Ireland, Do the Right Thing This Week and Vote Against Same-Sex “Marriage”. Voting “Yes” would be a betrayal of Our Lord’s mission to save us from sin

By Deacon Nick Donnelly

I’m hearing that some parish priests in Ireland are concerned that Catholics, who are devout and regular Mass-goers, are intending to vote “Yes” this week in Enda Kenny’s Same-Sex “Marriage” referendum. In my experience the vast majority of ordinary Catholics want to do the right thing, so the fact that so many are considering voting “Yes” indicates a shocking level of misunderstanding and confusion over these important issues of Faith and morality.

On such an important moral decision, that will impact the lives of future generations, genuine Catholics will be asking themselves, “How does Our Lord Jesus Christ want me to vote?” We can be assured that Our Lord has given us the means, through Holy Mother Church, to come to the right decision, knowing that we will have to give an account of our actions before the judgment of God. This divine judgement should be uppermost in our thoughts rather than the judgment of our secularist neighbours and the judgment of the anti-Catholic media.

“Following in the steps of the prophets and John the Baptist, Jesus announced the judgment of the Last Day in his preaching. (Mark 12:38–40; Luke 12:1–3; John 3:20–21). Then will the conduct of each one and the secrets of hearts be brought to light.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church678)

Therefore, I want to look at some of the possible reasons Catholics could propose for voting “Yes” from the perspective of the Gospels and the Church’s teaching.

Who Am I to Judge?

Many people have mistakenly assumed that Pope Francis’ famous declaration “Who am I to judge?” means that the Church now approves of homosexuality and accepts homosexual sex acts. This is not true.

What did Pope Francis mean by “Who am I to judge?” The Holy Father immediately preceded this statement with an explicit reflection on the need for conversion and repentance from sins committed by homosexual persons and all of us.  He said, “If a person, whether it be a lay person, a priest or a religious sister, commits a sin and then converts, the Lord forgives, and when the Lord forgives, the Lord forgets.” This is the context for Pope Francis then saying, “If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?” Clearly, Pope Francis was talking about homosexual persons who have repented of the sins of homosexuality in their search for the Lord with good will.

Following the long-established tradition of the Church, founded on God’s Word, Pope Francis presented homosexuality in the context of the need for repentance from sin, which we all share. Voting “Yes” would be a rejection of the Church’s teaching on sin and our need for God’s forgiveness.

Jesus Was Tolerant and Compassionate

It is common to hear people justifying the acceptance of active homosexuality and sex outside of marriage by claiming that Jesus was tolerant and compassionate. This is to mistake Our Lord’s compassion for sinners with a moral laxity towards sin. The Gospels show that Jesus did not mince His words when naming our inclination towards evil. “If you then, who are evil” (Luke 11:13). Our Lord sees sin as a mortal sickness and sees His own role as the Divine Physician sent to cure us of the sickness of sin. A good doctor is compassionate and caring towards his patients, but is definitely not tolerant towards the diseases causing our sickness:

And the Pharisees and their scribes murmured against his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31–32)

Our Lord is compassionate and caring towards homosexual persons engaging in homosexual acts, in the same way that He is towards all of us when we sin, but He is not tolerant and accepting of the sins that make us mortally sick. Voting “Yes” would be a betrayal of Our Lord’s mission to save us from sin.

God Forgives Us No Matter What We Do

Another possible reason for why some Catholics are thinking about voting “Yes” is the mistaken notion that God forgives us even if we don’t repent and change our behaviour. This common error confuses God’s love with God’s forgiveness. It is true that God loves us no matter what we do, because as St. Paul wrote, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). However, Our Lord’s very first words at the start of His public ministry spoke of the necessity for repentance and conversion. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). In order to avail ourselves of God’s freely offered loving mercy, we have to first repent of our sins, and determine to make a firm amendment of life according to God’s commandments.

The Church clearly teaches that homosexual sex acts, along with adultery and masturbation, are gravely sinful because they misuse the procreative purpose of sex, and make a nonsense of its meaning as self-giving love between man and woman.

It is a serious mistake to presume on the forgiveness of God when He has so generously given us not only the means to avoid the self-harm of sin, through the Church’s moral teaching,  but also the grace to strive to overcome sin through the sacraments of healing — Confession and the Sacrament of the Sick. Voting “Yes” misleads people to presume on the forgiveness of God without the need for repentance.

