Gay marriage – you’re either for it or against it, right?

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The way the Stormont vote was reported was deceptive. The Guardian website had a headline saying in effect ‘NI Assembly votes for gay marriage legislation’; it was only when you got to the body of the piece that you discovered that, er, um, no, the legislation wasn’t really passed, because the DUP, exercising their rights, had stymied it.

Around the world, as several commentators have pointed out, this isn’t going to play well. The north of Ireland is the only region in these islands that does not permit gay marriage. It may soon find itself the only region in the Western world that doesn’t. So it would have helped our image a lot if, having raised the hare, it had pursued and conclusively dealt with it.

That said, I believe we should be concentrating on other things. Do those who’ll suffer from welfare cuts wake in the morning in a tizzy about the absence of gay marriage here? Do refugees trying to gain access to this country or others check the gay marriage legislation before getting off their boat? Do the 600+ homeless families in Dublin get the bus to Stormont to protest at the failure to pass gay marriage legislation?

And then there’s the odd way that gay marriage goes against the flow. In my lifetime in Ireland, marriage has undergone huge transformation. There are thousands of couples who just don’t bother with it. There are thousands of couples who, after a few years, get fed up with it and call it quits. In fact, there’s something very near crazy (or maybe even hypocritical) about vowing to stand by some one until death do you part, when deep down you know you’ll stand by one another until you can’t stand one another, at which point you’ll stop standing. Marriage is now a disposable product, if that’s what you want. So while many are by-passing or breaking free from the bonds of matrimony, the gay community are insisting on the right to have access to it.

If that’s what they want I wish them well; in fact I wish they could have it, so we could move on to things that press more heavily on people’s lives. Because the net effect of the gay marriage campaign is that public attention is pulled away from bigger, more pressing issues.

46 Responses to Gay marriage – you’re either for it or against it, right?

  1. Jim Neeson November 3, 2015 at 9:38 am #

    Well Said Jude. There are indeed more pressing problems. I wish the LGBT all the best. Perhaps we should all be looking at this Petitiopn of Concern.As usual its initial intention has become warped!! DUP seem to be the biggest users for vote catching!!

  2. Iolar November 3, 2015 at 10:16 am #

    Chomsky’s views on manufactured consent in the media spring to mind. Some in the media try to ensure that certain political, social and human rights issues are quietly swept under the carpet.

    There has been some riveting radio this week concerning the war effort. We seldom hear about John MacLean of Red Clyde fame and his objections to the ‘war of the cousins.’

    Sam Thompson, born and raised in Ballymacarrett was a lifelong socialist. His play, ‘Over the Bridge’, charted the tragic course of a sectarian dispute in the shipyard. Ten years after its production, Sam Hanna Bell wrote,

    “at last, the unclean spirit of sectarianism has been dragged before the floodlights.”

    Following elections in Sri Lanka in 1997, over 300 Tamils were killed in riots, many more were driven from their homes. It has been argued that the Sri Lankan government turned a blind eye to death and destruction. It is alleged that the army committed crimes against the country’s Tamil minority, especially during the final bloody phase of the war, which ended in 2009.

    Since 14 Oct. 2015, the Israeli Defence Forces have implemented a closure policy approved by the Israeli cabinet. Thirty-five checkpoints and concrete roadblocks have been placed at entrances to villages and neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and on internal roads, severely disrupting the lives of some 300,000 Palestinian residents. This constitutes the prohibited collective punishment of a population that lives under occupation and suffers ongoing violation of its rights.

    Such issues serve to remind us of the north of Ireland in the distant and not too distant past. We retain ‘PEACE WALLS’ lest we forget. We also have a legion of envoys to this part of the world with their ‘Peace Initiatives,’ Petitions of Concern and ‘Fawlty Towers’ to ensure that peace will continue to drop, very slowly.

    • billy November 3, 2015 at 3:04 pm #

      theres no money in peace,as for peace walls their wanted by the people who have to live beside them,as for gay marriage its more important to people here than some tamils getting killed on the other side of the world we need to deal with our own problems

      • Iolar November 3, 2015 at 6:12 pm #

        Join the professionals, visit other countries, meet other people and shoot them.!!

  3. Cal November 3, 2015 at 10:30 am #

    There’s always bigger issues when someone wants to avoid an issue…

    In my view, equality is a big issue.

    Besides, once the courts deal with gay marriage, there’ll be plenty of other things for Stormont to argue about and do nothing on.

  4. TheHist November 3, 2015 at 10:36 am #

    Spot on article Jude – fully agree with you!

    Think though, the watching world (if they could be bothered) would be more “concerned” about the Petition of Concern – yet again, another failure and Inability of politicians to implement Stormont House Agreement, where reform to the mechanism was to be agreed amongst parties. PoC has been continually used and abused, mainly by the DUP to dictate legislation (think they’ve used it over 40 times). I’m wondering, if SF had the number for automatic usage of the PoC (30), how Unionists would react?

    I agree we should be concentrating on other issues, but feel this vote yesterday and pending court action, will exasperate the issue and allow those in favour a bigger and wider platform from which to argue their case.

    As Stormont continues on its path to “death do us part”, we can be safe in the knowledge that “we have and to hold” this controversial issue “forever more”, as important issues like “sickness and in health (service)” continue to be “for worse” and “for poorer.”

  5. BaldyBapTheBarber November 3, 2015 at 11:09 am #

    Hi Jude,

    I’d just like to take you up on one point regarding the term “gay marriage”. As I understand it the law must be blind with respect to the race of persons who would like to marry and the same is also true of the law with respect to persons sexual orientation. So just as persons who want to marry can’t be discriminated against based on their race, neither can they be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation. Just as it’s currently unconstitutional for the state to ask persons what their race is before they get married; so too is it unconstitutional to ask what their sexual orientation is.

