Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Marriage is about more than "two people"

My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

I wish one of our Archbishops or Bishops had written this:
The most striking thing about the government’s consultation report on gay marriage, published yesterday, is how casually and cockily it redefines the institution of marriage. The Tories now decree that marriage is simply and definitively “about two people who love each other making a formal commitment to each other”. That’s it. It’s about you and your lover, nobody else. It isn’t about having children or raising a family or binding yourself into the broader community through taking on responsibility for creating and socialising the next generation; it is simply about “two people”, ensconced in a loving bubble, making a “commitment to each other”. 
To that end, the report makes absolutely no mention of creating a family. It uses the word “children” only eight times, and its every use of that word is merely part of a response to (and criticism of) those groups that petitioned the government to recognise the importance of marriage as a means of raising and socialising children. It doesn’t mention procreation, or family bonds, or communities (except when it refers to the needs and aspirations of the “transgender community”). Marriage is depicted as something which takes place in a vacuum, between two people wrenched from any broader notion of social or generational responsibilities, where the aim is merely to satisfy an individual’s own needs. Marriage, the government decrees, is about allowing “two people” to “express their love and happiness”. 
Of course, marriage, at root, brings together two people, and it is, one would hope, an occasion of love and happiness. But what this report overlooks is that for great numbers of people marriage is about more than “two people” – it is about entering into a union for the purpose of creating a family and assuming a social, even historic responsibility for raising the next generation. For many people, marriage is something which not only binds them to the person they love but which also binds them to the broader community, making them a key cog in a social process of having, educating, caring for and imbuing with goodness children who will go on to become the future guardians of society. That none of this is even mentioned in the government’s report – that family, children, community are all glaringly absent from this government decree on “what marriage means” – suggests that an alarmingly narrow conception of marriage is being pushed to the forefront of British political and social life.
Instead it is Brendan O'Neill, now why can''t we get someone of his calibre at Eccleston Square, or at least advice from people like him?

7 comments:

Deacon Augustine said...

Interesting that you spotted that article, Fr - the same thoughts occurred to me when I read it. O'Neill can be very perceptive when it comes to getting to the root of an issue. I wonder if he's had any Thomistic formation.

Rather than softening their image, the Nasty Party has re-emerged again through this diabolical policy. It is all of a piece with the "there's no such thing as society", money-grubbing philosophy of the 80's, inspired by a different Tory regime.

O'Neill has put his finger on the selfish, narcissitic idea of marriage which lies at the heart of secular liberalism. This homocentric narcissism together with the lies and disinformation which has accompanied this campaign to sanctify sin, give the clues as to who is the real author of this policy. As ever, it is the spiritual dominions and powers which are at war with all that is holy. It is only if we recognize this, rather than falling into the trap of thinking that these are merely political matters, that we can hope to oppose them properly.

Delia said...

He's also posted a good article today on Spiked.

wretchedwithhope said...

it only remains for the redefinition of 'people' and there'll come a time when collars and pooper scoopers will be needed at the 'ceremony'.

johnf said...

In a way Father, it's better that an declared atheist like Brendan O'Neill writes this. If a prelate were to write it, then in this current culture the politicians would just smile faintly and switch off.

Brendan O'Neill is always worth reading. His name surely indicates a Catholic background somewhere.

C Barrett said...


I would just point out to you, Father, that whilst Mr O'Neill is an interesting writer, Spiked is an offshoot of the RCP/Living Marxism group and that fellow-travellers include Mrs Furedi of BPAS.

I have no idea of all the ins and outs of Spiked's 'contrarian' philosophy - just to say that it is bewildering and I am never sure of the motives of their spokespeople when they pop up in print and online media or on the radio. What is certain is that they are not Catholic!

Genty said...

Thanks Delia. I thought the Spiked piece better than the Telegraph piece. As far as I know, Brendan O'Neill is a lapsed Catholic which proves you can take the man out of Catholicism, but you can't take Catholicism out of the man.
But doesn't it come to something when a self-proclaimed atheist can come up with the goods and two of the most senior Catholic churchmen in England (silence in Wales) appear almost tongue-tied.

Deacon Augustine said...

Fr. Ray, the full text of Bishop Egan's letter to David Cameron is now available. Well worth a read - it's excellent:

http://quovadispetre.blogspot.co.uk/