When we vote in referendums we legislate for all citizens not just members of a church

There is a passage in the Gospels where Jesus tells us to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. In Ireland, we have inherited a tradition which has associated religion and politics in a way that has excluded some of our fellow citizens.
Phrases like “Irish Catholic” and “Ulster Protestant” became descriptions of an identity which was partly religious, partly political, partly cultural and wholly divisive. Today in Ireland we can no longer speak of a Catholic State or a Protestant State.
The State is a secular reality whose principal duty towards religion is to ensure its freedom. Jesus believed that God’s reign was immensely more important than that of any earthly ruler, but he never appealed to earthly rulers to enforce his religious or moral teaching on their subjects.
We are all conscious of the upcoming referendum on marriage equality. When we vote at any time, we are giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s. In a democracy, Caesar is the people. For most of the time, we elect representatives to the Oireachtas whom we charge with the task of making our laws.
When we vote in a referendum, however, we become legislators ourselves. We actually make the law of our land and only we, the people, can change it. It is a heavy responsibility, which we have to shoulder ourselves rather than leave it to our deputies and senators.
In the matter before us, we have to weigh carefully and in complete freedom the arguments presented to us on both sides of the question.
Some people will find the issue to be a straightforward choice between right and wrong and will vote accordingly, either Yes or No. Others, who are aware that they are dealing with a complex and anguished question to which there is no simple or obvious answer, will be more hesitant and will find themselves honestly wondering which conclusion to reach.
The arguments crowd in on us from both sides. Much of life today is like that and we cannot off-load our troubled consciences on others, whether in church or State. We have to make our own decisions for ourselves.
Many, perhaps most of us, will I suspect find that we are being asked to vote not for the right cause over the wrong cause. Matters are far more complicated than that.
Churches have views, ideals and laws about these issues and they, quite properly, teach their members about those views. (Although in churches, there are differences of emphasis and variations in pastoral practice).
When we become legislators, though, as we do when we vote in referendums, we legislate for ALL our fellow citizens. We do not vote as members of this or that church or faith.
Of course we cannot leave our religiously based moral convictions outside the polling station, but we do need to remember the difference between civil and religious law.
We also need to remember that it is possible to have deep and passionately held convictions without seeking to have those convictions imposed by the State on fellow citizens who do not share them and may have opposite convictions which are equally deep and passionately held.
Some 50 years ago, a general council of the Roman Catholic Church gave solemn teaching on religious freedom and on the duties of the Christian in political life.
The Constitution on the Church in the Modern World has this to say: “In the regulation of temporal matters, Christians ought to recognise the legitimacy of different and even conflicting views. They should respect their fellow citizens who defend such views honestly, even by group action.” (Art.n 75)
Respect for freedom of others to hold religious or moral views which we ourselves find we cannot share is a sign of strength, not weakness. It is not a concession to the “permissive society” as it is sometimes represented to be.
Respect for the freedom of others who differ from us is part and parcel of the faith we profess. For these and for other reasons, I will be voting Yes in the forthcoming referendum on marriage equality.
Fr Iggy O’Donovan, Limerick.

Similar Posts

25 Comments

  1. I appreciate the printing of Fr Iggy O’Donovan’s article here. I dont feel to vote either way. I am concerned about the long term consequences of the so called sexual liberation. There is obviously an ideal designed by God for men & women to come together in complementary relationships to form families & have children & raise them in a favourable environment. All other relationships should should not be called marriage as it has been traditionally understood in all cultures & religions. I think also that changing the definition of marriage does weaken marriage in the long term. There will be less freedom to educate children in school about this ideal of the family & people who in their conscience & heart hold these ideals to be sacred & precious will be presssured to conform with the new status quo or face the consequences. There will be a new oppression from people who have extreme views of what constitutes human rights.

  2. The suggestions that a NO vote will be taken as indicative of intolerance are derisory. We have the right to decide questions of public policy under our constitutional framework.

