This month, the Constitutional Assembly of Ireland is to discuss a referendum on legalizing gay marriage. Irish Bishops Conference (IBC) gave a tough warning to the Government against legalizing such unions. Otherwise, the Catholic Church will refuse to support the state system of registration of marriages.
For Ireland this is a serious protest, because in order to be legally recognized, a marriage must be certified by one of the 5,600 members of the special register. Approximately 4,300 of them are Catholic priests who conduct nearly 70 percent of all wedding ceremonies. In the event that the threat is fulfilled, the system of marriage registration is expected to collapse. The bishops wrote in their appeal that the legalization of same-sex marriage would lead to the relegation of the institution of marriage to any sexual relationship between two people, which threatens the survival of the family and society, the Irish Examiner quoted. The statement concluded that marriage would no longer be the institution that is the foundation of the family and society.
The Catholic bishops of Ireland also warned that the church would not be able to perform its civic duty in the event that the legal definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman is changed. Marriage is not a private shop, but a social institution, developed mainly in the interests of raising children, wrote the bishops. They refer to scientific studies that indicate that the best results in raising children are achieved by two parents - father and mother in a stable marriage.
This is the first organized protest of the Catholic Church, which is surprising for an Irish society that does not share the views of their guides. The survey conducted in late 2012 by the Institute of Millward Brown Lansdowne (MBL) showed that 75 percent of Irish people would say "yes" in a referendum on the legalization of gay and lesbian marriage. In 2008, this number was 63 percent. Only people over 65 years of age demonstrated denial of this possibility. As for official adoption of children by same-sex couples, 54 percent of respondents believe that it should be allowed.
Politicians do not hear the voice of the Catholic Church of Ireland either. No major politician has expressed support for traditional values. On the contrary, Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland Eamon Gilmore called for the urgent implementation of the referendum. He believes it's time for gays and lesbians to get access to the institution of marriage. "I do not think we have to delay the adoption of what is a human right," Gilmore said in an interview with radio station RTE. Former Irish President Mary McAleese said that the Catholic Church, and its intolerance of gays in part is responsible for the growing number of young people who take their own lives.
Ireland has always been a strict Catholic country, and the speed and ease with which this issue has evolved from a tiny minority to the concerns of the cultural number one issue, is truly amazing. Until recently, all attempts to recognize same-sex marriages were not supported by the community. The last attempt ended in a failure in 2007. But already in 2010, Ireland adopted the law "On civil partnerships", which gave equal rights to homosexual and heterosexual marriages.
This result is not only a well-paid propaganda of "civilized" same-sex cohabitation trend in the Western society, but also the reduction of the influence of the Church. Its power, and, most importantly, the people's faith, was strongly shaken in 2009 after a publication of a detailed report that was the basis of charging 46 Irish priests with pedophilia. They were accused of abusing two thousand children in Dublin alone. It is no accident that the archbishop of Dublin Dermut Martin noted the growing alienation between the church and the youth.
He said that young people begin to shy away from any contact with the Church at a very early age, including attendance of a Sunday Mass. According to an MBL survey conducted in 2012, only 47 percent of the Irish called themselves believers, while in 2005 this number was an impressive 69 percent. Archbishop Martin said that what was now happening in Ireland was a tragedy, and not only the horrors of sexual abuse. He added that it was the fact that the Church has failed in an attempt to pass on the faith to future generations
Sometimes, however, morality still prevails. Senator David Norris, who openly announced his homosexuality, did not secure the support of 20 senators to get a presidential nomination. It is nice to see that among the general mayhem in Europe, the Catholic Church of Ireland dared to organize a protest. According to Archbishop Martin Dermut, restoration of morality is slow, but some glimmers of hope are still there.
Perhaps they will turn into a flood of light coming from the papacy of Pope Francis. He spoke strongly against the legalization of same-sex marriage in Argentina in 2010, calling it a "destructive attack on the divine plan." He also referred to the adoption of children by same-sex couples as pedophilia and discrimination against children. The last gay pride parade in Dublin gathered 30,000 participants. In the EU, the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, Norway, Spain and Sweden recognize the legal marriage between gays and lesbians, and recently they were joined by France and Britain.
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