Although I am opposed to the coalition Government’s plan to recognise same-sex marriage in law, I have, nevertheless, been left feeling uneasy about some aspects of the debate surrounding this subject, and in particular by the manner and terms in which the problem has been discussed.
It is true that respectful and thoughtful debate has taken place. I am grateful to those teachers in the Church who have tried ‘to speak the truth in love’. They have sought to present the Catholic position in a way that is reasonable and theologically compassionate while recognising the lived experience of those involved. On the Feast of the Holy Family, I read Archbishop Vincent Nichols’ pastoral letter on this subject to the people of my parish. It was a model of moderation, pastoral sensitivity and clear reasoning.
However, there have been those within the Church who have chosen to employ intellectually blunt and confrontational arguments when discussing this matter. As the temperature of the debate rises, so there is a danger that their voices will become more strident. I wonder how helpful this is?
Although the polemical sound bite may capture the attention of the media, I wonder if it helps us address the complexity of the issues raised in a mature and informed way? Is an adversarial approach to those who disagree with us, the correct way to appeal to the reason and consciences of men and women? Whether this Government finally succeeds in introducing this legislation, what many people both within and outside the Church will remember is the language and demeanour which was used to present our arguments.
more at The Tablet blog.