This Is About Equality, Not Morality

Some people argue that the Marriage Equality referendum has nothing to do with morality, but is purely about legal equality. Our Lord categorically rejected the separation of the law from morality, especially regarding marriage. When a Pharisee tested Jesus about the law concerning divorce He returned to the moral source of marriage established by God in the creation of man as male and female:

Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder. (Matthew 19:4–6)

The Marriage Equality referendum is a profoundly immoral act, because it seeks to change the God-given, exclusive, meaning of marriage as the loving union of man and woman for the procreation of children. Voting “Yes” would be a repudiation of God’s purpose for marriage.

Love Is Good, Marriage Is Good

Some Catholics may have come to the conclusion that because homosexuals love each other they should be allowed to marry. This reasoning is confused in a number of ways. God’s creation of the complementarity of the sexes shows that the wonderful gift of erotic love is ordered to the self-giving of husband and wife for the procreation of children. Marriage, with the exchange of vows of fidelity, permanence and openness to life, creates the conditions for the self-giving of erotic love between man and woman.

Homosexual persons can genuinely experience the love of friendship and affection, but homosexual erotic expression is a disorder of the nature and purpose of eros. As Our Lord taught about erotic love, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh, so they are no longer two but one flesh” (Matthew 19:5–6). Voting “Yes” will be a rejection of God’s purpose for erotic love and marriage and a devaluing of the true love of friendship.

Sex Is a Private Matter

It is commonplace to hear the complaint that the Church is obsessed with sex and should stay out of the bedroom. However, this ignores the fact that the Church’s moral teaching on sexuality has its origins in Our Lord’s commands. Jesus did not see sex as a private matter which people were free to exercise according to their desires: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27–28)

Jesus clearly saw the human sexual drive as powerful force that should be controlled according to the moral commands of God, especially the Sixth Commandment that restricts sexual acts to marriage. Voting “Yes” is to abandon Our Lord’s teaching on sexuality.

Follow the Lead of the Bishops and Priests 

Some Catholics will no doubt be considering voting “Yes” as a consequence of confusion caused by statements made by a number of bishops and priests. I find such confusion in the thinking of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin when he defends marriage as the union of man and woman while at the same time talking positively about homosexual relationships without mentioning the necessity of sexual abstinence. An example of this was contained in his latest address on the referendum:

An ethics of equality does not require uniformity. There can be an ethic of equality which is an ethic of recognizing and respecting difference. A pluralist society can be creative in finding ways in which people of same-sex orientation have their rights and their loving and caring relationships recognized and cherished in a culture of difference, while respecting the uniqueness of the male-female relationship.

The confusion comes from the fact that the archbishop presents homosexual relationships as being equivalent to, but different from, heterosexual relationships. His omission of any reference to the morality of chastity and continence is at the heart of this confusion.

When Our Lord confronted the moral anarchy that was harming people’s lives, He spoke directly and clearly out of a profound sense of compassion. His words to the woman caught in adultery were not confusing: “‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again'” (John 8:10–11).

Our Lord’s compassion is shown by the fact that He did not condemn the adulterous woman, and that He commanded her not to sin again. To vote “No” on May 22 is not to condemn homosexual persons; rather it is an act of loving compassion which embraces us all in our desire to follow God’s will that we may not sin again.

Originally published in the Catholic Voice Ireland.

About Gertrude

Sáncte Míchael Archángele, defénde nos in proélio, cóntra nequítiam et insídias diáboli ésto præsídium.
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37 Responses to Ireland, Do the Right Thing This Week and Vote Against Same-Sex “Marriage”. Voting “Yes” would be a betrayal of Our Lord’s mission to save us from sin

  1. JabbaPapa says:

    These people seek to redefine marriage — it is a purpose that has very very little to do with sexuality as such.

    I am sick to my stomach from this posturing of a desire towards a sentimentalist gratification in the purely physical to be recognised as identical to the foundational Act of Family Life.

  2. johnhenrycn says:

    If marriage is only about ‘love’ and ‘self-fulfillment’, where’s the logic in denying it to threesomes and foursomes, etc? Where’s the logic in denying it to persons who wish to marry themselves?

    I hope it will not, but I believe the Irish referendum will pass. Nothing against the Irish, except they’re as stupid as the rest of us. Just glad my children were married at a time and in countries were marriage was reserved for men marrying women. Now, in the post-Christian west at least, just about every marriage event outside the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church is a fake one, and the crap certificates handed out by registrars commemorating same may as well be printed on toilet paper.

  3. GC says:

    I’m a bit disappointed with gays. Why do they insist on wanting to follow slavishly outdated conventional medieval customs?

