By Sarah Mac Donald - 06 November, 2013
Bishop Denis Nulty has said the Government’s decision to hold a referendum on same sex marriage challenges the “very nature of marriage itself and the importance society places on the role of mothers and fathers in bringing up children.”
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin said the debate at the heart of the referendum “is not about equality or about the false separation of a religious view of marriage from the civil view of marriage.”
He underlined that the Catholic Church would continue to hold that the differences between a man and woman are not accidental to marriage but fundamental to it and that children have a natural right to a mother and a father and that this is the best environment for them where possible.
The Bishop, who is a member of the national executive of Accord, the Catholic Marriage Care Service, warned that “To change the nature of marriage would be to undermine it as the fundamental building block of our society.”
He described married love as “a unique form of love between a man and woman which has a special benefit for the whole of society.”
“With others of no particular religious view, the Church regards the family based on marriage between a woman and a man as the single most important institution in any society,” Bishop Nulty stated.
He said the Church would participate fully in the democratic debate leading up to the referendum and would seek with others to “reaffirm the rational basis for holding that marriage should be reserved for the unique and complimentary relationship between a woman and a man from which the generation and upbringing of children is uniquely possible.”
However, he warned that as Christians whose primary commandment is to love, the faithful must respect the dignity of every human person.
“That is why the Catholic Church clearly teaches that people who are homosexual must always be treated with sensitivity, compassion and respect,” he said.
He added, “It is not lacking in sensitivity or respect for people who are homosexual however to point out that same-sex relationships are fundamentally different from opposite sex relationships and that society values the complementary roles of mothers and fathers in the generation and up-bringing of children.”