “natural law”. Infertility should be seen as a disability. It does not affect the human nature of the person. Male and Female are a part of human nature, and a disability in the area of fertility does not alter this.

      In sacramental terms we would say that a male and a female are the proper matter for the sacrament of marriage, just as a baptised male is proper matter for the sacrament of ordination and bread and wine are proper matter for the Eucharist. It is interesting to note that mustum – de-alcoholised wine – can be consecrated, but not grape juice. This may be an analogy of sorts to the infertile couple. But pizza and coke cannot be consecrated as the Eucharist, any more than a woman can be ordained or two people of the same sex married. That is the simple matter of it.

      • Tony says:

        Cutting to the chase, David, your arguments are based on foundations of ‘the Natural Law’ and ‘Sacramental terms’.

        How do these foundations speak to a broad population in terms of, say, an election?

        Surely the church’s position must stand or fall on logic that is accessible to all?

        That is the simple matter of it.

        In terms of ‘simplicity’ I used to think that the church’s view on condoms was about as simple as it got. Now, it seems, we are getting ‘nuance’ right from the top.

        • Gareth says:

          Be very, very careful now Tony and read what the Pope REALLY said on the matter, rather than what you think he said of what the media has reported.

          • Tony says:

            Here’s what I understand to be a direct translation of his words, Gareth:

            In this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality … (you can find any number of references by Googling the text)

            So, in terms of condom use, we’ve gone from no case to this or that case. The ‘case’ example he refers to is that of a male prostitute (although there seems to be some confusion about translation) using a condom to prevent the transmission of disease.

            Already on my limited reading there is a scramble to suggest ‘he didn’t really mean it’ or ‘it was just a private opinion’ (mmm … sounds familiar) or your kind of ‘be careful of the dastardly press’ type response.

            Maybe this will go the way of Limbo, ie, we didn’t really mean it!

            ;-)

            • Schütz says:

              You can continue this conversation on this topic on my new post on the subject.

            • Gareth says:

              So by the reasoning you have posted Tony, due to an off-the cuff comment made by the Pope (which no-one can officially verify), the Catholic Church now teaches that condoms are to be condemned under all circumstances unless you are a male or homosexual prostitute (which incidently the Church both condemns).

              Do you still want to stand by that the this is somehow the official Catholic Church teaching that condoms are fine provided you are a male prostitute or do you want to take a sensible approach to read what he said carefully and weigh this up with the Catholic magesterium.

              And not to mention the Pope’s previous extremly negative comments about condom use.

              P.S – The Church’s teaching on Limbo is still the same – it didn’t suddenly dissapear.

        • Schütz says:

          Well, the Natural Law speaks to the “broad population”, Tony. That’s what Natural Law is.

          Basically, its like a Mecano set construction. You can’t do it with all bolts or all nuts. You need both to hold the structure together. Nuts and bolts are designed for each other just as man and woman are. Two bolts or two nuts don’t do the same job.

          And even if you have just a few odd bolts and odd nuts trying to work together in your construction, the whole edifice is unstable because nuts don’t screw nuts and bolts don’t screw bolts.

          Is that simple enough for “Joe Public”?

          • Tony says:

            Honestly David, the ‘nuts and bolts’ analogy of human sexuality is so mechanistic and simplistic that I can’t believe you’re using it.

            Even at this level though, the whole concept of celibacy, let alone mandatory celibacy for a whole class of individuals, would be every bit as ‘ediface crashing’ as gay marriage.

      • Peregrinus says:

        Hi David

        It’s not my purpose to challenge the Catholic understanding of marriage. My comment was more directed that the question of whether, and to what extent, the Church demands that civil law should reflect its understanding.

        It may be of the nature of marriage that it should be between a man and a woman. But it is also of the nature of marriage that it should be directed towards procreation. (Indeed, these two facts are fairly obviously connected.)

        As you point out, canon law and civil law (currently) coincide in requiring spouses to be man and woman, but they take opposing stances with regard to intention to procreate. In saying this, though, you are merely restating what I have been saying. Canon law and civil law can diverge in their views of what “marriage” is, and this doesn’t greatly bother the church.

        If we consider the fertile, opposite-sex couple who wish to embark on a publicly committed relationship of love and support but who intend never to have children, it is clear that the church can live with the state “marrying” these two people, despite the fact that they do not in reality intend to marry, and that their intended and realised relationship is not and will not be a marriage.

        If the church can live with this why, then, the fuss over the state “marrying” two [i]other[/i] people whose intended committed relationship of mutual love and support is not and will not be a marriage?

  5. Gareth says:

    Like many other debates, the use of language clearly is a propaganda tool to desensitise groteseque behaviour.

    The use of the term sam-sex instead of homsexual and ‘gay’ is only the tip of the iceberg.

    Let those that strive to serve and know God be not deceived.

    Practising Homosexuals offend God grieviously and all Heaven calls out for vegeance when such behaiour is condoned.

    God can not make it any more clearer.

