Bishop: Yes campaign wants to redefine marriage
True marriage equality cannot be achieved if we accept that the meaning of marriage involves procreation, a Catholic bishop has warned.
Bishop Kevin Doran accused supporters of the referendum of looking for "a different kind of relationship which would be called marriage".
He said that this different kind of relationship includes some elements of marriage, such as love and commitment.
But it excludes one of the two essential aspects of marriage, which is the openness of the sexual relationship to procreation.
Bishop Doran, the bishops' spokesman on ethics, claimed that those seeking to change the Constitution through the forthcoming referendum on marriage were not seeking "marriage equality".
In an address delivered yesterday evening in the parish of Donaghmede in Dublin, Bishop Doran suggested that marriage equality could only occur if the meaning of marriage was changed or the openness to procreation was removed.
Referring to the simultaneous preparations for the church's synod on the family and the referendum on the meaning of marriage, he said it was the "elephant in the room".
He told how last week he was asked: "What is so wrong about being nice to people who are equal to us in every respect, but whose sexual orientation is different?'"
According to the bishop, who is a member of the Catholic Church's Council on Marriage and the Family, there is nothing wrong with being nice to people of different sexual orientation "but that is not what the referendum is about".
Elsewhere in his address, the bishop spoke about marital breakdown and the church's pastoral response.
"Clearly, it is not enough just to 'wave goodbye' to parishioners who feel that their relationship with the church is somehow changed by their marital circumstances," he acknowledged.
He warned that October's Synod in Rome was not about changing the church's teaching on the indissolubility of marriage, but about how it can respond pastorally to situations of marriage breakdown.
Underlining that married life makes an important contribution to the well-being of the family, the church and society as a whole, he admitted the family today faces significant challenges. "While the focus of public debate about the synod was on the high-profile issues of 'gay marriage' and whether or not people who had divorced and remarried could receive Holy Communion, these are clearly not the only challenges facing the family and they are not the only focus," he said.
"How do you deal with the stresses and strains of disappointment, depression, alcoholism, or simply the downside of the daily routine?" he asked.