Tag Archives: same – sex marriage

Moral Theologian: Same – Sex Couples Deserve Sexual Expression of Their Love

First, it has to be said that same-sex oriented people have the right, in their lives – and that includes, too, the fact that like all people, they are sexual beings – to be recognized.

– moral theologian Eberhard Schockenhoff

Eberhard Schockenhoff, Theologe und stellvertretender Vorsitzender im Deutschen Ethikrat, spricht am 19. Mai 2015 in München.
Eberhard Schockenhoff, Theologe und stellvertretender Vorsitzender im Deutschen Ethikrat, spricht am 19. Mai 2015 in München.

Finally, an influential, mainstream Catholic theologian has faced the elephant in the room. More and more cardinals, bishops and others in the Catholic church have come to accept that same – sex couples deserve to have legal recognition of their relationships. Some have said so publicly, many more now agree, but are keeping their opinions firmly to themselves. Some have said they see positive value in such civil unions, others are more reluctant, seeing them merely as something to be accepted as a lesser evil than full marriage. But in all the many observations on the subject I have seen, there’s one crucial point no-one has yet dared mention publicly: can the Church accept that couples in such same – sex legal, committed and loving relationships, may express their love sexually?

The German moral theologian Eberhard Schockenhoff has, in effect, answered with a clear “yes”. He’s done so not in so many words, but that is the clear implication of his words, quoted above. Continue reading Moral Theologian: Same – Sex Couples Deserve Sexual Expression of Their Love

How Did Catholic Ireland Achieve Such a Definitive Victory for Marriage Equality?

Bondings 2.0

The marriage equality referendum in Ireland is still making waves–and headlines–around the globe.  Except for last October’s Vatican synod on marriage and family, I can’t think of any single story on Catholic LGBT issues which has generated so much commentary and analysis as the Ireland vote has.  It’s been a challenge to keep up, and though we have presented a few posts already on the subject, we expect to do at least one more this week after this one.

Today, I’d like to focus on the ways that people have answered the question:  “How did Catholic Ireland achieve such a definitive victory for marriage equality? ”

Probably the best answer that I read was one of the first published. A few days after the vote, Fr. Paul Morrissey, OSA, a priest of Irish descent who lives in the U.S., wrote an op-ed in USA Today,  in which he asserted “Ireland is…

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Dublin Archbishop: “The Church Needs to Do a Reality Check”

That the Catholic Church needs a “reality check” on its entire sexual theology would seem an obvious platitude to most people in the real world –  but when the admission comes from a senior archbishop, it’s worth taking note.

Dublin’s archbishop was responding to the comprehensive win for same – marriage by Irish voters, and especially by those of his own archdiocese. Martin has previously said that we should respect and value same – sex couples, and that although he would personally be voting against, he declined to tell others how to vote.

Let us pray that the Irish bishops at the family synod in October will take these excellent sentiments with them, for presentation to their colleagues.

Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, said if the referendum was an affirmation of the views of young people, the church had a “huge task in front of it”.

Large crowds gathered in Dublin as the results of the referendum were announced

“I think really the church needs to do a reality check,” he told RTE.

 – BBC News.

A “Conscience Vote” for Catholics in Irish Referendum!

In a welcome refusal to dictate to Irish Catholics how to vote on tomorrow’s gay marriage referendum, Dublin’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has in effect left this as a conscience vote for gay Catholics.


Archbishop Martin’s stance is in marked contrast to his many episcopal colleagues, in the USA, in Scotland and England, in France and many other countries, who have attempted unsuccessfully, to persuade Catholics that opposition to marriage equality is a requirement of their faith.  His stance is also in firm accordance with the stance of Pope Francis, who has said that bishops should spend less time dictating to Catholics, and more in pastoral care. Continue reading A “Conscience Vote” for Catholics in Irish Referendum!

Irish Archbishop: Same – sex Relationships Should “Cherished”

In Ireland, Catholic Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has buried inside a lengthy, carefully thought defence of the Catholic Church opposition to gay marriage, a clear and direct admission that balancing the exclusion of same – sex couples from marriage, we should nevertheless recognize and cherish their relationships “in a culture of difference”.

Here’s the money quote:

An ethics of equality does not require uniformity. There can be an ethic of equality which is an ethic of recognising and respecting difference. A pluralist society can be creative in finding ways in which people of same-sex orientation have their rights and their loving and caring relationships recognisedand cherished in a culture of difference, while respecting the uniqueness of the male-female relationship. I know that the harshness with which the Irish Church treated gay and lesbian people in the past – and in some cases still today – may make it hard for LGBT people to accept that I am sincere in what I am proposing.