    It is for this reason that the term “gay marriage” is misconceived. For if we introduce laws that legislate for “gay marriage” well then the law would not be blind to a persons sexual orientation. A law of this type would only allow same sex-couple to marry if they were homosexual, therefore taking note of their sexual orientation and at the same time discriminating against heterosexuals who want to enter into a marriage with someone of the same sex. The law must be blind to their sexual orientation.

    So with this in mind we get to a situation where, I hope we all agree, the marriage laws must make no reference to a couples sexual orientation. But this is exactly the situation of the status quo! Currently no one in the north is prevented from marrying based on their sexual orientation. It is quite possible for two heterosexuals, two homosexuals, or a heterosexual and a homosexual to marry one another, no questions asked, just as persons of different races are free to marry, no questions asked. What they are not free to do under the current law, whatever their race or orientation, is to enter into same sex marriage, simply because, in my opinion, there is no such thing. Marriage is by its essence a relation between a man and a woman.

    To quote an American scholar (William Craig) “By denying that marriage has an essence or nature. Marriage is not essentially between a man and a woman. Rather, on such a postmodernist view, marriage is a social convention akin to driving on the right-hand or left-hand side of the road. There is no objective truth about it. So you can define it any way you want. If we go that route – if we deny that marriage has an essence and is just a social convention – then, of course, it is completely malleable and can be turned into anything. So the drive for same sex marriage is actually an attempt to deconstruct marriage under the mask of obtaining equal rights, marriage equality, and so forth. But that is not the real issue.”

    • Jude Collins November 3, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

      You argue a persuasive case, BBTB. Personally, speaking as a married (to a woman) man, I can’t think why anyone would want to get married (Put down that baseball bat, dear- you might hurt someone). But if same sex couples want to get married, batter ahead, as far as I’m concerned. Just as conventional marriages between a man and a woman don’t affect me much, the same goes for gay marriages. I honestly don’t see why there’s such a fuss about it. If gay marriage meant that ministers of religion who disapproved of gay relations were forced by law to perform the marriage ceremony, that’d be a different matter. But as I understand it, that’s not an issue.

      • BaldyBapTheBarber November 4, 2015 at 9:30 am #

        Hi Jude,

        I’ve heard this response quite a bit. That same sex marriage won’t affect my marriage, it won’t affect me, all it does is just make it wider and broader but it doesn’t affect anything so it’s all right. I personally believe this attitude is very naïve because marriage is not a private institution it’s a civic institution and carries with it certain civil rights that must be respected within the public arena. What it essentially means is that those who consider marriage as exclusively heterosexual in nature are going to have their civil rights infringed upon and there is good evidence that this isn’t far away. The Archers bakery case is one example closer to home. It not unreasonable to surmise, that in a future where SSM is legalised in the North, if Archers were asked to bake a cake for a SSM, they would likely decline. This legislation will have an effect on our society. In America there is further evidence of this:

        A wedding photographer from New Mexico declined to photograph a lesbian couples wedding and was fined for the same (http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/03/refusing-to-photograph-a-gay-wedding-isnt-hateful/284224/)

        A florist also sued in Seattle http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/state-sues-florist-over-refusing-service-for-gay-wedding/)

        Colorado state judge ruled that a baker has to produce wedding cakes for gay couples even though he opposes same-sex marriage on religious grounds. http://www.npr.org/2013/12/10/250098572/no-cake-for-you-saying-i-dont-to-same-sex-marriage

        And finally and most worryinly “Two Christian ministers who own an Idaho wedding chapel were told they had to either perform same-sex weddings or face jail time and up to a $1,000 fine, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court.” (http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/10/20/city-threatens-to-arrest-ministers-who-refuse-to-perform-same-sex-weddings.html)

        What is it they say about America – “They sneeze – we catch a cold?”
        So you see that some of the concerns you raised are and have actually happening. Would this change your mind on the issue?

        How do you feel about Paddykool’s obvious endorsement of the malleability of marriage when he says “A marriage between two people of whatever sex need not have to do with the sexual act of any kind at all…A marriage can be a companionable union of two people who love or like each other dearly and wish the security of an official agreement in front of their family and friends as well as civic society.” Given his logic I’m wondering what has love or liking has got to do with it? But that aside, and give you see no issue with SSM I’m assuming you’d have no objections to a man marrying his: Mother, adoptive mother or former adoptive mother, daughter, adopted daughter or former adopted daughter, grandmother, granddaughter, sister, aunt, niece? Surely by applying the logic of SSM and of PK’s interpretation all of the above is ok? What do you think?

        One final point I’d like to add to the mix, which I feel as a Christian man is sorely lacking from the public defence on marriage, is this: As you might be aware the Catholic Church held a synod on the family recently which opened on Sunday 4th Oct; and I don’t think it was by coincidence that the readings at Mass that day were what they were. That Sundays Gospel reading was Mk 10:2-16. When the Pharisees tried to trip Jesus up over whether Moses was right to permit divorce, he reframed the discussion and used it as a brilliant teaching moment, which can be applied to our current conversation.. Christ pointed back to the beginning and references the Genesis story from the Old Testament reading we also heard that day, (Gen 2: 18-24) Jesus reminded the Pharisees of our creatureliness, and of who made marriage in the first place. And it’s this point I’d like to remind all Christians to bear in mind when discussing and defending marriage.

        I ask all Christians to join me in prayer for the maintenance of the status quo.

