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February 23, 2011



Is the essay available in an English translation? It should also be noted that the recent statement by the Archbishop of Southwark does not quite match the more nuanced remarks about same-sex unions from his brother Archbishop of Westminster. An interesting canonical prospect arises amongst some of the Church's older 'exempt' religious orders - Benedictines,Carmelites, Dominicans, Franciscans -
as to what might happen if they chose to make their property, including church or chapel, available for the celebration of such
unions. Given that the Church does not recognise such unions as Sacramental, and given that exempt religious orders are subject to the authority of the local hierarchy only in the conduct of the Liturgy and Sacraments, there would be little the local bishop(s) could do, apart from expressing displeasure.


The bishops should instead be lobbying for the abolition of civil marriage (leaving it to the various religions or secular voluntary societies) and its complete replacement with civil partnerships, which would also be open to those in non-conjugal living arrangements, such as carers or elderly siblings. A secular state will always make a mess of the institution of marriage anyway.


I don't agree with all of it but Mundabor has some interesting comments on this:


The English bishops said nothing about civil partnerships; isn't this recent intervention a case of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.

Spirit of Vatican II

Mundabor is just hate speech. The arguments for civil partnerships and even gay marriage just grow stronger every day and the irrational reactions of opposition are only strengthening them. Since bishops have made no serious effort to practice open discussion in ragard to these issues, is it any wonder that everything they say sounds so pathetically feeble?

Neville DeVilliers

The authority of the Church itself is crumbling. Not only in the area of gay unions/marriage, the ordination of women etc, but the entire medieval package deal of relics, hoaxes, trumped up miracles and other side-show acts to command obedience and control. The moral authority of all from the pope on down is being toppled by a laity who have had it with these clowns. It's as if Samson had returned to bring down the pillars of the temple.

Spirit of Vatican II

Abp Celestino Migliore assured the UN some time ago that the Vatican is not in support of criminalization of consensual sexual behavior between adults. Now this seems to be rescinded by his successor: http://www.radiovaticana.org/EN1/Articolo.asp?c=471925


Andrew Sullivan was not in favour of gay marriage in his book "Virtually Normal" - it's a mistake to think that every one who is not straight, is in favour of it. He may or may not have changed his mind since, but even if he has, the conclusion is not affected.

STM the problem for the Teaching Church is that, if even blessing a same-sex union (which would seem to be a good compromise) is out of the question, far more will anything that looks even more like marriage.

Unless the TC can find a way of understanding SSA as an authentic form of Christian love, as indeed a gift of God, one given to build up the Church as a whole, I don't think the TC will ever be morally convinced that it is within the competence of the Church to bless such unions - I think the TC would find morally impossible to do so.

The Church, including the TC - not against or excluding it - will presumably need to be satisfied dogmatically, pastorally, Biblically (& in every other way significant for the "mind of the Church") that to approve a form of life it has hitherto rejected does not amount to unfaithfulness to its mission & to Christ.

Nothing is gained by not seeing things from the POV of the Teaching Church. Trashing the teaching of the Church is not the way ahead, if one is to stay Catholic.

Louis E.

Same-sex sexual relationships harm those in them by enabling each other's unhealthy desires,and those exposed to them by setting a bad example.To treat them as a legitimate course of action is to expose oneself as wholly lacking in moral fiber.

Spirit of Vatican II

Yes, of course these are all considerations to be pondered. But as Louis E. points out elsewhere, the teachings of Vatican II on many points are a dramatic reversal of what went before (on ecumenism, interreligious dialogue, Judaism, religious freedom, for example). I think it very possible that a theological development will come to recognize the value of contraceptive and samesex sexual behavior within the context of a loving relationship -- as indeed the majority of ordinary Catholics already do.

I have not read Sullivan's book, but according to this link it does advocate gay marriage: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtually_Normal:_An_Argument_About_Homosexuality

Amy Huber

It is true that marriage is a sacred union of two opposite sexes. From this alone, we can identify that it is not for two same sexes. I am against gay marriage.

Spirit of Vatican II

"It is true that marriage is a sacred union of two opposite sexes."

Alain Daniélou's translation of the Kama Sutra suggests that gay marriage was recognized in classical India. Marriage has been a very flexible institution even within Catholicism. See Noonan, The Church that Can and Cannot Change.


The union between two people is not about Religion, beliefs, norms and gender. It's about the happiness of the people involved.

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