The upcoming referendum on Marriage Equality is the sixth such referendum we have had on a social issue since the first abortion referendum in 1983. We have had two on abortion, two on divorce, a recent one on children, and now this one. Along with that we have had intense debates over the availability of artificial contraceptives. In other words, for the past thirty two years this country has been almost constantly engaged in social, qua religious, debates.
This article was written by me, and published in today’s (May 3rd) Sunday Independent.
The upcoming Marriage Equality Referendum is not the first time that committed Catholics of my generation have been confronted by significant moral questions as to how we would cast our vote. It is a good exercise, because it helps us to clarify for ourselves what exactly we believe and where we stand. As in all the other social debates we have had over the past forty years, there are no clear black and white answers, because each one of them in its own way dealt with an issue that deeply concerned human persons, and where the individual human being is concerned black and white answers are usually not that helpful: the human condition does not fit easily with rigidity.
(This article, written by a retired bishop of Latin America, and published in a 2013 issue of Concilium, is one of the best and most easily understood explanations of the problems around governance in the Church, and the struggle between the bishops on the one hand, and the curia/nunciatures on the other)
This article is based on my pastoral experience as a bishop with responsibilities in the bishops’ conferences of my country.