Discuss church-state separation issues that are relevant in Ireland.
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While reading thro' the posts today on the formation of IAA and the separation of religion and state what comes on the RTE news but Cardinal Brady complaining about the legislation enabling civil unions for gay persons. It brought home the need for a more aggressive body to challenge this type of unilateral vox pop that RTE constantly churn out unopposed. They are required to achieve balance in political broacast but there doesn't seem to be any attempt at balance when these celibates attempt to control our lives. Bring on the IAA and lets tell Brady and the rest of his bunch to butt out and if he was more vigilant of the deviants and rapists in his own church we as a society wouldn't be 1.5billion out of pocket.
Emer O'Kelly Article from Sunday Independant 9 Nov 2008
http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analy ... 29943.htmlLove lives of the nation are not your affair, Cardinal
Emer O'Kelly takes issue with Cardinal Brady's pronouncements on marriage and on same-sex unions
THE Christian churches regard marriage as one of seven sacraments. The Roman Catholic Church regards it as an indissoluble bond. In practical terms, this means, for instance, that the former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is still married to his separated wife Miriam. It means that his former life partner Celia Larkin, who acknowledges, as Mr Ahern does, that they had a sexual, live-in relationship, was committing the sin of fornication (sexual intercourse without benefit of matrimony) while Mr Ahern was committing the same sin, and was also committing the sin of adultery (sexual intercourse with a person other than his sacramental wife.) That will remain the situation even if Mr Ahern and Mrs Ahern were to divorce; the Roman Catholic Church does not recognise divorce between sacramentally married couples. And no amount of civil law can change that.
Fair enough; although it is amazing how many Catholics confuse civil law with church law, and believe that because a liaison is recognised by society (informally), or the law of civil contract (as in a marriage ceremony performed in a registry office), it should also be recognised by the Church as acceptable.
For generations in Ireland, the Roman Catholic Church had its long nose not merely in people's houses, but in their beds. It ensured that civil law did not permit any bedtime shenanigans unsanctioned by its canonical requirements; contraception was banned in Irish law because the Church banned it (and still does).
Divorce was banned legally in Irish law because the Church banned it; Irish divorce to this day bears the shadow of a Roman collar on it: all the rights and privileges belong to the 'first' (ie: the 'real' family). A second wife is treated for inheritance purposes like the harlot the Church believes her to be. This is fair enough if the contracting partners to a second (or illegitimate in the eyes of the Church) marriage believe themselves to be Catholics, even those of the a la carte variety.
It only becomes a problem when the contracting partners are not Catholics of any hue, possibly not believing Christians, or believing anything else. The Catholic Church claims to believe in the separation of Church and State. But every time there has been a move to implement any kind of social legislation which allows behaviour inimical to Catholic social requirements, the Church starts talking about, not its own teaching, but about the "natural law".
For centuries those who view the world through rational spectacles have been able to see through this device: "natural law" is the law for which there is no logic, merely a superstitious and partisan prejudice.
There are even some provisions in our Constitution which bear the hallmark of the "natural law". A woman not being "forced" to work outside the home to the detriment of her "duties" there is one. And another, believe it or not, is the special status granted to the family based on marriage between man and woman.
Because until comparatively recently, marriage was a rarity, coming into usage only where property was concerned. Where there was no material wealth, people merely mated. Sometimes they later "legitimised" their mating, particularly if the liaison was found to be usefully fertile. In fact for hundreds of years, a female bump was almost an indispensable adjunct to the marriage ceremony being performed in church, unless, of course, you were rich and powerful.
It was only with the rise of a middle class that marriage became popular, when wily merchants saw the value of their daughters as the price of social advancement, and sold them to work their way up the social ladder. The Church joined in the pretence, usually after being paid as handsomely as the prospective husband's family, and the solemn sacrament of matrimony was born. Not a bit nice; certainly not a bit spiritual. But very financially viable.
Yet this rather sordid little tradition is now being paraded as some kind of mystical state deserving of unique status. At least that's what Cardinal Sean Brady said last week when he addressed the Ceifin conference in Clare.
He is horrified that Ireland is about to introduce legislation which "encourages cohabitation and dissolves the special status of marriage". And to protect the "moral integrity of the word of God", the Church may decide to go to the civil courts.
He was referring to the proposed Civil Partnership Bill which will give protection to same-sex and co-habiting couples. (One could be really beastly and ask why the good Cardinal is bothered about such couples, since they're outside the remit of the Church, having effectively ex-communicated themselves through their deeply sinful lifestyles. But that's another issue.)
And he went on comprehensively to insult single parents: "Other [than marital] relationships, whether they are sexual or not, do not have the same fundamental relationship to the good of society and to the bringing up of children."
The Cardinal has obviously failed to read newspaper reports of court cases where fathers (and occasionally mothers) living in duly solemnised marital bonds, have been found guilty of the most terrible abuses (including sexual) of their children. He also nodded to social concern by pointing out that "children born outside marriage are more likely to do worse at school and suffer poorer health . . ."
Em, excuse me, Your Eminence, can I just remind you that having spent your adult life having your meals cooked for you and your bedlinen changed for you by housekeepers paid for by your employers, the reason kids from single households are often in poorer health than those whose parents are married, is poverty. And poverty isn't improved by further marginalising single parents. It's solved by giving them the same social rights and privileges as married couples so that their children don't suffer marginalisation.
And yes, if children are neglected and brutalised, the social services should step in and take immediate and decisive action. They should do that, Your Eminence, even where the parents are married. But isn't there something in the Church's attitude which says that the family of married parents is the natural place for children to be: something about the inalienable rights of the parent over those of the State? Or is that only the inalienable right of the married parent? But, of course, I'm forgetting: your lot tried to stop a health service being introduced for poor children.
And as for gay men and women, we all know that they're going to hell when they die. At least that's what the Church teaches unless they agree to live celibate lives. So why do you want to condemn them to a living hell here on earth: isn't an after-life of fire and brimstone enough to satisfy you? Why do you want to stop them having the dignity of publicly committing their love to each other?
Because that's what marriage should be, and sometimes is: a way of saying something about love that can't be said any other way. And in our complex society, it brings legal strings and conditions with it to protect those who have so committed.
Sounds beautiful, doesn't it? It is beautiful, Your Eminence. Joyous, warm, generous, transcendent. And I'm afraid, Sir, that the sacramental bit of it runs a very poor second to that. It certainly has nothing to do with the protection of children's vulnerability.
The desire for all of those are part of being human, not about Canon Law or Church privilege. And you have damn all right to stick your ecclesiastical nose into the love lives of the nation. You see, that's what we're talking about, Cardinal. Love.
What a fantastic article. And great to see in the Indo. Hope it draws the Cardinal into further debate, he's on a hiding to nothing.
“What we call chaos is just patterns we haven't recognized. What we call random is just patterns we can't decipher. What we can't understand we call nonsense. There is no free will. There are no variables. There is only the inevitable.” Chuck Palahniuk
Great article...reflects everything secularist/atheists would be only too ready too ready to argue if only given the opportunity... but the obseqious attitude of the media to the RCC in this state, particularly RTE, consistently gives the likes of Brady/Connell un-opposed use of their pulpit on the 'national' airwaves. If the proposed Association is to mean anything it must assemble recognised spokespersons to challenge this monopoly position.