  6. Peregrinus says:

    “The use of the term sam-sex instead of homsexual and ‘gay’ is only the tip of the iceberg.”

    I have to point out, Gareth, that homosexual is basically the Greek for “same sex”.

    The notion that we desensitize and euphemise by translating the Greek term back into plain English is an interesting one!

    • Kyle says:

      Is it really? The entymology of a word does not dictate its current meaning and I suspect many native English speakers would share an intuition that ‘same-sex’ has a much more sanitised feel to it than ‘homosexual’, even if the Greek ‘homos’ and Latin ‘sexus’ mean the same thing. ‘Homosexual’ bears with it a whole nexus of pejorative associations, of queer and gay and so on, whereas same-sex does not (at least not in my lingo), but mostly because it is a new expression.

      • Peregrinus says:

        Language changes, of course. “Homosexual” dates (in English) only from the 1890s, and it was originally a term used by psychiatrists, psychologists and medical types which was intended to be free of the negative associations that previous words had. You might say that it was the euphemism, though I think it would probably be more correct to see it as jargon or technical or specialist language.

        It didn’t start being used in a pejorative way, so far as I can see, until about the 1950s. The earliest cite I can find in which the word is used in an even vaguely pejorative way is from Evelyn Waugh and, interestingly, I think the same cite points to the reason why “homosexual” is now being abandoned in favour of “same-sex”:

        ‘I’m sure you aren’t a pansy.’

        ‘Pansy?’

        ‘You’re not homosexual?’

        Even this did not disconcert Uncle Peregrine . . . ‘Good gracious, no. Besides the “o” is short. It comes from the Greek not the Latin.’

        In so far as “homosexual” is used as a synonym for “pansy”, it’s clearly pejorative. But Uncle Peregrine’s correction points to a common misconception; that the word comes from the Latin homo, a man, and means attraction to another man, rather than from the Greek homos, indicating attraction to a person of the same gender. Hence, women can be homosexual. I think it’s because of this confusion that “homosexual” is giving way to “same-sex”.

        I doubt that this is an attempt to euphemise. The gay lobby has been very resistant to euphemisation; it smacks too much of the closet. On the contrary, they have a track record of claiming orginally pejorative terms like “queer”, “gay” and “dike” and asserting ownership of them. And I dispute that “homosexual” and “gay” have negative connotations – or, at least, I suggest that those who do attribute negative connotations to them will attribute the same connotations to “same-sex”.

  7. Christine says:

    But this is also true of an opposite-sex couple, one (or both) of whom is infertile. They too fall short of the platonic ideal, and for the same reason; their union will never – can never – be biologically fertile. But we let them marry.

    That analogy doesn’t work for me. Not at all. Infertile couples fall outside the “norm”, most people CAN have children and the fact that infertile couples cannot unfortunately usually falls on the side of a biological problem and as a society we don’t “punish” couples who are infertile through no fault of their own. There are always situations both in the natural world and human society that fall outside of the norm for reasons beyond anyone’s control. Plus, infertile couples can still adopt and those children will be raised by a mother and father. Our legal system views adoptive parents as every bit authentic as biological ones.

  8. Paul G says:

    If I remember rightly, one of the tactics suggested by Screwtape was to divert the faithful from the real issues. Aren’t we doing that by discussing ontology when the whole institution of marriage is being systematically destroyed? We are about to gush over the marriage of the grandson of the British monarch and “defender of the faith(s)”. Which bits of the following do he and his father not understand? “to the exclusion of all others”, “till death us do part”, “I give you my body”(after, not before).
    Most marriages these days are tasteless exercises in flaunting great wealth. They are a “declaration of love”, at least until a better offer comes along.
    Gay “marriage” is just one more kick in the guts to the idea of marriage as any sort of ideal or ontological reality. Whatever.

    Meanwhile we are in the middle of some sort of mad public obsession with “gays” (is the term perversion still allowed?). I heard Graham “whatever it takes” Richardson say yesterday “this is an important issue for 3 million Australians”. Excuse me? If that is true, and Australians are gay to the point of delirium, then either population growth has stopped forever, or surrogacy is the new black.

  9. Salvatore says:

    One wonders how, given that he claims to believe that the world is teetering on the brink of environmental catastrophe, Mr Bandt can really imagine that this trivial stunt is really the best use of Parliament’s time. As a constituent, I’m almost tempted to ask (except I don’t think he’d deign to answer).

    • Paul G says:

      Hi Salvatore, there might be a way that AB and the Greens can claim a consistent world vision. The Greens deny the existence of a transcendent, personal God, so their faith is in an imagined primitive natural paradise (as explained by one of its high priests, David Attenborough.). I’m not sure what they really think marriage is, but gay behaviour is seen as “natural”. I have been told once “of course it is natural, how do you explain gay giraffes and homosexual elephants?”. I have never been able to discuss this with the giraffes and elephants in my local zoo, and until I can, I’d rather not take them as my guide.