  3. Michael C. says:

    Leon @ 20.
    I don’t know what country you live in but Fr. Iggy was very clear in his comments to the media in Ireland about this issue.
    To quote from the Irish Examiner
    “Although he disagrees with gay marriage, Limerick-based priest Fr Iggy O’Donovan says he is “willing to allow those that believe to live out their lives”.
    Speaking on LIVE95Fm radio the Augustinian priest admits he could never preside over a gay marriage ceremony but said he is still willing to “fight for people” to hold their views.
    “It is not what I would see as the ideal, in fact I would disagree with it but I am willing to allow those that believe to live out their lives.”
    When asked if he views gay marriage as sinful he insisted he would not judge anyone.
    “It would be sinful for me but to use that lovely phrase of Pope Francis, ‘Who am I to judge?’”
    The high-profile priest says he cannot “but be moved” when he listens to the situations of some members of the gay community.
    “I might disagree with them and I wouldn’t be able to participate in such a ceremony I admit that, but at the same time I am willing to accept the opinion of those who have that view.”
    Fr O’Donovan, insists he is not calling for a yes vote in the upcoming referendum but said he had simply expressed his opinion in response to a question on how he would be voting.”

  4. Neil Bray says:

    A number of years back, a former Archbishop of Canterbury stated that gay marriage was a logical outcome of the cultural adoption of artificial contraception by society. The conjugal act became separated from procreation and the latter ceased to be a necessary part of the definition of marriage. Gay marriage thus became acceptable, or at least more acceptable, since marriage is now defined as solely based on the love of people for each other.
    Like many other aspects of life gay marriage is a theological matter. If one believes Catholic teaching one accepts that teaching on the issue of homosexuality and marriage. If one is a-theistic then one opts for something else. Iggy O’Donovan seems to conclude that whereas one may believe the Catholic teaching, one should vote according to the a-theistic or secular conviction.
    As with divorce and abortion, secular legislation on marriage shows far less sensitivity to the welfare of children than it does to the desires of adults. The Child and Family Relationships Bill, which is proceeding through the Oireachtas deliberately mandates that some children will unnecessarily live their formative years bereft of either any maternal love or any paternal love. This implied message to children to “make do” borders on brutality. The referendum if successful will put this legislation beyond the scope of any future oireachtas without another referendum.
    For this and reasons of restrictions on free speech which will follow on foot of an overall “yes” vote I am voting “no.”
    The Catholic Church provides ministries for people of same sex attraction who wish to live chastely in accord with Catholic teaching. The people concerned must be participating for some self benefit. Melinda Selmys in a talk/article named “Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane” shows us how to be welcoming toward people of same sex attraction. http://spiritualfriendship.org/2014/10/18/peter-in-the-garden-of-gethsemane/

  5. Why does everyone make it all seem so complicated!!. It is crystal clear to me .The Civil Partnership Bill should be looked at again and insert into it whatever samesex couples need to make their union equal to heterosexual couples. This could be included in the Ballot Paper as a third option. Celebrate difference.!!.

  6. Question for Fr Iggy
    If Fr Iggy was approached by either a lesbian or homosexual couple would he as a Roman Catholic priest marry them?
    in a civil sermon ?
    In a church service ?
    Just like no nonsense straight answers.

  7. Joe O'Leary says:

    Seamus Aherne wrote: “The rights of homosexuals need to be clarified and explicitly expressed in the Constitution. That cannot be assumed to be Marriage. Marriage has to mean what it says – between a woman and a man. Surely there was/is a middle way and a third possibility. It cannot be beyond the legal minds to express that in a proposal. Or are we to be left in a quandary in the crudity of this Yes/No statement?”
    The rights of homosexual people are human rights and as such must be seen as equal rights. We would not say that “the rights of women need to be clarified and explicitly addressed in the Constitution” for that might already imply an invidious discrimination.
    The US Constitution guarantees to gays as to everyone else the human rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
    At present 31 American States have concluded that this entails the right to samesex marriage.
    It may well be that the groundwork for the forthcoming referendum has not been properly laid — but even when it were, the question whether marriage should be open to persons of the same sex would still have to be answered either Yes or No. The middle ways and alternative arrangements proposed by many who are reluctant to vote yes are either too vague and misty to be a matter for legislation at all or are indistinguishable from the current civil partnership legislation.