        God bless.
        BBTB

        • Jude Collins November 4, 2015 at 11:45 am #

          As ever, BBTB, you argue persuasively. Despite the apparent logic of what you say, I don’t feel my rights infringed on when other people marry their same sex partner, mother, auntie, sister. I may not think it’s a good idea but I don’t know I’d want a law to prevent them, except I was convinced it was going to harm me/society. Many people respect/live their lives by the Bible, but lots don’t, so I’m not sure quoting it will work in all cases. I still think this is a distraction from other, more pressing matters that people face. I would like to see the Catholic Church speak out with the same force against poverty, unemployment, puny wages: I suspect that’d have relevance to more people than whether gay people get married or settle on a civil partnership. Frankly, needles and dancing angels come to mind.

          • BaldyBapTheBarber November 4, 2015 at 2:09 pm #

            I appreciate were you are coming form Jude and understand that you might not be direclty affected, but your logic on this can also be turned against you when I ask; are you directly affected by poverty, unemployment, puny wages? If you answer no to any of these then it’d be fair to ask you why you’re so concerned since it doesn’t affect you? I hope you see where I’m going with this – should we only be concerend with issues that directly affect us? What about society; does it matter how many people in society it would have to infringe before you’d give it some concern?

            I accept surely that plenty of people don’t live their lives by Jesus teaching. My quoting of the bible is because so often in Catholic and Christian circles, there is a tendency to leave out any reference to Jesus and his Church when debating thorny marriage issues in our culture. For those of us in the North who have not been impacted by what some would say the “judicial over-reaching that was witnessed in the US”, the debate is still open. It’s my feeling though that those who engage publicly in it are quickly eaten up and spat out by the media monster. I feel that by pointing back to Jesus, to quote one commentator, “…Christ provides a tangible example that could perhaps be emulated by those of us engaging in discussion and debate on these matters either privately in our homes and workplaces, or in the broader public sphere.”

            With regards to a man marrying his mother etc etc, each of the examples I stated was taken from the Guidance on marriage procedures in Northern Ireland (http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/index/information-and-services/government-citizens-and-rights/marriage-and-registration/getting-married-in-northern-ireland/guidance-on-marriage-procedures-in-northern-ireland.htm). Would you consider doing a blog in advancment of the reversal of this law? Lets say you did, you’d have to include a lot of other situations too; once we start down that route, anything goes: a woman and two men, a man and a child, two men and a goat, etc. I see no reason at all to start down that road. But hey, I look forward to what you can come up with .

            I certainly agree with you that there are more pressing matters to contend with, some of which you mentioned above. With respect to the Church and these matters I follow the Pope on twitter and he’s constantly speaking out about these issues. In his latest exhortation
            Laudato si’ there are “Several main themes run through the text…: – the intimate relationship between the poor and the fragility of the planet, – the conviction that everything in the world is connected, – the critique of new paradigms and forms of power derived from technology, – the call to seek other ways of understanding the economy and progress, – the value proper to each creature, – the human meaning of ecology, – the need for forthright and honest debate, – the serious responsibility of international and local policy, – the throwaway culture and the proposal of a new lifestyle”

            Finally, did you know that we are the largest charitable organization on the planet, bringing relief and comfort to those in need?
            http://www.forbes.com/lists/2005/14/Revenue_1.html
            Just Catholic Charities, Food for the Poor, Catholic Relief Services, St. Jude’s, and America’s Second Harvest alone total $5,570,000,000, which is greater than #1 on the list for America.

            Did you know we educate more children than any other scholarly or religious institution?
            http://cara.georgetown.edu/CARAServices/requestedchurchstats.html

            Did you know we founded the college (university) system?
            The Catholic Encyclopedia, “Universities,” Edward A. Pace,
            http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15188a.htm.
            Ibid., “Schools: in the Church,” Wilfrid Ryan, Philippe Perrier, Michael Maher, Andrew Murphy, William
            Turner and J.A. Burns, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13554b.htm.

            I’m sure the Church can do more on all the issues you mention, but remember that the Church is made up of the Clergy, the religious and the LAITY, and its only right we as the laity also take our share of the burdon and use every opportunity to speak out about social injustices, spiritual matters and issues concerning morality.

            I speak out about this issue because I don’t think its just a political issue, for me it’s deeply spiritual and moral, and I hope to make others aware of the same.

            Good heavans I’m giving you a hard time on this one lol.

            Take care.
            BBTB

          • Jude Collins November 4, 2015 at 3:15 pm #

            Splendid stuff, BBTB. I’m flattened by the width of your reading. I’d agree Pope Francis is speaking out but in all my days attending church, I’ve never heard a priest preach a sermon about the need to rid society of poverty, or for employers to give their employees more money (the cliché ‘A fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay’ – yes – which is meaningless). As to laity involvement: again, my (strictly limited) experience tells me that the parish priest decides what’s to be done and the people get cracking (or not). That to me is appalling. I’m sure that it doesn’t apply in every parish but it sure applies in quite a few. The Catholic Church is in serious need of a very big blast of democracy. To get back to your point about not being affected – yes, I accept what you say. Full stop. Point conceded. But I can’t rid my mind of the suspicion that the CC is and always has been fixated on matters sexual, so that everything else shrinks into insignificance beside it. I see the logic of your argument about the need to be concerned about those things in society that you may not be directly affected by, but in matters sexual, I still find myself tending to say ‘If that’s what you enjoy/want sexually, then it’s between you and your conscience’ – with the exception of children or those not in a position to make a choice in such matters.

          • BaldyBapTheBarber November 5, 2015 at 11:32 am #

            Jude I hope you don’t mind me commenting again, I know you’re a busy man with this website, if you’re not reviewing comments and uploading them, you’re either commenting on other stories or you’re composing them yourself, not to mention fending of your hurly-stick wielding wife (well you brought that on yourself) So thank you for you’re replies thus far.

