Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Could it be discrimination to believe in marriage now?

Marriage is my thing: New Directions May 2007. This is frightening!

'Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman. In marriage the physical intimacy of the spouses becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion. Marriage bonds between baptized persons are sanctified by the sacrament' [Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2360]. In explaining the Christian understanding of marriage - and the fact that it echoes the natural law written into the fabric of our being, and undergirds the law of our country which governs how we are to live - I have been privileged to be part of some excellent classroom discussions, heard some forthright views, been touched by young people's statements of their beliefs and hopes and aspirations.

But under the Sexual Orientation Regulations, effective from 30 April 2007 and passed with minimal parliamentary debate, despite a valiant attempt in the House of Lords to tackle them properly, it is going to be difficult for me to talk about marriage in schools any more, or even to be of much use as a visiting Catholic journalist. The new regulations expressly ban my doing anything which might make pupils of homosexual inclinations uncomfortable. Suggesting - let alone firmly stating - that marriage is, by definition, a bond between a man and a woman, is going to be rather too antagonistic. Affirming the Catholic Church's position on other sexual relationships, including the homosexual one, is going to be trickier still, unless I am prepared (which I'm not) to state that it is possible that the Church is wrong and/or that other opinions on homosexual activity are of equal moral worth and validity, and/or that I recognize that everyone has the right to affirm his or her own sexual desires in his or her own way.


Anonymous john scholasticus said...

Until a successful prosecution proves otherwise, I think pieces such as this are scare-mongering and, in a way, bullying. In the year of our Lord 2007 in the UK homosexual people are still being abused, mugged and murdered. There is an enormous amount of wrong to catch up from. If people like this make a few elementary distinctions between church and state, between individual/religious belief and civic rights, they will be in no danger.

5:37 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Would you say that this is true for Church-based schools? Should Christian schools, Muslim schools or any religious institution be free to teach what that religious institution teaches about marriage and sexuality without the fear of the state imposing its moral views upon those bodies?

Nobody would deny the wrongness of physical abuse to homosexual people based upon their sexuality. Yet that can be used as an emotional red herring.

How is it bullying for a Church school to say 'the Church teaches that sex is to happen only within the context of a married couple (male and female) and anything outside of that strikes against the teaching of the Church?' But the point is that due to the Act she is not able to go into a school and say what is written above due to the possibility of 'offending' someone.

It does seem that in the year of our Lord 2007 the only ones who can be offended are Christians and God himself. We should be all about the civil rights of all peoples. But, to pretend that the state is functioning as an amoral body and is not institutionalising its morality on the people is only to put ones head in the sand.

What will be your opinion if there is a successful prosecution of this?

8:10 am  
Anonymous john scholasticus said...


I will revise my opinion if there is a successful prosecution.

I think Church schools should be able to teach Church teaching on these matters. But I also think they have a duty to teach (in the sense of 'inform their pupils about') State policy, because if there isn't a separation of Church and state the results are always worse.

8:45 pm  

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