  8. Joe O'Leary says:

    “However, for a heterosexual couple, being infertile with one another is not a result of their being heterosexual; it can bring a deep sense of loss for those hoping to conceive. For a homosexual couple, being infertile with one another was never part of the equation. The two situations are profoundly different.”
    Different, but equal in respect of the pointlessness of degrees of kinship worries. And of course people who marry in their older years are usually not worried about childlessness at all. One of my aunts remarried at 70 to a 78 year old man — the State did not blink an eye — her marriage was treated as equal to any other.
    The categories of heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual are not referred to in the referendum. The need for samesex marriage is simply to guarantee the freedom of people to marry those they love.
    So it is not a question of “couples of homosexual orientation must be included under the definition of marriage” or “relationships of bisexual people precisely as bisexual”. As to polygamy and polyamory, marriage has never been tailored exactly to one’s sexual desires — its effect is rather to channel sexuality in a very specific direction of mutual commitment to one other (though we need not treat the heavy responsibilities of polygamous spouses in Africa as contemptible either).
    “effectively defining marriage now as a contract “in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex”, while denying that marriage is being re-defined.” It is not clear that marriage is being redefined by the addition of the clause “without distinction as to their sex”. Was the definition of the right to vote changed when it was extended from men to all citizens without distinction of sex?
    Does the recognition of civil divorce change the definition of marriage?
    Like many other institutions marriage is constantly subject to legal alterations, any of which a logician might make out to be changing the definition of marriage.

  9. Cornelius Martin says:

    Correction to 16 above, Frank “Litgvoet” is the guy’s name. His relationship with his partner is a homosexual one.
    The efforts at supporting marriage in the contributions above are mostly philosophical. This is a weakness in a liberal era characterised by valueless individualism. In the absence of religious belief people place demands on the political system whose actions, suffering as they do from a lack of spiritual nourishment create no distinction between opinion and truth or empirical reality.
    This referendum will be decided on sympathy.
    It is far too early in the history of gay marriage for social science to provide any light on say the impact of gay marriage on heterosexual marriage. For the same reason, the vast bulk of research on the outcomes for children are equally unknown because the scarcity of the historical gay marriages renders the 59 or so research findings pretty useless. In recent years those in the social science community involved have taken to personal and professional disparagement of each other’ motives in the research.
    What is known is the extent to which religious freedom is curtailed on foot of the introduction of gay marriage in the United States and Canada. That gay marriage requires such restriction casts doubt on as an institution.

  10. Cornelius Martin says:

    Gaudium et Spes, par 48-52 is quite clear about what marriage is – involving monogamy between man and woman, a set up mirroring the relationship between Christ and His bridegroom. (male cum female)
    The basis offered by Iggy Donovan for his voting intentions implies that Catholicism is just an arm of a secular state. religion that is captive to public life, to politics, is of little public use.
    The chief end of human beings is to glorify God and enjoy him for ever.
    All persons of same sex attraction who are baptised are part of the Church. All of them have to be welcomed by the Church and encouraged to discern their vocation in life within the teachings that the Church offers them.
    There is a confusion between two things in the lives of children. As the life experience of Norman Wisdom shows (in his version of it) children can adapt to the most appalling, negative childhood family experiences and “turn out all right.” But the possibility of “turning out all right” is not a criterion for optimal parenting. It is akin to playing God to seek to determine arbitrarily that a child should be systematically and needlessly denied a maternal (female) or parental (male) complementary support and love in their childhood and teens.
    In June 2013 Frank Litgovet, wrote this in the New York Times (The Misnomer of ‘Motherless’ Parenting) of his and his partner’s “daughter”: “SOMETIMES when my daughter, who is 7, is nicely cuddled up in her bed and I snuggle her, she calls me Mommy…My daughter says “Mommy” in a funny way, in a high-pitched voice…she expresses herself in a voice that is not her own. It is her stuffed-animal voice. She expresses not only love; she also expresses alienation. She can role-play the mother-daughter relationship, but she cannot use her real voice, nor have the real thing.”
    Asserting a fundamental right to be parents is not so much about the voices or feelings of the children but about those of their homosexual “dads” and “moms.”