    Boys, get your act together, enjoy your domesticity for a bit, have a bust up and then go to the courts to sort out your mess and get your wonderful parliamentary “recognition” that way. That’s the way the straights did it and look what a disaster that has been.

  4. toadspittle says:

    “If marriage is only about ‘love’ and ‘self-fulfillment’, where’s the logic in denying it to threesomes and foursomes, etc? “
    No logic at all, JH.
    Saudi-Arabians and Mormons have been multiple-marrying for ages now.
    Hasn’t made any difference to our lives, has it? Not to mine, anyway – yours, maybe?
    So…let them get on with it.

    Six wives? Serves them right, times six.

  5. toadspittle says:

    “I’m a bit disappointed with gays. Why do they insist on wanting to follow slavishly outdated conventional medieval customs?”
    …Because gays are no more sensible than anyone else, GC.
    Do you know any reason that should they be?

  6. johnhenrycn says:

    A less than informed, let alone perceptive, croak from the swamp. Fact is, in the West, your polygamists are just building up steam. Fact is, they are not the favoured kinky lifestyle de jour, but they’re making inroads and they’re bound to gain leverage from the victory of your homosexuals; and if you think it doesn’t matter, which seems to be your point, it all comes back to your well documented default I’m all right, Jack position on the meaning and purpose of life. You and Rhett Butler share a lot in common. Did Rhett have any children?

  7. Tom Fisher says:

    Deacon Nick Donnelly’s piece is thoughtful, humane, and well written. But in a sense we’re simply witnessing a divorce between the Church and Western society. It’s drawn out, and full of recriminations, but the outcome is hardly in doubt. If it’s not a ‘yes’ vote this time, it will be soon. Secular society and the Church simply don’t use the word marriage to signify the same thing anymore. Catholic Marriage won’t change, but it will subsist in a society that uses the same word for a quite different concept.

  8. toadspittle says:

    Haven’t read the book, JH. Seen the movie, which is not as bad as “Birth of a Nation.”
    Don’t know if Rhett was a dad. Doubt if he was gay. But you never can tell, can you?

  9. GC says:

    Saudi-Arabians and Mormons have been multiple-marrying for ages now.

    I think you’ll find that polygamous Muslim marriages are actually a series of monogamous marriages, Toad. They don’t entail all the wives of one man being married to each other as well as to the man.

    But there’s an idea. Perhaps that sort of marriage, where everyone marries everyone else, can be the next project for our wonderful parliamentarians. Well why not, if everyone loves one another?

  10. toadspittle says:

    “Perhaps that sort of marriage, where everyone marries everyone else, can be the next project for our wonderful parliamentarians.”

    Your parliamentarians may be wonderful, GC – ours, I fear, are not.
    I’d be more more interested in a situation where nobody marries anybody else.
    ….Particularly Irish gays. Think of all the current hysterical verbiage that would have obviated.

    Matter of taste though, no doubt.
    Boys will be boys, won’t they?

  11. johnhenrycn says:

    God Save Ireland. Hope that today (my tomorrow) the Irish will see what is blindingly obvious:

  12. johnhenrycn says:

  13. toadspittle says:

    Let’s hope The Good People Of Ireland don’t need to póg a n-asal goodbye.

  14. toadspittle says:

    Better not get too far ahead of ourselves, JH.
    The Shamrock will do nicely for next time – when Three men (or three women, or any trifecta thereof) will be allowed to marry each other – and what if they do? Who cares?

    Heartening, albeit surprising, to see JH appreciating the deeply funny side of it all.

  15. The Raven says:

    Apparently they’re voting on making men give birth next week.

  16. The Raven says:

    Actually, Toad, the latest polling suggests that a popular referendum in the UK would deliver a firm majority in favour of staying in the EU and an equally large majority in favour keeping the ban on the death penalty.

  17. toadspittle says:

    Really? I will be more than delighted to be proved utterly wrong – on both counts, Raven.

    And equally delighted to be able to revise, in an upward direction, my somewhat sceptical opinion concerning the general intelligence level of most people on Planet Earth.
    Although the “Gay Irish Marriage Handicap Stakes” result did helped a teeny bit in that direction.

    “Apparently they’re voting on making men give birth next week.”
    Really? I find that a little hard to believe.
    But Raven does not lie. (Unlike Toad*.)
    But I will get a bet down on “No,” this time. For a win double.
    Raven would be sensible to do likewise. I suggest.

    *Toad does lie …But only when necessary. Same as anyone else.

