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In the papers: Real fight has just begun, Archbishop warns
Date Posted: 07/29/2015

Article source: The Catholic Weekly
 
 
By Robert Hiini

28 July, 2015

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP at cathedral hall on 22 July. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
 

The real fight for a coherent vision of marriage has only just begun, the Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher OP, told a standing room only crowd at St Mary’s Cathedral Hall on 22 July.

Around 500 people listened intently as the archbishop eschewed religious arguments to examine the reasonableness of five slogans used by ‘marriage equality’ proponents: “that it’s all about justice, that sexual differences don’t matter, that it’s all about love, that it’s all about the numbers and that it doesn’t affect me”.

The archbishop reiterated his respect for the dignity of people with same-sex attraction:

“We recognise that people of the same sex can love each other, sometimes deeply; that they express this in ways that seem similar to the ways married men and women express their love; and that some people want to commit to this in a public ceremony.”

He added: “They are usually good-willed people, who feel they are missing out on something precious. Because we want the best for them, we feel the tug of the view that everything that makes opposite-sex couples happy should be open to them too.

“We want no more of the discriminatory or violent treatment that such people often suffered in the past and sometimes still suffer.”

But marriage was an institution intimately bound to the well-being of children and was a natural institution ordained to enable the union of husband and wife to be more than the sum of its parts, the archbishop said.

“If we are not as good at entertaining and sustaining marriages as we were in the past, it is surely significantly because we are at least ambivalent about the defining dimensions of marriage as faithful, fruitful and final.

“So, too, the notion of marriage as a sacred act has been abandoned by many. And now another dimension, the sexual complementarity of marriage –the very thing which points beyond the union itself towards family life – is also being questioned.

“All that may be left at the end of this half-century-long unpicking of marriage will be an emotional-sexual bond that places the wishes of adults for long-lived intimacy above all else.”

The archbishop told the crowd which had gathered for the Order of Malta-facilitated event that appeals to polling numbers and to not being ‘on the wrong side of history’ were simply ephemeral and no substitute for reason.

“If marriage is a natural institution that pre-exists Church and state why should governments get involved at all? For one reason only: because the ‘marital acts’ that bring children into the world also seal and express the ‘marital unions’ that provide for the long-term nurture of those children.

“Marriage binds those whose love-making was life-making both to each other as husband and wife and to those children as mother and father. The benefits to children of having the contributions of both a Mum and a Dad, committed to each other and to them over the long haul, are well-established in human experience and social science research.

“In that sense, marriage is the best Department of Population, Health, Education, Welfare and Crime Prevention we’ve ever come up with. Other friendships may do other good things and be worthy of support; but only marriage unites a man and a woman and directs their complementary sexual-reproductive natures to the having and rearing of children. And that is why, uniquely of all human relationships, states have an interest in their success.”

 

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