  11. Pádraig McCarthy says:

    @10, 11 & 13: Joe O’Leary
    You wrote (10): “The push for gay marriage implies an effort to have more gay people follow a monogamous regime, with a secondary consideration of providing stability for children who may be being reared by a gay or lesbian individual or couple.”
    I agree that this is desirable. The question is what kind of civil legal provision best addresses this. You seem to presume that civil marriage as provided for heterosexual couples is the best response. You wrote: “If civil samesex marriage is necessary in order to boost monogamy among gays …” The “If” indicates that it is hypothetical: it is not clear that it is necessary, or that it is the best way to provide. Other ways are possible.
    11: “What Padraig says about ‘one size fits all’ equally applies to older or infertile heterosexual couples …” This is true. However, for a heterosexual couple, being infertile with one another is not a result of their being heterosexual; it can bring a deep sense of loss for those hoping to conceive. For a homosexual couple, being infertile with one another was never part of the equation. The two situations are profoundly different.
    13: “Actually, the possibility of having a child by adoption might be an issue affecting State recognition of infertile marriages, and it is also one of the reasons for legislating samesex marriages (to protect adopted children of gay couples) …” This is true, but it is not necessary to equate “State recognition of infertile marriages” and “legislating samesex marriages.” The question to be answered is whether same-sex marriage is the most appropriate way to achieve those ends. My opinion is that it is better for both same-sex couples and heterosexual couples to provide for each according to the distinctive kind of relationship.
    “I don’t see how the issues of population, health, economics and pensions, not to mention national security, are more effectively addressed by refusing samesex marriage.” I did not say that they are more effectively addressed in that way. I said that these matters are an important vital factor in the specific concern of the State with heterosexual marriage. Ireland did not have a comprehensive system of registration of marriages until 1864 – only 151 years ago,
    “Concern about “moving the line again to include under “Marriage” the relationships of those whose sexual orientation is bisexual” seems again superfluous. Bisexuals have always married …” Yes, people of homosexual orientation and bisexual orientation have always married, but into heterosexual marriage. The question we now face is whether there will be official State recognition of their relationships precisely as homosexual or bisexual; this is quite a different matter.
    “What it might curtail is the dishonesty whereby one spouse conceals (or is unaware of) his or her own sexuality, causing great suffering to the other spouse.” There is no dishonesty if a person is unaware of being homosexual or bisexual. There may be a temptation to “dishonesty” where the only sexual orientation officially recognized is heterosexual, and where the only official recognition of such a relationship is of the heterosexual. This is why it would be good to have State recognition of other relationships. This is not necessarily done by bringing them under the same banner as marriage as at present recognized. There may be some “dishonesty” (to use your word) in bringing them in together by effectively defining marriage now as a contract “in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex”, while denying that marriage is being re-defined.
    12: Andriú Ó Braonáin:
    First, may I address you comment: “Might I also point out your atrocious use of sexual orientation terminology, which to be quite honest I find highly insulting.”
    Please forgive me if you find my use of terminology highly insulting. I had no intention whatever of causing offence. I try to be careful to use straightforward factual terms; I am unaware of what precisely you find insulting. (This, of course, may seem to aggravate the insult.) I will be grateful if you can specify where you found the insulting terminology.
    “The first point you address is the specific concern of the effect of the referendum on personal relationships between citizens. The short answer is there will be none.”
    I did not write that the referendum would have an effect on personal relationships, although there could indeed be some. I asked why the State would be concerned at all regarding personal relationships, which is quite a different matter.
    Your comment on “legal jargon” and Bunreacht na hÉireann do not seem to relate to anything I wrote.
    “The main right same-sex couples want from a civil marriage which is not possible through a civil partnership is that of a legally recognized relationship with their child.” On the contrary, it is possible. Legislation for this is currently under debate.
    “This referendum will not diminish that relationship, for straight people will continue to get married. It will merely allow same-sex couples their due rights.”
    True, straight people will continue to marry. My point is that there are other possible and perhaps better ways to provide for same-sex couples.”
    “Bisexuality is a sexual orientation in which a person is attracted equally to both genders. This is entirely distinct from polygamy, which is not part of this referendum.”
    I know what bisexuality is. The point I made is that if we accept that couples of homosexual orientation must be included under the definition of marriage, we must ask whether we must accept the same for relationships of bisexual people precisely as bisexual; the same for polygamy and polyamory.
    Perhaps now some visitors to the website may address the two questions I posed, and to which I proposed my answers.

  12. Seamus Ahearne osa says:

    Iggy has written a very sensible and coherent comment on the Referendum. However, Padraig raises real and proper questions; those need to be respected and dealt with.
    There is something crude in the simplicity of the proposal for change in the Referendum. It can hardly be a Yes/No response. The previous Referendum re the Seanad showed how such a basic Yes/No proposal led to a shock for the Government in the response. It was clear that many wanted the Seanad reformed rather than abolished. Something similar may happen here.
    The official Church has been embarrassing and shameful in its treatment of homosexuals. Pope Francis redeemed the Church somewhat in his comments as he returned from Brazil. Kevin Doran’s comments, recently however, haven’t helped. There should have been a middle way involved in this Referendum. Those who vote No cannot be presumed to be against homosexual and their constitutional rights.
    The rights of homosexuals need to be clarified and explicitly expressed in the Constitution. That cannot be assumed to be Marriage. Marriage has to mean what it says – between a woman and a man. Surely there was/is a middle way and a third possibility. It cannot be beyond the legal minds to express that in a proposal. Or are we to be left in a quandary in the crudity of this Yes/No statement? Seamus Ahearne osa

  13. Joe O'Leary says:

    “The possibility or likelihood of the conception of a child is a real factor in a very large number of heterosexual relationships. Contraceptives or Assisted Human Reproduction do not change this. This is an important vital factor for population, health, economics and pensions in any civil society; even for its national security and future.”
    Actuallly, the possibility of having a child by adoption might be an issue affecting State recognition of infertile marriages, and it is also one of the reasons for legislating samesex marriages (to protect adopted children of gay couples). I don’t see how the issues of population, health, economics and pensions, not to mention national security, are more effectively addressed by refusing samesex marriage.
    Concern about “moving the line again to include under “Marriage” the relationships of those whose sexual orientation is bisexual” seems again superfluous. Bisexuals have always married, sometimes putting their homosexual side on hold; the nes legislation would just ensure that their choice of partner is a matter of choice rather than constraint. Of course there are many marriages in which one or even both of the spouses were homosexual, and the new legislation would not prevent anyone contracting such a marriage even if it tends to rule out the sexual and procreative possibilities of marriage. What it might curtail is the dishonesty whereby one spouse conceals (or is unaware of) his or her own sexuality, causing great suffering to the other spouse.

  14. Andrew Brennan says:

    Pádraig McCarthy,
    I began reading your comment, hoping that a coherent, intellectual argument would be made. I was sadly disappointed however. I would like to take this opportunity to point out some flaws in your argument.
    The first point you address is the specific concern of the effect of the referendum on personal relationships between citizens. The short answer is there will be none. Also, you appear to use some legal jargon which you do not have a good grasp of. Bunreacht na hÉirinn is the fundamental legal document on which all other legislation is based. If you read the Constitution, you would note that the gender of parties to be married are not once mentioned; they were merely implied in the legislation. Realistically, this legislation could be changed, but due to public interest, we are having a referendum.
    To respond to your second question; “Are same-sex relationships sufficiently “equal” that they can reasonably be both accommodated un [sic] the same set of legal provisions?”, I say of course they are. The main right same-sex couples want from a civil marriage which is not possible through a civil partnership is that of a legally recognized relationship with their child. This had nothing to do with the social implications of heterosexual relationships; which are profound, for without it I would not have been here to construct this comment. This referendum will not diminish that relationship, for straight people will continue to get married. It will merely allow same-sex couples their due rights, without negative impact on the children and all other citizens of this country.
    This is not intolerance. I am personally an atheist, and I visited this website hoping educate myself based on both for and against arguments with regard to this referendum. I sincerely encourage you to find a concrete, factual basis for your further arguments.
    Might I also point out your atrocious use of sexual orientation terminology, which to be quite honest I find highly insulting. Bisexuality is a sexual orientation in which a person is attracted equally to both genders. This is entirely distinct from polygamy, which is not part of this referendum.
    Is mise, le meas
    Aindriú Ó Braonáin

  15. Joe O'Leary says:

    What Padraig says about “one size fits all” equally applies to older or infertile heterosexual couples — prohibited degrees of affinity etc. are just as otiose in their regard as in regard to samesex marriage.

  16. Joe O'Leary says:

    “Is it a matter of indifference to us whether this foundation consists of two men, two women, or a man and a woman?”
    In fact there are a considerable number of families in Ireland already founded on the first two of these combinations as well as upon single parents. These do not take away at all from the majority situation of heterosexual marriage as family foundation.
    The civil recognition of the different kinds of family is not a matter of indifference but of a passionate belief that the welfare of both parents (or adoptive parents) and children is best assured by introducing “marriage equality.”
    Monogamy was perhaps originally introduced for the sake of giving children a stable environment. Then it became a moral and existential ideal linked with a new emphasis on love-marriage.
    The push for gay marriage implies an effort to have more gay people follow a monogamous regime, with a secondary consideration of providing stability for children who may be being reared by a gay or lesbian individual or couple.
    If civil samesex marriage is necessary in order to boost monogamy among gays and thus to increase the number of deep, creative, fruitful relationships, with immense good for the couples and for their community, then we must accept it not as a matter of indifference but as a matter of human progress.

  17. Pádraig McCarthy says:

    In relation to the Referendum on Same-sex marriage, we need to address at least two specific questions:
    What is the specific concern of civil law in addressing the issue: in this case, the personal relationships between citizens?
    In the matter of heterosexual relationships and same-sex relationships, are they sufficiently “equal” that they can reasonably be both accommodated un the same set of legal provisions?
    On the first question:
    I want full equality for all the people of Ireland. It is good when people love one another, and that the State protect and promote that insofar as a State can do. It makes sense for the State to be involved where there are social implications. The reason I disagree with Fr O’Donovan is that he does not take into account some significant factors; most of all the social consequences of heterosexual relationships. I disagree not on religious grounds, nor on grounds of moral values related to sexual relationships, but because it is highly unwise to enact legislation while omitting important facts.
    State concerns are seen in the restrictions it places on marriage. It sets a minimum age, insists that the persons be capable of understanding the nature and effect of the marriage, that they not be already validly married to a third party, and that one party to a marriage must be male and the other female. Then comes a list of Prohibited Degrees of Kindred and Affinity.
    On the second question:
    It may seem only fair to treat the committed relationships of heterosexual couples and homosexual couples with identical legislation in the Referendum. However, the social implications of heterosexual relationships are profound, and very different to those of homosexual relationships. The possibility or likelihood of the conception of a child is a real factor in a very large number of heterosexual relationships. Contraceptives or Assisted Human Reproduction do not change this. This is an important vital factor for population, health, economics and pensions  in any civil society; even for its national security and future.
    These implications are addressed in those Prohibited Degrees. This list could be shortened, but it would still be relevant. That same list would restrict homosexual relationships without good reason.
    This is why each kind of relationship needs its own full distinctive legislative framework in order to address the distinct scenarios, so the distinctive character of each can be respected. Not to do so disrespects both. To enact that “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex”, thereby including same-sex relationships equally under the same provisions as for marriage, may seem to be the simplest and fairest way to go, but it is simplistic.
    If, in the name of “equality”, we blur this fundamental difference between the two kinds of relationship, have we than any argument against moving the line again to include under “Marriage” the relationships of those whose sexual orientation is bisexual (the B in LGBT)?
    This is not intolerance
    We must not be afraid of the difference in the two kinds of relationship, nor paper over it. Meaningful equality means taking account of the differences so that the dignity of each person enjoys equal respect. We acknowledge and respect i the real differences between men and women, and this does not mean that we treat one as inferior to the other. We most certainly should take all steps to avoid that. This is not intolerance.
    Equally, to provide separately for same-sex relationships and opposite-sex relationships is not intolerance. It is respecting the reality. If we do not respect that difference, twenty years from now will we have any word in our language for what we now know as “Marriage”?
    It is possible to have deep and passionately held convictions without seeking to have those convictions imposed by the State on fellow citizens who do not share them and may have opposite convictions which are equally deep and passionately held. It works both ways. Those who have deep and passionately held convictions one either side about whether same-sex relationships should be legally equal to the marriage relationship as we know it now can do so without seeking to have those convictions imposed by the State on fellow citizens who do not share them and may have opposite convictions which are equally deep and passionately held.
    It concerns me that Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Minister James Reilly and Minister Aodhán Ó Riordáin have argued that a No vote will tell the international community that we are not a tolerant people. This is not true. The implication seems to be that a No vote will show we are homophobic. Are other jurisdictions concerned about what Ireland may think of their legislation? Ireland can decide our way of full inclusion, for very good reasons.
    Where there are real and relevant differences, not to make a distinction means imposing “one size fits all” when clearly it is not so. To make this distinction is not discrimination. It is good law. It is common sense. It is practical love in action. It is wisdom.
    Pádraig McCarthy

  18. Association of Catholic Priests says:

    Fr Eamon Conway responded to Iggy O Donovan’s article through a letter to the editor of the Irish Times (12/03/2015) and via Twitter.
    We carry his letter for the information of the followers of this website.
    Eamon Conway’s letter;
    Sir, – By taking their conscientiously held religious views into account when voting, Christians are no more “imposing” their convictions on their fellow citizens than are those who hold contrary religious views, or none at all.
    Fr O’Donovan’s contribution (“When we vote in referendums we legislate for all citizens not just members of a church”, Rite & Reason, March 10th) distracts from the core issue to be decided in the referendum – how we as citizens understand the nature of marriage. Article 41.3.1 of the Constitution states that the institution of marriage is the foundation upon which the family is founded. Is it a matter of indifference to us whether this foundation consists of two men, two women, or a man and a woman? This is what we have to decide.
    To vote against same-sex marriage is not, as Pope Francis has said, “to be ‘against’ anyone”, or “to judge those who think and feel differently”. It is simply to exercise one’s democratic right like everyone else in accordance with what one may believe is best for society. – Yours, etc,
    Rev EAMONN
    CONWAY, DD
    Professor, Department
    of Theology and
    Religious Studies,
    Mary Immaculate College,
    Limerick.

  19. Joe O'Leary says:

    “Marriage to me means a man and woman join together with the possibility of children. How can this be equated with same sex marriage?”
    a. The argument is for marriage equality not for marriage sameness.
    b. Marriage between a man and woman with NO possibility of children is not equated with marriage in which that possibility exists, but they are both given equal recognition and protection under the law.
    c. Given the legal equality rightly enjoyed by childless marriages, it is not such a big step to extend it to samesex marriages.

