Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ireland’s Catholic Bishops “very concerned” about the Civil Partnership Bill

The statement by Ireland's Catholic Bishops on Civil Partnerships is to be welcomed. The Bishops told a press conference on Thursday that there is an obligation to protect and promote marriage and family life in Ireland. The Bishops in a comprehensive statement titled “Why Marriage Matters”, released on Thursday describe the provisions in the Civil Partnership Bill currently before the Dail ( Irish Parliament) as
“an extraordinary and far-reaching attack on freedom of conscience and the free practices of religion – which are guaranteed to every citizen under the Constitution”.

Bishop Christopher Jones of Elphin, according to an Irish Times report told the press conference, “We are really very concerned that the Civil Partnership Bill is going to undermine marriage by conferring all the rights on same-sex unions as marriage, equating same-sex union to marriage itself.”

On the refusal by Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern to allow an opt-out clause for people who had conscience problems when it came to association or involvement with same-sex ceremonies, he said the bishops were “very worried about that. Very worried.” They (The Bishops) had expressed these concerns to the secretary general of the Department of Justice and his officials, he said.

In the Why Marriage Matters statement, the bishop said anyone “who conscientiously refuses to carry out such a (same-sex) ceremony will face a fine and up to six months in prison”.

It was he said, “a grave injustice if the State ignores the unique and proper place of husbands and wives, the place of mothers and fathers, and especially the rights of children, who deserve from society a clear understanding of marriage as they grow to sexual maturity.”

[…] “A same-sex couple cannot be husband and wife. A same-sex couple cannot procreate a child through the sexual act which expresses married love.

see my previous BLOGS on this issue from last October and December