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Saturday, October 21, 2006

BISHOP TARTAGLIA ON MARRIAGE
Bishop Philip Tartaglia of Paisley in this homily to members of the legal profession during the annual Red Mass on Oct. 8 in St. Mary's Cathedral, attacked the raft of legislative measures in Scotland and elsewhere which have recklessly jeopardized family life as intended by God's purpose for human beings created in his image and likeness. The family constituted by parents, a man and woman married to each other, and their offspring, he said has, until now, been the basic cell of society in pre-Christian, Christian and non-Christian cultures for millennia.

The bishop outlined some of these: The Family Law Act which makes divorce even quicker and gives quasi-marital status to de facto heterosexual unions. Civil Partnership legislation allows homosexual couples to register their relationships and enjoy a civil status analogous to marriage. The Gender Recognition Act allows people to choose to be male or female irrespective of their sex. The Catholic Church's view of these kinds of developments here and elsewhere is well known. Our reaction to civil partnership legislation is typical of our stance. The social teaching of the Church could not be clearer: he quoted: 'By putting homosexual unions on a legal plane analogous to that of marriage and family life, the State acts arbitrarily and in contradiction with its duties'.

Continuing, the bishop said, that the legistrators should know better what is good for society, and in some cases they do know better but ignore it in the interests of power. For instance, all reputable research shows that children do better with two parents who are husband and wife. But political correctness, very often the enemy of right thinking and freedom of speech, practically forbids this to be said because it will offend some group's sensitivities.

Bishop Philip's main objection to these laws, he said, was that the truth of marriage and of the family is not just a mystery of faith, but belongs to the natural law and is accessible by reason. Even many non-Christian societies have recognized this. Unfortunately, in our times, the minds of many have been so darkened by hubris and by the selfish pursuit of their own gratification that they have lost sight of the natural law which God has written into his creation so that even those who do not believe in him may reach out for the truth. It is the vision of marriage, which still basically unites Christians, Jews, Muslims, and adherents of other respected religions. It is the vision of marriage too, which basically inspires any man and woman who marry with true love in their hearts. They want lasting, enduring, faithful love. This vision of marriage is the hope of right reason as well the gift of faith.

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