Melanie McDonagh

Irish Catholicism’s response to gay marriage hasn’t been totally incoherent

Irish Catholicism's response to gay marriage hasn't been totally incoherent
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Matthew Parris, in a characteristically elegant essay in this week’s magazine, complains about the rubbish quality of the arguments against gay marriage in the wake of the Irish Referendum; so very different from the kind of intellectually coherent Christian discourse that we used to get from the likes of Malcolm Muggeridge, C.S. Lewis et al.

He’s got a point, though he is being a little unfair in identifying as the personification of intellectual shallowness Diarmuid Martin, the Archbishop of Dublin. His remarks on RTE, Irish television, after the referendum did not, admittedly, show him in a particularly good light. When he said that the church in Ireland needed to undertake a 'reality check' you were indeed left wondering whether it was the teaching of the church he was talking about, or the utter unwillingness of practically anyone under 35 in Ireland to listen to it.

I am not, myself, a particular fan of the Archbishop; indeed I have suggested (in the Catholic Herald, since you ask) that Rome would do all concerned a favour by promoting him out of harm’s way back to the Vatican. But it isn’t entirely fair to suggest that the only arguments he advanced were those quoted in the papers; they were the ones relayed by RTE, which is not quite the same thing.

Well, Matthew asked for it. Here are the archbishop’s thoughts on gay marriage, unmediated by telly. They may not satisfy Matthew but they are not incoherent and they are not irrational. Here you go.