Sunday, August 26, 2012

From The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland


From The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, a letter to be read at all Masses today, on what has been designated "National Marriage Sunday":
In all things, we as Catholics look to Jesus Christ as our model and teacher. When asked about marriage He gave a profound and rich reply: “Have you not read that the Creator, from the beginning, ‘made them male and female’, and said: ‘This is why a man must leave father and mother and cling to his wife and the two become one body’.” (Matthew, 19: 4-5) In the Year of Faith, which begins this October, we wish to place a special emphasis on the role of the family founded on marriage. The family is the domestic Church, and the first place in which the faith is transmitted. For that reason it must have a primary focus in our prayerful considerations during this period of grace. We write to you having already expressed our deep disappointment that the Scottish Government has decided to redefine marriage and legislate for same-sex marriage. We take this opportunity to thank you for your past support in defense of marriage and hope you will continue to act against efforts to redefine it. We reaffirm before you all the common wisdom of humanity and the revealed faith of the Church that marriage is a unique life-long union of a man and a woman. In circumstances when the true nature of marriage is being obscured, we wish to affirm and celebrate the truth and beauty of the Sacrament of Matrimony and family life as Jesus revealed it; to do something new to support marriage and family life in the Catholic community and in the country; and to reinforce the vocation of marriage and the pastoral care of families which takes in the everyday life of the Church in dioceses and parishes across the country. For that reason, in the forthcoming Year of Faith we have decided to establish a new Commission for Marriage and the Family. This Commission will be led by a bishop and will be composed mostly of lay men and women. The Commission will be charged with engaging with those young men and women who will be future husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, and with those who already live out their vocation to marriage and parenthood in surroundings which often make it hard to sustain and develop the full Catholic family life we cherish. We wish to support too, those who are widowed, separated and divorced and all who need to feel the Church’s maternal care in the circumstances in which they find themselves. The new Commission will promote the true nature of marriage as both a human institution and a union blessed by Jesus. The Commission will be asked to develop an online presence so that prayer, reflection, formation and practical information on matters to do with marriage and family life can be quickly accessible to all. It will also work to produce materials and organise events which will support ordinary Catholic families in their daily lives. During the course of the coming year we will ask for your support for these initiatives. Our faith teaches us that marriage is a great and holy mystery. The Bishops of Scotland will continue to promote and uphold the universally accepted definition of marriage as the union solely of a man and a woman. At the same time, we wish to work positively for the strengthening of marriage within the Church and within our society. This is an important initiative for all our people, but especially our young people and children. We urge you to join us in this endeavour. Pray for your own family every day, and pray for those families whose lives are made difficult by the problems and cares which they encounter. Finally, we invite you to pray for our elected leaders, invoking the Holy Spirit on them, that they may be moved to safeguard marriage as it has always been understood, for the good of Scotland and of our society.
I am sure that something similar will come from our own bishops soon.

13 comments:

Callum Lane said...

Some confusion in the household this morning as we heard this on the news; our Father had read this out to us last week at Mass!
But it is good to hear such clear and unequivocal teaching and leading.

Amfortas said...

No paragraphs in Scotland?

Callum Lane said...

Not where I am...

Physiocrat said...

I don't disagree but after all the scandals within the church the bishops are in a weak position to make pronouncements in this subject area. It seems to me that the main damage to society is being caused by the decline in the church itself.

A major factor here is the bishops' reluctance to deal with the problems caused by the very poor standard of liturgy, decline in the use of confession, abolition of important feast days, and poor catechesis, especially in schools. These are matters which are entirely within the control of the bishops and are indeed part of their core duties. In my view, the bishops have failed the church itself.

In the meantime, the cause would be helped best by keeping a low profile for the next decade.

nickbris said...

This whole subject is fraught with problems,whatever one says brings accusations of some sort.

Politicians are not to be trusted and vociferous minority groups in favour of same-sex marriage seem to wield an awful lot of power.

