Dublin Archbishop defends traditional marriage from political attacks

Ireland's ruling coalition government is seeking to redefine marriage to include same-sex unions.
Thu Mar 17, 2011 - 6:30 pm EST

DUBLIN, March 17, 2011 ( - Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin defended traditional marriage in the midst of a looming political attack during an address before the Mater Dei Institute of Education this past Tuesday.

“The Irish Constitution clearly carves out a special role for the family.  The legal presumption is that the definition of the family in the Constitution is one based on marriage between a man and a woman,” the archbishop commented, according to the Iona Institute.  “In line with most European countries Ireland recognises the fundamental difference between marriage and other forms of relationship.”

The archbishop’s comments come in the wake of a proposal on the part of Ireland’s two ruling political parties, Fine Gael and the Labor Party, for a Constitutional Convention to redraft the Irish Constitution. Among the changes proposed is the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex unions.

The Fine Gael party replaced Fianna Fail as the new Parliamentary majority in the general election at the end of February. The socially liberal Labor Party also won 17 new seats, bringing its representation up to 37, preventing Fine Gael from obtaining a governing majority.

The two ruling parties issued their proposal for redrafting the Constitution in a March 6th document entitled Towards Recovery: Program for a National Government 2011-2016.

In response to criticism that Ireland’s old constitution was unduly influenced by the Church, Archbishop Martin commented that the Irish Constitution has “served the people of Ireland well,” and that it is “far from being some sort of unquestioning regurgitation of sectarian Catholic principles as some simplistic caricatures of it would seem to imply.”

The Catholic Church, said the cleric, must have the freedom to “take positions that are culturally unpopular,” otherwise “the life of the Church becomes a sort of civil religion, politically correct, but without the cutting edge of the Gospel.”

  diarmuid martin, ireland, marriage

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