Thursday, 7 May 2015


Not all Catholics are against marriage equality


Jesus proclaimed a vision of an alternative society based on justice, equality and inclusivity'

Normally, when someone declares oneself a person of faith - in my case a Catholic - the public, with justification, will make the presumption that you are a staunch upholder of the status quo in society and in the case of the forthcoming marriage equality referendum, a definite 'No' voter.
However, such a presumption is not justified anymore. Over the past 50 years there has been a significant change occurring, especially within the Irish Catholic Church.
This change is not seen among the hierarchy but is very evident among the non-cleric lay people who have decided to remain in their church to demand reform.
Very many Catholics, especially in the Western world, do not accept the traditional teachings of their church and yet still insist they are true and loyal followers of Jesus Christ.
When the media reports that the Catholic Church, from the Pope down, is against marriage equality, it does not mean that such a view represents the totality of its members.
Modern theology sees the church not as a static, hierarchical power structure but as the people of God in movement through history. There are leaders, of course, but they are out in front exercising true leadership not, as in the past, demanding absolute obedience from their sheep-like followers. Catholics do not leave their self autonomy and freedom of action at the door of their church when they enter it.
At the heart of this new vision of the church is the certainty that Jesus of Nazareth proclaimed a vision of an alternative society based on justice, equality and inclusivity. He welcomed all who were marginalised and treated as outcasts in his society.

As followers of the way of Jesus, we cannot accept an unjust society where between 5pc to 10pc of our citizens are marginalised when it comes to marriage equality while the rest of their sisters and brothers can enjoy the full exercise of their constitutional right to marry.
Catholic sexual morality is based on outdated biology and science and needs to be urgently modernised and integrated with contemporary developments in medicine, biology and the social sciences.
Social justice demands that the rights of all our citizens be upheld and respected. Each person has a right to personal fulfilment and happiness in our society. When civil rights are denied to people in a society for whatever reason, the society becomes corrupted with injustice - violence and scapegoating are its inevitable results.
When gay people are denied marriage equality, it not only perpetuates an unjust society, but it also diminishes the dignity of those who refuse to recognise the constitutional rights of their gay and lesbian sisters and brothers.
Brendan Butler

WE are Church Ireland


  1. People need to realise this is a civil and not a religious matter. Bringing religion to bear may unlock subconscious and semi conscious fears and superstitions for some. If the R C Church chooses not to solemnise/bless gay marriage that is their concern. The couples can always go to Larne. PS couples marry each other. Technically the Priest does not marry anyone

  2. At a recent conference of diocesan communications officers in All Hallows, Dublin, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin admitted that the Church had sometimes used 'harsh, insensitive, and overly judgemental language' when addressing LGBT issues. It was a
    frank and sincere admission, (an ephiphany moment) made with regret, but also, I sensed, with resignation that it was too little, too late. And indeed it is. Morally and psychologically, the Church
    has failed, time and again, to address LGBT issues justly and constructively, preferring instead the more confrontational approach of moralising polemics. If you
    tell people often enough that their love for each other is 'intrinsically disordered' (or
    worse, 'intrinsically evil') when they believe it is neither, you shouldn't be surprised
    when they stop listening to you and develop their own agenda for justice. In the
    Catholic Catechism, there is not one, positive word by tbe Magisterium about homosexual relationships; instead they are defined, and morally dismissed, as
    'homosexual acts', a euphemism for 'homosexual sex'. This focus on genital activity points up the Catholic Church's centuries-old preoccupation with sex when it comes
    to making moral pronouncements on human relationships; in truth, this preoccupation says more about the psychology of the Church than it does about
    human beings in love with each other. I don't doubt that there will be victory for 'Yes' campaigners in the referendum on 22 May in the Republic. But the struggle to
    achieve it need not have been so confrontational, so bitterly divisive, had the Catholic Church not refused to listen to those in its congregations who proclaimed that their
    love, though diferent, was not devoid of those characteristics which mark out heterosexual love as Christian when lived in accordance with the Gospel principles of mutuality, fidelity, and self sacrifice.

    1. An eminently thoughtful intelligent perceptive comment of sound sense and generosity. Thank you.

  3. When I studied philosophy in the Gregorian Uni in Rome I believed gay acts were intrinsically moraly evil. This was based on the presupposition that male and female bodies were meant to fit together like pieces of a jigsaw. Any other configuration "damaged" the picture. Needless to say I am now definately older and somewhat wiser. I now cite the story in the Gospel where Jesus informs that in the life to come there is neither male nor female. The question about the woman married 4 times and whos husband she would be is irelevant. Here on earth people are born male or female. In aristotelian metaphysics the human body is "accident" The spirit within is more complex. Hence the complexity of sexual identity and epression. As Shakespear might say "What a piece of work is a Man-person"