Nature of marriage ‘undermined’ by possible changes – Bishop

Bishop Denis Nulty of Kildare and Leighlin has said that any change to the nature of marriage would “undermine” it as the fundamental building block of society.

In a statement, Bishop Nulty (right) warned the Government’s decision to hold a referendum on same sex marriage challenges the “very nature of marriage itself and the importance society places on the role of mothers and fathers in bringing up children”.

He said that the Catholic Church would continue to hold that the differences between a man and woman are fundamental to marriage and that children have a natural right to a mother and a father and that this is the best environment for them where possible.

Special benefit

Bishop Nulty, who is a member of the national executive of Accord, the Catholic Marriage Care Service, described married love as “a unique form of love between a man and woman which has a special benefit for the whole of society”.

“With others of no particular religious view, the Church regards the family based on marriage between a woman and a man as the single most important institution in any society,” the bishop stated.

Bishop Nulty also said the Church would participate fully in the democratic debate leading up to the referendum and would seek to “reaffirm the rational basis for holding that marriage should be reserved for the unique and complimentary relationship between a woman and a man from which the generation and upbringing of children is uniquely possible”.

He warned, however, that as Catholics must respect the dignity of every human person.

“That is why the Catholic Church clearly teaches that people who are homosexual must always be treated with sensitivity, compassion and respect,” the bishop said.

“It is not lacking in sensitivity or respect for people who are homosexual however to point out that same-sex relationships are fundamentally different from opposite sex relationships and that society values the complementary roles of  mothers and fathers in the generation and up-bringing of children,” he concluded.