Marriage: A Unique Relationship

By Father John Flynn, LC

ROME, December 14, 2014 (

In May next year Ireland will vote on a proposal to legalize same-sex marriage. The bishops of Ireland have recently published a pastoral statement which said that “to redefine the nature of marriage would be to undermine it as the fundamental building block of our society.”

The statement was published in English, Irish and Polish and included a couple of prayers for marriage and the family.  

The bishops started their message by insisting that marriage is a unique form of love between a man and a woman that has special benefits for society. It is, they affirmed, “the single most important institution in any society.”

Re-defining marriage would undermine it and damage society, the statement argued. The understanding that marriage is between a man and a woman is present in all cultures and therefore maintaining this definition is not an act of discrimination or exclusion.

The Church, the statement pointed out in quoting the Catechism, teaches that persons who are homosexual must be treated with sensitivity, compassion and respect.

“It is not lacking in sensitivity or respect for people who are homosexual, however, to point out that same sex relationships are fundamentally and objectively different from opposite sex relationships and that society values the complementary roles of mothers and fathers in the generation and upbringing of children,” they explained.

The bishops also pointed out that children have a natural right to both a father and a mother and that this situation provides them with the best circumstances in which to be brought up. “It is therefore deserving of special recognition and promotion by the State,” they concluded.

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