DUBLIN, Ireland, February 18, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Faithful Catholics in Dublin are in an uproar over their own bishop. While homosexual activists are working hard in Ireland in the build-up to a national referendum on “gay marriage,” Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has suggested civil recognition of homosexual relationships as an alternative, a notion that runs counter to established Vatican teaching.
“I believe that there are ways in which, civil registrations for example, in which gay and lesbian people can have their rights respected and legally protected,” said Archbishop Martin in an interview with the state broadcaster RTÉ.
“There can be ways in which gay people can celebrate their togetherness, their love for one another, but it isn’t marriage,” he added. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that a civil partnership is somewhat of less value than marriage.”
In contrast, the Vatican teaching on the matter is clear and emphatic. The 2003 Vatican document, ordered published by Pope John Paul II and signed by then-Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, states: “When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it.” The document adds, “To vote in favour of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.”
Anthony Murphy, chairman of Catholics United for the Faith Ireland, told LifeSiteNews that the archbishop’s comments are “disturbing.” How is it possible, he asked, “for the Church to ever sanction the celebration of mortal sin which is what homosexual acts are – grave and mortal sin — so how is it possible to celebrate this act ever?”
Murphy wondered what message the Archbishop’s comments were sending “to those who suffer with same sex attraction and struggle to live faithful lives according to the teaching of Christ.”
“I am surprised that the archbishop did not use the interview to promote Church teaching on chastity so that rather than celebrate these relationships we could encourage them to embrace God’s Love and live celibate lifestyles,” he added. “It is little wonder that there is so much confusion and scandal amongst the hard pressed laity when our shepherds lack the courage to preach the Truth.”
Murphy and his group have written Archbishop Martin to ask for clarification of his remarks.
LifeSiteNews asked Annette O’Donnell, communications director for the Archdiocese of Dublin, for a clarification, asking whether Archbishop Martin believes that homosexual sexual acts are always immoral, even when in an exclusive same-sex relationship; and why, exactly, the Catholic Church refuses “to accept the loving sexual union of two men in a committed relationship.”
LifeSiteNews also asked whether the Catholic Church in Ireland still opposes civil recognition of homosexual relationships as well as same-sex “marriage,” and whether it opposes the adoption of children by homosexual partners.
O’Donnell replied only that Archbishop Martin “is not available for further media interviews for the moment. The interview he gave to Irish radio was very comprehensive, and answers many of the questions you have put.”
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“He also gave a comprehensive interview to the Irish Independent the following day,” added O’Donnell.
But neither in his RTÉ interview nor in his interview with the Irish Independent, did Archbishop Martin make mention of the Catholic teaching on the sinful nature of homosexual acts or give any reasons for the Church’s opposition to “gay adoption” or “gay marriage” or civil unions. Instead he said, “Anybody who doesn’t show love towards gay and lesbian people is insulting God. They are not just homophobic if they do that — they are actually Godophobic because God loves every one of those people.”
In the RTÉ interview as well, Archbishop Martin entertained the idea of ‘homophobia’ in the Catholic Church. “People in the Catholic Church may be homophobic,” he said. “Certainly the teaching of the Catholic Church could be used in a homophobic way.”
Catholics United for the Faith Ireland’s Murphy took issue with the Archbishop’s use of the term ‘homophobic.’ “The definition of homophobia is to have an irrational fear or hatred of homosexuals,” Murphy said. “Is he seriously suggesting that when Pope Francis calls same sex ‘marriage’ a machination of the devil that this is homophobic? Or that when previous Popes have called same sex relationships intrinsically disordered that this is homophobic?”
Murphy said, “Catholics are called to love the sinner and pray for their conversion. Is the archbishop suggesting that this approach is homophobic? Just what is he saying?”
Titled Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons, the 2003 Vatican document explains, “The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions.”
“The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society,” it continues. “Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behaviour, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity.”
Murphy concluded, “It is quite remarkable and potentially damaging that the archbishop would choose to enter the debate over the redefinition of marriage in such a way especially when recent surveys suggest that many who call themselves Catholic support the aberration of same sex ‘marriage.’
“It is time for the shepherds of the Church to defend the flock and preach the Truth of the Gospel rather than the compromised half truth which we have become so used to in Ireland,” he added.
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Piazza del S. Uffizio, 11, 00193 Roma, Italy
Cardinal Séan Brady, Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland
Ara Coeli, Cathedral Rd.
Armagh Northern Ireland
Tel: +44 (0)28 3752 2045
Fax: +44 (0)28 3752 6182
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin
Drumcondra, Dublin 6
Tel: +353 (0)1 837 3732
Fax: +353 (0)1 836 9796
For hints on effective communications, especially with Church leaders, see our document here.