Via First Things:
Ireland’s recent decision to approve same-sex marriage, by popular referendum, has left the country’s Catholic reputation in ruins.
Of course, this shift didn’t come about overnight—secularization has been in the works for some time—but the vote reinforces the feeling of a dramatic break with Ireland’s Catholic heritage, and a step into an uncertain future.
In reacting to the vote, some have tried to spin the results. Gay marriage in Ireland isn’t a ‘no’ to Catholicism, argued Christopher Hale in Time magazine. Rather, “Many who voted ‘yes’ on gay marriage did so because of their faith, not in spite of it.” Hale cited Francis’s famous “Who am I to judge?” comment, but failed to mention that Francis was speaking about a priest who had sinned, and was already in the process of reconciling himself with God. The Pope wasn’t talking about defiant sinners, or gay lobbies, much less giving Catholics a green light to affirm immoral behavior in legislation. Francis, in fact, has described gay marriage as “an anthropological regression,” and condemned efforts to redefine marriage as a “destructive attack on God’s plan.”
What has gone missing in this debate is Christ’s teachings on marriage and morality. Secular arguments against same-sex marriage are important, but far more vital are the Scriptural and theological arguments. Christians are not free to change or revise Divine Revelation, and while Catholic doctrine can be enriched and developed, it cannot, as Blessed John Henry Newmanexplained, be contradicted.