Even in Brighton it is difficult find many who actually want it.The best solution would be to have a Referendum, YES or NO,then we would know exactly what is wanted.

There are all sorts of problems that nobody ever mentions,would Bigamy laws still stand?.Can we discuss it down the pub?

Gigi said...

Unequivocal, I agree.

Genty said...

I'm afraid I have to side with Physiocrat on this one. This is not to diminish the stand of Cardinal O'Brien (how one has longed for unequivocal teaching by our hierarchy on just about everything). In too many instances, by word or deed or by lack of them, the Church appears to be giving mixed, if not incoherent, messages. It is a case of Catholic Church heal thyself.

BJC said...

Interesting article here with the results of various opinion polls:

http://www.christianconcern.com/our-concerns/sexual-orientation/tories-set-to-lose-votes-of-millions-of-churchgoers-over-same-sex-ma

Another interesting article here saying something I for one hadn't realised about Stonewall and gay marriage. As yet they still haven't backed it. The LGBT lobby have certainly kept that one quiet.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/stonewall-is-split-by-row-about-samesex-marriages-2095468.html

umblepie said...

Full marks to Cardinal O'Brien and the Scottish Bishops. I don't understand how any Catholic can criticise their initiative. It's no good suggesting that the Church keep a low profile for the next decade (Physiocrat), by that time it will be too late! Please God that the evil and corrupting same-sex marriage agenda will be defeated.

Physiocrat said...

umblebpie, you should listen to what people outside the Catholic church are saying about us. The resonances of the clerical abuse scandal are going to rumble on for at least a decade, which means that the church hierarchy have no moral authority in this area.

Moral authority is also lost when Christians generally focus on one set of issues to the exclusion of others. Abortion and euthansia are key and those are areas where we absolutely must not keep quiet, but even in these cases were are perceived as obsessives. This would not happen if we also put our energy into promoting other aspects of Catholic Social Teaching, the neglect of which is more damaging to family life than this measure.

There has been no great demand for "civil partnership" since it was introduced. The proposed legislation is pretty much of an irrelevancy anyway. To define it as "marriage" is an abuse of language and worrying on that account but it is not fundamental in the way that the economic crisis has deprived families of homes and the means of a livelihood. Or even, for that matter, the fact that the price of a roof over one's head is unaffordable unless both husband and wife are working. Now THAT is what is damaging to families and worth getting angry about.

Lazarus said...

I'm not sure we should worry too much what 'people' outside the Catholic Church are saying about us: certainly, as far as the secularized media are concerned, it's hard to imagine their ever saying anything complimentary. The clarity will attract some and repel others: 'twas ever thus. On the child abuse scandal, where there is truth in the accusations, that should be acknowledged and dealt with -but it can't paralyse the whole teaching mission of the Church. (Any more than should the behaviour of (eg) the Renaissance Papacy.)

I disagree about the centrality of same sex 'marriage'. Quite apart from the inherent difficulty in ranking truths, the issue seems to touch on a number of important areas in modern culture: autonomy, feminism, the relationship of biology and gender, the place of the family as a bulwark against the market etc. In any case, the Scottish Bishops have been outspoken on other social teaching issues -see eg on the government's economic policy http://www.heraldscotland.com/mobile/news/home-news/pms-policy-is-immoral.17450731?_=dc3c03160a963f53d408a0ed65f17901fe7ad6b8

It's a bit like the sorites paradox: each individual issue might not be worth going to the stake over, but, ignore them, and you end up with a heap of trouble.

Jim said...

I heard it read and preached on in one parish on Sunday and heard it preached on the day after in another. Both priests were very supportive and the congregation was very positive afterwards.
Jim

Varese said...

Can someone explain why this is such a big deal while remarriage after divorce etc isn't? It strikes me there is a fair amount of homophobia mixed in with the disapproval on theological grounds. Physiocrat is right about there possibly being more important things to be vocal about.

My iPhone hates trying to make comments on this site- apologies for typos etc