            If that’s been your experience with priestly preaching in church then that is shocking and disappointing. However I’d pose the question – have you ever asked the priest why he doesn’t cover or tackle these issues? I think it only right that the laity has a healthy relationship with their PP. Remember he’s only a man after all. Just a thought.

            My experience as a lay man in the church is really quite different from yours and my understanding of my position in the church, it would seem to me, is also quite different from what I can gather from your last response. I don’t mean for this to come across as cheeky but being part of the laity doesn’t mean we take our cues from our PP. We can do on certain things, but if we are to fully participate as part of Christ’s body, as part of Christ’s church then we have to realise that we have an obligation to permeate our different environments, (without being told to). Every environment you’re in will present opportunities to make Christ present. This website is one of those environments You have a great opportunity with this website to do that every day or once a week or once a month. Do you feel embarrassed talking about your faith or maybe you see it as something private? But remember an isolated Christian is a paralysed Christian. Being a Christian places an obligation on us to evangelise, and there are many, many different ways to carry it out. This is what the laity’s role is! And I find that the more I do the more joy I get from my faith. And the more I turn myself to God, the more I want to tell others about Him; I’m learning not to be afraid when doing this, and I’m loving it, I love life, I love being a Catholic, I love my faith and Jude believe it or not….I love you too.

            Regarding your suspicion that the CC is fixated with all matters sexual, can you give me an example or two of what you mean? So I can better contextualise what your issue is. But I have to pull you on your interpretation “ ‘If that’s what you enjoy/want sexually, then it’s between you and your conscience’ – with the exception of children or those not in a position to make a choice in such matters” What you have here is a subjective interpretation on the morality of sexual relations. The problem with having a subjective opinion is that it is only applicable to you. The man down the street may have another opinion where he doesn’t have conscience issues with children and sex. The difficulty with subjective opinions on morality is that you can’t say who’s right and who’s wrong. We can only do this if we believe that objective moral values and duties exist. We as theists hold this believe – God being our objective moral bar.

            This is why morality is a big problem for atheism. Atheists such as Richard Dawkins note “there is at bottom no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference. . . . We are machines for propagating DNA. . . . It is every living object’s sole reason for being.” This is what, on an atheistic view, human beings are reduced to. They believe that the human race is nothing more than another branch of the animal kingdom. So when an adult lion takes over a pride and kills the lion cubs as part of the process for bringing the female lions into heat; the lion hasn’t done anything morally wrong. If this is true for lions then it’s also true for us under this worldview. This is why atheists are hypocrites, they can’t live by the tenants of their worldview.

            So the point I’m trying to make is: have you actually read into or asked why the Church believes what they do on these matters? If not then you have an uninformed opinion on them. I have read into them and found that our take on morality is not just based on the bible but also natural law and reason. I’ve shown you how a subjective opinion on sexual matters is irrational, can you show me how the CC’s take on sexuality is irrational?

          • Jude Collins November 5, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

            Oh dear BBTB – you DO ask a lot of (awkward) questions. Re the last question: I don’t think I said that the CC’s take on sexuality is irrational – if I did I shouldn’t. What I meant was, through my formative years particularly, and through my adult decades as well, the CC jumps in hard to every moral matter regarding sex; other matters take a secondary place. That’s my experience and I don’t think it’s unique. John B Keane was 17 when he was asked in confession if he was ever bothered with impure thoughts. His comment in later years: “I was a 17 year-old male – I rarely thought of anything else”. Yet we were taught to entertain (darlin’ word that) impure thoughts, even for a second, was mortal sin and eternal damnation. I think that was a wrong and bad thing to teach. Have I ever asked why the Church believes as it does (preaches what it does)? Occasionally. For example, women priests. Explanation: Jesus choose 12 men, ergo…Total rubbish and sinful waste. All opinion is ultimately subjective, in that it’s held by the individual for reasons s/he thinks valid. As to evangelising: I’m sorry, I find that embarrassing. I rather like the line from St Francis, was it? ‘Preach often and sometimes use words’. I agree that every interaction we have with people has some tiny effect – but I’m neither wise enough nor virtuous enough to feel I should preach to people about Jesus. Frankly – and I know this is heresy – the idea of saying ‘I love Jesus’ really doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I can admire what he’s done, be grateful – but love? Don’t get it, BBTB. No, please, stop assembling that tinder and reaching for a box of matches….:)

          • jessica November 5, 2015 at 8:15 pm #

            BBTB, I hope you don’t mind me commenting.

            I was brought up a catholic, my family are all catholic but i struggle to be a catholic.
            I need there to be a connection and I just don’t get it with the catholic church. To me it looks like it tries to be too controlling.
            I believe Catholic priests would be better if they were allowed to marry. What can you possibly know about it if you haven’t tried it?

            God is different things to different people. Catholics or even Christians do not have a monopoly on what God is.

            When we are near to God, morality comes from the spirit within, we know instinctively what is right and wrong without having to be told.
            If this is what you mean by natural law, then I concur.

            When we are far from God, there is an emptiness inside and we lose sight of right and wrong often leading to depression and destructive emotions.

            These are the only barometers of Gods laws, and they cannot be legislated for, or be put under organised control.

            To me, all religious are cults and as such should be entitled to set the terms of their membership and from that point of view I can accept a church refusing to marry, though I do not think it has any right to involve itself in the legislation or any autonomy of the state.

            As for Lions, what makes humans different from animals I believe, is simply intelligence. We have developed the intellect to a level where we have become conscious of the soul inside which is the only pathway to God. You cannot connect to the soul except by feeling good which comes from helping others and living life pretty much how most religions promote. It has a fast high pitch vibration when you are near, when far your soul has a slow low vibration.