      • Tony says:

        @ Salvatore

        Surely a silly argument? It would be like an opponent of a Catholic politician being critical of any legistation he or she introduced that wasn’t about ‘life’ issues.

        @ Paul G

        The Greens deny the existence of a transcendent, personal God …

        The beginning of a Straw Man argument? I’m not aware that the Greens have any such policy or philosophy.

        • Salvatore says:

          It would be like an opponent of a Catholic politician being critical of any legistation he or she introduced that wasn’t about ‘life’ issues.

          Except that I don’t know of any Catholic politicians who’re predicting the sort of dire consequences because of ‘life’ issues that the Greens predict because of ‘climate change’ (“the greatest threat to our world in human history”, “only 10-15 years to … prevent catastrophe” etc.) It just looks a bit dodgy if you come out with that sort of hysterical rhetoric and then don’t back it up with similarly urgent action when you get the chance.

          Surely gay weddings can wait ‘til after we’ve averted the ‘catastrophe’?

  10. Interesting that on the front page of the Brisbane Courier Mail yesterday there appeared a photo and story of the first gay couple in QLD to “have” a child under new surrogacy laws. In the mind of ‘Joe Public’, would that not be an adequate response to the argument that the intention not to have children prohibits a couple from marrying? I think it would – not that I agree with Joe in this case.

    Somewhat more perplexing is why the drive for gay marriage at a time when marriage itself is increasingly seen as redundant, even among people who should know better? Pastors and priests know how rare it is these days to marry a couple who have not first co-habited, which surely indicates a lack of understanding, if not a lack of respect for marriage. We also now have the problem of widows and widowers who live together in sexual relationships apart from marriage viows who don’t see why this should preclude them from the sacrament of the altar – yes, this is with church folk – imagine what’s happening in the general community! A study just published in the US, a more religious society than ours, indicated that more than 40% of respondents thought marriage was becoming redundant today. So, why the push for gay marriage? Whatever the individual motivations are, I can’t help but think that the movement has a lot to do with rebellion against God-ordained orders of creation. But just how do you make that argument in the public square?

    A final comment, if this does go ahead – and I’m not as convinced as some of the other commenters here that it wont – I can see many ministers of religion surrendering their state-given authority to preside at weddings rather than risk a fine or even imprisonment for discimination against a gay couple. Pastors will agree to bless unions which have taken place at a registry office, subject to church guidelines, but they will not preside at weddings, which is actually already the case in many European countries. Before you suggest that’s going too far, consder this -I believe at least two Lutheran pastors in “liberal” Sweden were recently imprisoned for breaking that country’s anti-discrimination laws in regard to homosexuality. (Of course, this is a much more difficult scenario to contemplate for Catholic priests, for whom marriage is a sacrament.

    • Schütz says:

      The continued “stories in the press” about “same-sex families” is obscuring the fact that no child can result from the “union” of two people of the same sex. Joe Public is being duped.

      • Gareth says:

        If such ‘stories’ form the basis for legalisation to be formed, it could literally mean that if a wife and her children leaves a husband and the then enters into a homosexual relationship with another woman (this story is not so far fetched if we believe the media), then the husbands children may be raised in a scenario that he finds totally vile, but with the full support of the State.

        Opposing such ghastly legislative moves that aim to support homosexuality in our society is not just about protecting the institution of marriage, it is about protecting our children as well.

        • Gareth,
          I respectfully suggest that the imaginary scenario you describe is already happening.
          Of course, I couldn’t agree more with you on the damage to children, but I wonder if the majority agree?

          David,
          Joe Public duped? We shall see…I would dearly love to be proven wrong on this when the parliamentarians return and a vote is taken – if it comes to that.

          Btw, Christopher Pearson, himself gay, has a good article on The Australian on thi sissue.

          • Gareth says:

            That is true, but the big difference is that once what the Greens have proposed becomes law, that scenario has the full support of the State.

            It is one thing for a serious sinful situation to occur, but it is another if the government supports it.

      • Tony says:

        You really think people are being ‘duped’ about that, David? You really think that ‘Joe Public’ actually doesn’t know that? Really?

  11. Paul G says:

    Pr Mark, the couple in Qld have satisfied their own “rights”, but they
    don’t think of the right of the child to a father and a mother. As usual,
    the rights of the powerful trump the rights of the powerless.
    As well as contempt for religious tradition, I think the push for
    gay marriage is a quest for acceptance. It’s interesting that
    they feel the need for affirmation from others, including the
    the churches. Are they as sure of their arguments as they say?

  12. Christine says:

    A homosexual can conceive a child naturally, and many do.

    So can a heterosexual outside of the marital relationship. That is mere biology. In a Christian context both cases fail to reflect the covenantal image of marriage that Scripture and the teaching of the Church have historically upheld. The Christian tradition sees a spiritual, not merely physical, component to the male/female bond that is the foundation of marriage.

    “Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one.”

    Only a man and woman can become one flesh, properly speaking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *