ARCHBISHOP MARTIN AND GAY CIVIL UNIONS
(1) Dublin's Archbishop Diarmuid Martin Supports Gay Civil Unions
Extract from article in "The Iona Catholic" Blog 22 December 2008
Dublin's Diarmuid Martin is still refusing to endorse the Catholic Church's opposition to the legalisation of Civil Unions for homosexuals.
His comments in the last few weeks have angered a large number of lay people (he says he has received a lot of phone calls about his earlier comments) and forced him lament peoples' misunderstanding of what he said.
People understand very well what he means.
He is all in favour of the legalisation of Gay Unions, but he wants to support it by use of dog whistles and ambiguous phrases. What he consistently refuses to do, is to say, in union with the Catholic Church - that homosexual acts are immoral and that he is opposed to the legalisation of civil unions. He just has to say this and all mis-understandings are wiped away immediately.
We read today that he has spend almost half a million during up the Archbishop's Palace for himself, and that he's been out of the Diocese for 53 days since August.
That old joke about 'St Martin de Tours' appears to be correct after all.
But the most important issue is the Archbishop's attempt to undermine the Catholic position on marriage, the very fine defense of marriage by Cardinal Sean Brady.
For this alone - I think it's time for Diarmuid to be promoted by the Vatican to a position where he can do less damage that at present.
In Mid December, Archbishop Martin had the following letter in The Irish Catholic:
I am surprised at the comments of your columnist, Mr David Quinn, (Dec 4) on my remarks at a Press Conference at the conclusion of the Winter meeting of the Irish Episcopal Conference and in my subsequent letter to the Irish Times.
On both occasions I clearly indicated that I "was supportive of the basic content of Cardinal Brady's position on the Bill and of his comments made at the recent Ceifin conference", yet Mr Quinn continues to insinuate that in my comments I was placing my myself at odds with those of Cardinal Brady.
I spoke of the contribution of "the family based on marriage, that is, on the mutual and exclusive love of husband and wife" as "unique and irreplaceable". I fail to understand how Mr Quinn could interpret as being "remarkably conciliatory" to any Government which would propose to accord rights belonging to marriage to civil unions.
The debate about civil unions is precisely about a situation in which the mutuality of the sexes is no longer seen as something anthropologically unique and irreplaceable, but simply a cultural construct which can be adapted and changed. That is the central issue which the Church should be addressing in her catechesis and in her witness towards society.
(2) Archbishop Martin's Odd Remarks on Gay Civil Unions
Five years ago, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (as he was then) issued an excellent document on the subject of granting legal recognition to same-sex couples. It is called Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons.
In one critical passage, the document stated: ''In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognised or have been given legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty.''
Last month, Cardinal Seán Brady offered such opposition in an excellent speech, delivered at the Ceifin annual conference. The Bishops' Conference itself has offered no opposition to date. Nor has any other bishop.
When Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has spoken on the subject his statements have been unclear and, from a Government point of view, remarkably conciliatory.
Last week was a case in point. Asked by reporters whether the bishops supported Cardinal Brady's speech, Archbishop Martin said they did, but that they might have put things differently.
An observer could be forgiven for thinking he was trying to put some clear blue water between himself and the cardinal. Presumably he wasn't, but he should have made that absolutely clear.
In a follow-up letter to The Irish Times, he said it was important to put the positive case for marriage. The above mentioned Vatican document does that. So did Cardinal Brady's speech. In fact, the only tough language in that speech was reserved for the Government, which is as it should be.
Archbishop Martin also said something very mysterious to reporters. He said that while the Church believed marriage had to be between a man and a woman, ''it is not against other forms of intimacy''.
What did he mean? The context would indicate that he meant sexually intimate relationships, but he can't have meant that because it is not what the Church believes. He should have made it plain what kind of relationships he had in mind. He didn't do this in his remarks to reporters, or in his subsequent letter.
He also said in his letter that he supports granting certain rights to those individuals in other kinds of intimate relationships. So does Cardinal Brady. So do I for that matter. But what rights does he have in mind? Again, what relationships does he have in mind?
The Government will shortly be publishing its Civil Partnerships Bill. Cardinal Brady's speech indicated it can expect strong opposition from the Church. Archbishop Martin's remarks, taken at face value, indicate it will face little if any opposition. What is the Government to think?
Cardinal Brady hinted strongly at taking a constitutional challenge against the Bill. Does Archbishop Martin think this is the way to go? Does the Bishops' Conference?