            “This is why morality is a big problem for atheism. Atheists such as Richard Dawkins note “there is at bottom no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference. . . ”

            Morality is not the problem, life is the problem. Not everyone can find God. There are times when I doubt the Church even knows God.

          • BaldyBapTheBarber November 5, 2015 at 3:32 pm #

            Maybe you should start calling me giordanobruno, or should i call you that? Get it? (heresy, matches, burning, giordanobruno)? Oh never mind, haha. Cheers for the conversation though, thoroughly enjoyed it.

          • giordanobruno November 5, 2015 at 8:53 pm #

            Oi Baldy!
            Don’t drag me into this.

        • jessica November 4, 2015 at 12:04 pm #

          “Mother, adoptive mother or former adoptive mother, daughter, adopted daughter or former adopted daughter, grandmother, granddaughter, sister, aunt, niece? Surely by applying the logic of SSM and of PK’s interpretation all of the above is ok? What do you think?”

          You aren’t a unionist are you by any chance?

          That is the same twisted logic they use to justify intolerance.

          Marriage should never include relatives whether same sex or mixed, that is just sick.

          Do you even understand what equality is or comprehend the offense you are going to cause by comparing two people in love of the same sex with those in an incestuous relationship? Are you going to compare them with paedophiles next?

          You people are a blight on our community.

          • Jude Collins November 4, 2015 at 3:18 pm #

            “Marriage should never include relatives whether same sex or mixed, that is just sick.” I know of at least one person whose parents were closely related, and a less sick person (in any sense) you couldn’t find…

          • jessica November 4, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

            I just want to clarify Jude, that I never said anyone was sick as a result of any form of marriage,

            I said the idea that marriage should include brother and sister for example was sick.

            Also relating equal rights for the LGBT community regarding marriage with incest is sick.

            We are all entitled to put opinions, those are just some of mine.

          • Jude Collins November 5, 2015 at 9:47 am #

            Point taken, Jessica…

          • BaldyBapTheBarber November 6, 2015 at 10:29 am #

            Hi Jessica,
            Don’t worry; you’re not alone in your struggle to be a Catholic, it’s a daily struggle for me too, anyone who says that being Christian is easy, is a liar. What makes it easier for me though, is working on my Piety, Study & Action, in equal amounts. Think of these three elements as a tripod; if one’s longer or shorter than the others it will have a tendency to fall over.

            There are many different areas to our ‘Piety’ but the key area for me is Prayer, you might find that Eucharistic adoration, mass, meditation, or Communion etc. work better for you. However, if we don’t have that open conversation with God in our lives how can we possibly think our relationship will improve? Remember who He is; He is our creator and He can help us with anything, if only we would ask. I read this article recently on prayer, maybe you’ll find it helpful http://www.crisismagazine.com/2015/from-trigger-warnings-to-prayer-triggers

            ‘Study’ is also key to Catholic development and for me an understanding of Philosophy and human reason was fundamental when going in deeper to Catholic belief. It opened up for me a whole new vista, a vista where I can truly appreciate the beauty of our faith, and our faith IS beautiful. There again if you’re interested in learning about philosophical reasoning and explanations for catholic belief check out respectively; http://www.reasonablefaith.org and http://www.catholic.com

            I’ve found that when I work on these two elements that my ‘Action’ follows more naturally. I’ve made a conscious decision to try and witness for my faith, as Jude noted above when he quoted St Francis –“Preach the Gospel unceasingly and if necessary use words”. Our action towards others and the way we faithfully live out our faith will be more productive than lecturing people. I try my best to live in accordance with this mantra. There again, I do get sucked into the wordy side of things too, so I apologise if what I’m saying here comes across as condescending, I can assure you I say these words with a heartfelt respect for you as a sister in Christ and they are meant genuinely.

            Priests and Marriage, maybe you have a point maybe you don’t. I believe that Priests serve us better being by not marrying. I’m married and it is a demanding relationship esp with children. I personally am in favour of the status quo. But with regards to your logic on the issue I’d also ask you this; should women only off other women advice because they know nothing of what being a man feels like?

            This is the definition of Natrual Law that I find best – “As distinct from revealed law, it is “nothing else than the rational creature’s participation in the eternal law” (Summa Theologica, 1a 2ae, quest. 91, art. 2). As coming from God, the natural law is what God has produced in the world of creation; as coming to human beings, it is what they know (or can know) of what God has created.
            It is therefore called natural law because everyone is subject to it from birth (natio), because it contains only those duties which are derivable from human nature itself, and because, absolutely speaking, its essentials can be grasped by the unaided light of human reason.” https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/dictionary/index.cfm?id=35060

            God is different things to different people but that doesn’t mean we can’t identify false gods. This can be done by using our God given ability to reason. A favourite philosopher of mine tackles this brilliantly in an article here. http://www.reasonablefaith.org/why-christianity-rather-than-judaism-or-islam

            With my points to Jude on Morality, it seems to me, you haven’t fully understood my position. I would concur with you that Humans are different from animals, but my point was in relation to atheism who don’t see any difference.

            I’m not sure I follow you when you say “Morality is not the problem, life is the problem”. As for, “Not everyone can find God”, well I totally disagree. The word of God is unambiguous on this;
            Acts 17:27
            That they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,
            Jeremiah 29:13
            You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
            Proverbs 8:17
            I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.
            Matthew 7:8
            For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
            Deuteronomy 4:29
            But from there you will seek theLord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.
            Matthew 7:7
            “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

            I think you get the point.

            Anyways thanks for your comment, got to go now – i’m finished for the weekend yeeeeooooo!!!!