  20. Adrain, should we also discredit the ACP for posting your diatribe*? (* a forceful and bitter verbal attack against someone or something). And so much for the very clear Art.n 75 of the Constitution on the Church in the Modern World which you so readily ignore. There are valid arguments to be made on both sides of the equation. All I and others like me would ask for, is the space to be able to express them, and I credit the ACP for providing us with that on their website.

  21. Times change and so does our perceptions and awareness of ourselves and what it means to be human. Otherwise we would still have slavery, Christianity would still be forcing non-Christians, under pain of torture and death, to become Christians, women would not be able to vote, there would be no child protection laws, in fact Christianity would not have emerged from Judaism! Before we are labelled as female or male, lesbian or gay, Catholic or non-Catholic, we are human and belong to the human family. We are entitled to our rights as humans. By voting ‘yes’ we ensure that everyone is ensured of their human rights. By voting ‘yes’ people who disagree with the referendum can still hold on to their beliefs. By voting ‘yes’ we are, as Iggy O’Donovan reminds us, ‘giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s’ By voting ‘yes’ we are also ensuring that the human rights of future generations are safeguarded in law.

  22. Soline Humbert says:

    Can we have conversations WITH gay people,our brothers and sisters in the church &in the world rather than just ABOUT them? Can we listen to them,truly listen to them?Are we open to learn,to receive their God-given gifts and to be enriched by them,to change ?….After all Jesus met the Syro-Phoenician woman and had his mind changed by the encounter. She gave him the gift of an enlarged vision,as he let go of his narrow sense of mission.We are all benefiting from her faith and loving courage and Jesus’humility as “he grew in grace and wisdom”,not in a vacuum but with the help of the people around him,like that “pagan woman”. Who would have thought? A most unlikely person in many people’s eyes?What a surprise!
    What is the Holy Spirit telling us today through our lgbtqi brothers and sisters?http://www.gcvi.ie/index.php/in-the-media/92-we-need-to-talk

  23. Adrian Grenham says:

    Pope Francis has stated very clearly that ‘The family is also threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage’.
    I suppose we must now count Fr Iggy as one of those threats – and the ACP as completely discredietd in reproducing his diatribe.

  24. The upcoming Referendum as I see it has nothing to do with religion. Marriage to me means a man and woman join together with the possibility of children. How can this be equated with same sex marraige. I know many loving Gay couples and I wish them all the happiness in the world but I think that there has to be a better solution to this dilemma e.g. Create a legal framework that is unique for same sex couples. You only have to watch programmes like Long Lost Families to understand the primal need for human beings to know who they are and where they come from . Equality is fine as long as it includes every persons rights .We all have a responsibility to future generations who will be most affected by decisions we make now.
    What seems right now might have serious implications for society in fifty years time.

  25. Fr. Iggy. you have my complete respect. And what a well thought-out and balanced analysis. Those who despair at the current trend of enlightened liberal thought among the majority of Irish people and long for a return of the “Golden Age”, would do well to read another excellent analysis, one by Gene Kerrigan in last Sunday’s Sunday Independent, p28, “We led the fight for family values”.

Join the Discussion

Keep the following in mind when writing a comment

  • Your comment must include your full name, and email. (email will not be published). You may be contacted by email, and it is possible you might be requested to supply your postal address to verify your identity.
  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger. Comments containing vulgarities, personalised insults, slanders or accusations shall be deleted.
  • Keep to the point. Deliberate digressions don't aid the discussion.
  • Including multiple links or coding in your comment will increase the chances of it being automati cally marked as spam.
  • Posts that are merely links to other sites or lengthy quotes may not be published.
  • Brevity. Like homilies keep you comments as short as possible; continued repetitions of a point over various threads will not be published.
  • The decision to publish or not publish a comment is made by the site editor. It will not be possible to reply individually to those whose comments are not published.