– from The Tablet – Texts, speeches, homilies.

(The link above is to the full text of his address. Or, you could read a shorter news report here)

For years, Catholic bishops in one country or state after another have been strenuous in their opposition to marriage equality – frequently unsuccessfully. Much of the rhetoric employed has been offensive and divisive, but one of the important benefits to gay Catholics coming out of this vocal opposition to same – sex marriage, has been clear signs of a softening of approach, and a moderation in language, by many bishops in respect of same – sex relationships, and gay and lesbian people, themselves.

In some cases, this has been a fairly grudging recognition that there is value in supporting the legal provision of civil unions as a lesser evil than full marriage equality – even though in the early years of the struggle for equality, many bishops opposed even the introduction of civil unons (and continue to do, in countries like Italy and Colombia).  In other cases, there have been bishops who accept that civil unions have direct value in themselves, by providing same – sex couples with legal protection. This statement by Archbishop Martin goes further than most however, in its clear recognition that same – sex relationships deserve to be not only accepted, but even “cherished”. Elsewhere in his address, he also acknowledges, as many of his peers did at the first session of the Rome family synod, that in the past, much of the language used by the Church, and its actual treatment of gay people, has been harsh and hurtful.

He acknowledged that the Church had given “harsh” treatment to gays and lesbians in the past – “and in some cases still today”.


The archbishop said the Church had at times used “harsh”, “insensitive and overly judgemental” language to present a message of love, and had presented rational argument as a dogma everyone must accept. But this was no justification for people today to replace dogmatism with “sound-bite-ism” as a way of avoiding rational debate, he said.

The Church still needed to learn to voice its criticism “clearly and without fear”, but in language that “which respects her Master”.

– from the Tablet

I agree with the archbishop that at times, both sides in the marriage arguments have been guilty of harsh and insensitive language, and that both sides should attempt rational and respectful discourse. His own words are an excellent example of this. It is notable for instance, that he does not use the offensive phrase “same – sex attraction”, which is the standard terminology of Vatican apologists, but the more usual and accurate, “same – sex orientation“.

So far so good. One could take issue with his defence of restricting marriage on the basis of its alleged basis in “complementarty”, but I’m not going into that, here. Just the recognition of the need to cherish same – sex relationships, and that for more sensitive language, represent substantial improvement on what we were hearing from bishops just a few years ago.

The next step has to be to clarify, just what does it mean in the context of the Church, to “cherish” same – sex relationships, when the Vatican documents are so clearly hostile? Some of this will undoubtedly be hotly debated at the final session of the family synod later this year, but that will not be the end of it.

It’s becoming ever clearer, that sooner or later, the key doctrinal statements on our relationships will inevitably have to be fundamentally rewritten. As James Alison has noted previously, “It’s an exciting time to be a gay Catholic” – now, more than ever.

in others there has been a more positive recognition that legal

Irish Archbishops Agree: Language Does Matter, Insensitive Language Deplored.

In a radio interview on March 9th about the pending Irish referendum on gay marriage, Bishop Kevin Doran made some highly insensitive remarks about gay and lesbian Catholics.  Just two days later, the president and vice – president of the Irish bishops’ conference have rebutted those remarks, regretting the “inappropriate” language. 

Archbishops Eamon Martin (left), and Diarmuid Martin (right)

The Irish bishops’ conference was gathered for their Spring meeting, during which Archbishops Eamon Martin and Diarmuid Martin hosted  a  press conference to release a joint statement on their response to the gay marriage referendum.  Responding to questions put about Bishop Doran, the archbishops stressed that it was they, not Bishop Doran, who were fronting the Catholic bishops’ opposition to marriage equality, and deplored the use of insensitive language. Continue reading Irish Archbishops Agree: Language Does Matter, Insensitive Language Deplored.

Irish Priest Will Vote For Gay Marriage

Meet the Catholic priest preparing to defy his church and vote for gay marriage in Ireland

Augustinian priest Iggy O’Donovan said this week that he will ‘unquestioningly be voting yes’ in Ireland’s referendum on same-sex marriage because he believes in the freedom for all people to choose how they live their lives

An Augustinian Catholic priest has gone public with his intention of voting for the legalization of same-sex marriage in Ireland in May, saying his personal religious views on marriage should not be imposed onto other people in society who believed differently.

Fr Iggy O’Donovan told The Irish Independent this week that he was an ‘an absolute believer in Catholic teaching on marriage.’

‘[But I also] accept that there are people with different but deeply held views to me and I respect their views and I don’t think I have the right to impose my views on them.’

As a result he said he would ‘unquestioningly be voting yes’ in the referendum on same-sex marriage in Ireland.

via Gay Star News.