            Take Care & God bless.
            BaldyBap

          • jessica November 6, 2015 at 12:20 pm #

            I’m not sure I follow you when you say “Morality is not the problem, life is the problem”. As for, “Not everyone can find God”, well I totally disagree. The word of God is unambiguous on this;

            Everyone may have the capacity to find God, but not everyone can. It really depends on your life experience, how you were brought you. We learn by example and living every day in a certain way.

            If it was as simple as that then there would be no good people like yourself trying to help others to do just that.

            You are correct that it will take more than words and in fact more than preachers. It is a big world with a lot of people.

            I believe there is a lot more good in the world than our media portray for the fact misery and evil deeds sells more than good deeds.

            You said, “This is why morality is a big problem for atheism.”

            What I mean about morality not being the problem but life, is the atheist is still a person with as much potential to reach God as you or I. Therefore it is not their morals keeping them from God, but the life experience that keeps them apart possibly resulting in them having poor morals but not suggesting all atheists have poor morality.

            Surely there is hope for us all.

          • jessica November 6, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

            “Priests and Marriage, maybe you have a point maybe you don’t. I believe that Priests serve us better being by not marrying. I’m married and it is a demanding relationship esp with children. I personally am in favour of the status quo. But with regards to your logic on the issue I’d also ask you this; should women only off other women advice because they know nothing of what being a man feels like? ”

            A married couple would accept advise from someone married but having been through rough patches and dumped counsellors for offering poor advise, in our opinion most likely due to not being married, I feel the same logic could be applied to priests who do offer advise on marriage.

            Women can give men advise. Sometimes the another perspective is what is needed. Where it is not appropriate and man to man is preferred then I have no problem respecting that. I would certainly not advise legislating indiscriminately over such guidance, either legally or religiously.

            The bible was written by men, and should be then in that context. It is not the word of God but mans word about God. It should not be taken as gospel or literally.

  6. Donal Kennedy November 3, 2015 at 3:18 pm #

    some years ago on a day off in central London I bumped into my son in trafalgar square. We noticed people looking at South aAfrica House where a new flag had been unfurled.I’d never much noticed the building before, not even to throw stones at it. A man next to us said he preferred the old flag, which incorporated a union jack, as he was an “Ulster Man.” I said I was a Leinster Man, from Dublin and he said he’d enjoyed Dublin when studying at Trinity
    College.

    I asked him wasn’t Gerry Adams an Ulster Man also. “BUGGER GERRY ADAMS!” was his reply.

    “Every man to his fancy” says I. “Does that mean you don’t want to SAVE ULSTER FROM SODOMY?”

  7. paddykool November 3, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

    Hi Jude …I’m back ….more or less… I see we are back on this one.Baldybap makes a good point about the actual “meaning” of marriage.What really has happened over the years is that knowledge and fast wordwide communications has allowed us all to assimilate newer cultural ideas quickly so that like-minded folk can feel a kinship of ideas and ideals. Within our own life-times….us guys and gals in our fifth, sixth , seventh decades and more have watched as society’s ideas of what we thought was “the norm” have changed so radically that many have been left behind in a sort of mental backwater, unable to keep up with any of it …like keeping abreast of current fashions , art , music, cinema or drama.There were always those of a conservative mindset who thought that anything that changed in society would spell some kind of disaster. Mary Whitehouse thought the world was going to end in the 1960’s . There is always some nut awaiting and fearing the Apocalypse.There are still those too who believe that in their religious beliefs they have the only unassailable “truth” and want to shove it down everyone else’s throat…to the point of making believers and unbelievers sit on their hands on a designated day …locking up the very childrens’ swings every Sunday….why Sunday , eh? …Why not Saturday or Tuesday?….No just pick a day named after the sun and we all have to moon at the sky .
    The churches, local to us all are sometimes like that .The DUP is very obviously like that, as are all those fundamentalists who think that everyone else’s personal business should be their prurient concern.There used to be much sabre rattling from Ian Paisley and his friends on the streets about “Saving Ulster From Sodomy”. in that mindset this “sodomy” was a kind of infectious airborne disease that just about anyone could catch …like this head -cold I’ve just picked up. This was and still is arrant nonsense of course.It was aimed at the homosexuals among us , which in those days seemed fewer on the ground because of the fear and stigma involved in being born like that. It’s a fact though that you don’t have to be homosexual to be a “sodomite” …anyone with the right equipment can get into that act…. and with anyone. A marriage between two people of whatever sex need not have to do with the sexual act of any kind at all. There are many of every kind of sex, living in purposely sexless marriages.The sex part of things depends soley on the sex-drive after all…and that mightn’t always be there at full-throttle and will probably diminish anyway , in time..So my feeling is that much of this blather is really about some very twisted and wilful paranoia. A marriage can be a companionable union of two people who love or like each other dearly and wish the security of an official agreement in front of their family and friends as well as civic society.It should never really need to have anything to do with priests or ministers of any kind or have any kind of religious aspect at all ….unless the participants really want that too. No …what marriage might do is act as a stabilising factor in society…the sexual orientation of the participants really has little to do with it …so what are these fundamentalists and DUPers so worried about?

    • Jude Collins November 3, 2015 at 5:45 pm #

      Failte romhat, PK – welcome back. Hope all parts are still functioning at maximum tilt…

      • paddykool November 3, 2015 at 6:29 pm #

        We’ll see in the coming days,…as I reco…ver Jude…but nice to be back .

  8. Jim.hunter November 3, 2015 at 5:38 pm #

    I.like.you.jude.but.no.gay.marriage.in.n.Ireland

    • paddykool November 3, 2015 at 6:30 pm #

      What’s with all these full stopsJim ?

