My view on gay marriage is that the idea is a nonsense because marriage is something that can happen only between a man and a woman. If people want to set up a household together, that is another matter and nothing to do with the state. The rationale for civil partnerships relates primarily to property rights - ownership, inheritance and taxation. These affect any two people who are living together - siblings, for instance. The solution to the problems and anomalies caused by bad or unjust legislation is to deal with the legislation. It did not require a re-categorisation of certain household arrangements so as to put them on the same footing as those of a married couple.
Which brings me to the Cardinal's outburst. He is right to object to the re-definition of marriage by an act of legislation. But marriage is about families, children and the creation of a stable and nurturing environment. A few weeks ago, Fr Blake of St Mary Magdalen's, Brighton, published on his blog a film called Harmony at Parsonage Farm. Made in the 1970s, it is a documentary about a very large Catholic family living in modest comfort in a huge old house, where the household income was supplemented by produce from the smallholding that was attached to the property. This was perhaps the ideal of the Catholic family, as Chesterton and his ilk portrayed it.
One would have to be a millionaire to live like that today - who could afford it?
It is about economics - in the true sense of the word, which is formed from the Greek words for household and measurement. Government should be, but is not, about providing the conditions in which households can flourish. It should not be, but is, about firms that deign to provide people with "jobs", and and about banks that lend them the money to pay for what they produce, since they do not pay enough to enable them to purchase the fruits of their own labour.
And on top of that, to make up for the deficiencies of this system, governments have to engage in a systematic robbery to provide their populations, at vast expense, with the welfare that would be largely unnecessary if the system was just in the first place. If the Cardinal wants to defend marriage, surely this should be the first target for his attacks?
Economic justice is a precondition if the institution of marriage is to function effectively so that the family can flourish. This appears to be the position set out in Caritas in Veritate, the present Pope's contribution to Catholic Social Teaching.
I would suggest that if the hierarchy were to take this as their starting point they would earn respect instead of the ridicule they are drawing on themselves.
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