  18. toadspittle says:

    …It’s like shooting fish in a barrel really, isn’t it? Toad really must stop.

  19. johnhenrycn says:

    It’s usually referred to as ‘satire’, Toad (re: TR @ 17:39). My modest proposal is that you to stick with Swift – Tom Swift, that is. Try Tom Swift and His Thermo-Prostate Dynamatron, the first sentence of which is: ” ‘I worship my scrotum’, said Tom sacraligiously.”

  20. johnhenrycn says:

    …and the last sentence of which is: “I was born gay, Tom said homogeneously.”

  21. johnhenrycn says:

    “…and my dad always dressed like a woman, Tom said transparently.”

  22. johnhenrycn says:

    “I really don’t like analingus,” said Tom, tongue-in-cheek.

  23. GC says:

    JH, that’s cracking, but it leaves a very bad taste in the mouth. Anyway, this site is meant to be toadsport dot com, right?

  24. johnhenrycn says:

    Too right, GC. I must rein in my Tom Swifties (he said haltingly), but the dismally predictable vote in Ireland made me do it. I shall now revert to my normal sober serious persona. It’s interesting that in every other country where same-sex marriage is allowed, it was accomplished by top-down fiat. The Gaels, conversely, did it from the bottom up – a sorry reflection on their collective wisdom.

  25. GC says:

    JH, in today’s press here we read that a local Catholic lawyer was awarded 150,000 smackers in damages for defamation because the police accused him of sodomising a security guard. It turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.

    Wouldn’t get a brass farthing for it in super-kool Ireland these days, one supposes.

    He’s appealing for a whole lot more.

  26. Brother Burrito says:

    JH, The Irish national airline used to be called Aer Lingus,

    but after the vote, it may be updated.

    Bottom up indeed!

  27. GC says:

    updated

    Geoff Kiernan might be able to tell us what “date” means in Australian slang, Brother B. Or we could just google “date Australian slang”, I suppose.

  28. johnhenrycn says:

    “updated”? “date”? (Get it, JH?) Oh my goodness, you native English speakers are so very arch. Had to google I admit.

  29. johnhenrycn says:

    Good summation by Michael Voris today about this debacle: The Murdering of Catholicism. The title should read The Murdering (As If) of Catholicism, as I’m sure he would agree, but I share his sorrow.

    Hope we will have an inspiring message for Pentecost. Can’t remember why, but for some reason I had to access CP&S nine or so days ago via a raw Google search, and the link that day was to a “Novena In Preparation For Pentacox“. No matter, I’m sure The Raven will rise to the real occasion. I quit smoking (n.b. GC) on Pentecost, 23 May 1999, and ever since, it’s been an important day of renewal and amendment in my life.

  30. Tom Fisher says:

    The Gaels, conversely, did it from the bottom up – a sorry reflection on their collective wisdom.

    The fact that it was decided by popular vote is certainly interesting. Also — apparently* some of the most working class booths in Dublin voted yes by 80% to 20%. A higher margin than the total result.

    *It’s not all finalised

  31. toadspittle says:

    “In Dublin’s fair city,
    …where the boys are so pretty…”

    JH can finish the verse, swiftily.

    “Anyway, this site is meant to be toadsport dot com, right?”
    Right, GC. But all are welcome take part, even Mr. Fisher*.
    CP&S, like The Law and The Ritz Hotel – is open to all. We are an equal opportunity, Gay and Transgender-Friendly, “debating environment.” Are we not?.

    *GC – doing a bit of Beatrix Pottering.

  32. johnhenrycn says:

    In Dublin’s fair city, where girls are so pretty…
    A song very close to my heart, Toad. Won’t get into it now, but here’s another song about Dublin that brings a tear to my eye:

    Have previously pasted a live version of this signature song by Dermot O’Brien, but can’t find it now. When Miss Malaysia wakes up, she will find it.

  33. Gertrude says:

    “We are an equal opportunity, Gay and Transgender-Friendly, “debating environment.” Are we not?” .Well actually my amphibious friend not really. CP&S, whilst most accommodating most of the time, is, as you know a pretty traditional Catholic blog. It would be far better if debate was confined to matters Catholic, since we will not argue against the teachings of our Holy Church.

    There are web sites I believe that cater for the sort of Gay and Transgender topics you mention – but it’s not this one😉.

  34. toadspittle says:

    Bit of Toad irony there – which clearly went wildly amiss.
    …Sorry Gertrude.
    The Little Green Swine will be considerably less ironic in future.
    Promise!

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