  9. jessica November 3, 2015 at 5:47 pm #

    religion has no place in politics or in law.

    unionism at times reminds me of the American deep south bible belt type zealots.

    The orange order are the organised klan behind the outlandish bible bashing bigots who hate everyone that doesn’t agree with their narrow minded points of view.

    It is about time someone stood up to them

    • Ryan November 3, 2015 at 8:34 pm #

      Jessica, guess who originally planted and farmed the American deep south? Yup, the Ulster Scots/Scotch Irish, so its not just a coincidence groups like the Orange Order and the KKK are very similar. Indeed, the KKK was also set up to combat Catholicism, though its main focus was against Black people, even though the majority of Black people were Protestant.

      While Scotch Irish/Ulster Scots mostly settled in the Southern states of the USA, the Northern industrial cities were flooded with Irish Catholics, especially during the Famine years but also afterwards too, sizable Irish immigration continued into the USA right into the 1950’s and 1980’s and even in 2011 due to the recent recession here. There is said to be 50,000 illegal Irish in the USA today, that’s not counting those there legally.

      The infamous “Know Nothings” was set up to harass and attack Irish and German Catholics that were arriving in the USA in the 1800’s. Again an organisation that was full of Protestant extremists, mostly from Ulster Scots descent. Sound familiar? The KKK, the Orange Order, the Know Nothings, etc I don’t know what it is but setting up extremist groups/gangs seems to be genetic when it comes to some Ulster-Scots. Of course not all Ulster Scots or their descendants supported such groups/gangs.

      • jessica November 3, 2015 at 10:46 pm #

        “Jessica, guess who originally planted and farmed the American deep south? Yup, the Ulster Scots/Scotch Irish, so its not just a coincidence groups like the Orange Order and the KKK are very similar.”

        I new the kKK was based on the orange order but never realised there was a plantation of ulster scotch there or had heard of the know nothings.

        What a heritage to be proud off!

  10. Gearoid November 3, 2015 at 6:39 pm #

    One can believe with integrity that a marriage is based on the complementary union between a man and a woman without those beliefs being conflated with homophobia. Also one can stand opposed to a party like the DUP on manner manners and still hold the same belief.

    • Gearoid November 3, 2015 at 6:41 pm #

      Apologies, I must correct some errata on my previous comments. “Manners manners” should read “many matters”.

    • jessica November 3, 2015 at 8:03 pm #

      “One can believe with integrity that a marriage is based on the complementary union between a man and a woman without those beliefs being conflated with homophobia. Also one can stand opposed to a party like the DUP on manner manners and still hold the same belief.”

      Do I sense a slight crisis of conscience there Gearoid? Feeling a little to comfortable there among the mind-set of the stark raving zealot party? 🙂

      That in itself might be telling you something, who knows?

      There is believing in it, then there is forcing that belief upon others against their wishes for your own self righteous reasons . When it is over something that is of no concern of yours as is the case with marriage and you have just said it is between 2 people only.

      And what is a man these days? They spend more time in front of the mirror than many women do. So some have nicer frocks!!!

      Doesn’t make any sense to me either but where’s the harm? 🙂

      • Gearoid November 4, 2015 at 7:36 pm #

        I only have the force of my arguments, Jessica, and do not have the authority to impose them on others, and even if I did, I would not abuse that power. My main point is that one can sincerely believe in marriage as consisting of the union between a man and a woman without hateful invective against anyone.

  11. billy November 3, 2015 at 7:23 pm #

    no gay marriage,no sex shops in gresham st,no paying brass nails for sex,no sex on sundays,what is this obsession.

  12. Ryan November 3, 2015 at 7:40 pm #

    I’m neutral on the Gay Marriage question. I’m a Catholic, not particularly religious but I have my faith. Do I go to mass every Sunday? No. The main reason why I’m not trumpeting gay marriage is because the definition of marriage is the Union between a Man and a Woman. I regard marriage as religious or holy, so I’m cautious about my stance.

    But on the other hand you’d be surprised to learn I use to work in a Gay Bar in Belfast City Centre for a year until it closed in 2010 due to the recession. The vast majority of the staff, but not all, were gay. Me being one of the few who wasn’t. I find people from the gay community to be amongst the friendliest and nicest people I have ever come across in my life. Very non-Judgemental, caring and understanding, something which they yearn for from others and which they rightfully deserve. The stories I heard from gay people about their experiences of being gay was shocking. Being disowned by their family, being discriminated against, harassed, being physically assaulted, etc was just some of the topics of discussion when I worked with them. The one thing that stuck out the most to me (and this is just from my own experience) was that those who were disowned the most from their families for being gay were from the protestant community. My mothers cousin came out as gay when he was a teenager. His mother, a very religious Catholic or as my own mother would say “a wee holy woman” accepted his sexuality and loves her son just the same.

    The Gay marriage question/topic is a distraction from real issues. Issues like tackling attacks on the gay community, welfare cuts, poverty in our society, lack of jobs and investment (over 2000 jobs lost in 3 years in Ballymena alone), sectarianism, racism, etc I could go on. Its about time those in Stormont grew up and wised up, and the likes of Mike Nesbitt and others honoured their election promises of making the north of Ireland an “economic powerhouse”. That’s the issues that truly matter.

  13. aRon November 3, 2015 at 9:23 pm #

    I think there are 2 issues here. The 1st is that DUP MLA’s are almost exclusively Free Presbyterian and the 2nd is the misuse of the Petition of concern.

    I can not understand how a religious denomination of only 10’000 members is represented by 95% of the largest party in Northern Ireland. How can this party truly reflect the will of the people above their own religious beliefs?

    The petition of concern machinery really needs a rethink. The logical step would be to attempt to have this brake pedal removed before another motion is put forward. Some would consider it electioneering that knowing that the POC would be used, the motion was still brought forward, rather than the long winded prospect of removing the POC, which may run beyond the elections.

    It is complete hypocrisy that with the motives of protecting the sanctity of marriage, that gay marriage be forbidden, but heterosexual divorce be allowed.

    …I would note that it is not just the DUP that have availed of the POC. All part of the farce that is Stormont.

    • jessica November 3, 2015 at 10:29 pm #

      “I can not understand how a religious denomination of only 10’000 members is represented by 95% of the largest party in Northern Ireland. How can this party truly reflect the will of the people above their own religious beliefs?”

      The don’t and they wont ever.

      “The petition of concern machinery really needs a rethink.”

      Maybe partition needs a rethink. NI within the UK is never going to evolve beyond sectarian politics and will never grow into an economically viable entity.

      “It is complete hypocrisy that with the motives of protecting the sanctity of marriage, that gay marriage be forbidden, but heterosexual divorce be allowed.
      …I would note that it is not just the DUP that have availed of the POC. All part of the farce that is Stormont.”

      Unionists can only delay marriage equality the same way they can only delay reunification.

      I agree with you that Stormont is a farce.

      • aRon November 4, 2015 at 4:04 pm #

        “Unionists can only delay marriage equality the same way they can only delay reunification.”

        Jesse, can you avoid going off on a UI tangent on every thread? No one cares.

      • aRon November 4, 2015 at 9:22 pm #

        “Unionists can only delay marriage equality the same way they can only delay reunification.”

        Jesse, change the record and focus on topic at hand. Constant anti-unionism/United Ireland guff is boring.

    • giordanobruno November 3, 2015 at 11:28 pm #

      aRon
      According to a report in the Telegraph last year:
      “Among the DUP’s 38 MLAs over a third are Free Presbyterians and exactly half are Orangemen. The proportion increases further among the party’s eight MPs.”
      So not almost exclusively, unless those figures have changed a good bit.
      Having said that I agree that the influence of the Free Ps and the Orange Order is totally disproportionate to their numbers in our society.
      And while Nationalist/Republican parties have not shaken off the overbearing presence of the Catholic church, there is still a long way to go before we have government without superstition.

  14. Sherdy November 3, 2015 at 10:25 pm #

    I was somewhat perplexed by Mad Mike Nesbitt’s attempt at rationalising his thoughts on the gay marriage topic.
    Seems his ‘logic’ tells him that accepting gay marriage is the way to go in future, but that idea sticks in his throat so he will not vote for it.
    So, in his brilliant decisive leadership style, he abstains from the vote – I am sure his followers are reassured by his indecision.
    But if we are redefining the meaning of marriage, I have a thought which might get Mike off the hook.
    If gay marriage is a civil right and a matter of equality, then why should bigamy not fall into these categories?
    This would mean that either two men and a woman, or two women and a man, would have the right to marry as a threesome.
    That would mean that a man could be married to a man and a woman at the same time, so Mike’s crisis of conscience could be assuaged.
    Don’t anyone laugh at this idea – people used to think the idea of gay marriage was funny, but as we now realise, fashions and beliefs can change!

  15. Perkin Warbeck November 4, 2015 at 7:48 am #

    Rainbow, like gay, Esteemed Blogmeister, is one of the words in the German Q’s English which the bellwethers and other dwellers of the moral high ground have taken and made their very own.

    And then proceeded to twist with limp-wristed abandon till its meaning has lost its shape, rather..

    While it took Fats Domino to show just how to walk to New Orleans and Chubby Checker to demonstrate the preferred method to twist it fell to the lot of Seanad Eireann / the Irish Senate in the Free Southern Stateen to roll out the one, true, holy and apostolic way to contort..

    -Who’s that flyin’ up there?
    Is it a bird? No.
    Is it a plane? No.
    Is it the twister? Yeah!

    Rainbow has been so, erm, yanked out of its traditional contour that no low moral groundling no longer knows whether such wise ancient saws as ‘Rainbow in the morning is the shepherd’s warning, Rainbow at night is the shepherd’s delight’ has a whit of validity left.

    One wonders, though. (see below).

    When a clearly invigorated and emotional Senator Kathryn Zappone (for it is she !) welcomed the signing of the Same Sex Marriage (enabling Bill to wed Will) by solemnly declaiming in wet-eyed Washingtonian tones…..’our day has (sob) finally come’ the Rainbow became a colourless one shade of gray.

    This true blue American has taken it upon herself (with not a little gee up from the Rainbow Government south of the Grey Sow’s Dyke) to tour guide the native Paddy Stinks and Maura Muds through the moral fog of the FSS . Holding all the while her lolly-pop shaped stick of liberal certitude aloft in the newly enlightened air. Dressed the while in the de rigeur dungarees of the ruling Dworkin Class..

    Dr. Martina L. Queen had a wet dream while the High Priest Hozier wields a mean crozier.

    As for the ‘wise ancient saw’ (see above) it was not necessary for the Bill enabling Liam to share a marriage bed with his dreamboat Fred in the Master B-room to become Law for the traditional proverb to strut its acuity.

    The wisdom-toothed warning regarding the relationship of the Rainbow with the Morning has been shown, once again, not to be a case of a toy boy crying Wolf Zappone. The queue, oops, line of ladies panting to tell their harrowing tales of distortion now stretches all the way from RTE in Donnybrook, Dublin 4 to the Liffeyside manse of the nuancy boys of The Unionist Times.

    As the colleen pillow-whispered to the Bishop / Mar a duirt an cailin: leis an Easpag:

    – ‘Taimse im chodladh is na Rooster me’.