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The role of the Catholic in public life

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 Contents - Oct 2003AD2000 October 2003 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: The role of the Catholic in public life - Peter Westmore
After 25 years: the impact of John Paul II's pontificate - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church Around the World - AD2000
Ethics: Bishop Fisher and Dr Philip Nitschke in Sydney euthanasia debate - Frank Mobbs
Saints: The Beatification of Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Youth: Thomas More Winter School in Sale Diocese has Eucharistic focus - Michael Casanova
Melbourne Archdiocese responds to John Paul II's Year of the Rosary - AD2000 Report
How fatherhood is crucial to children's faith - Fr Robbie Low
Why Catholic teaching on marriage is 'good news' for all humanity - Eamonn Keane
AD2000 readers' generous response to Queensland Lourdes appeal - Jenny Davies and Nicole King
Orthodox US Catholic colleges and universities continue to flourish - Julia Duin
Letters: Original Sin (letter) - Niall Browne
Letters: Individual confession (letter) - John Cassar
Letters: Clerical celibacy (letter) - Gerard Wilson
Letters: New bishops (letter) - Anne Lastman
Letters: Thomas Groome (letter) - Dr Susan Moore
Letters: Education crisis (letter) - Alex Sharah
Letters: New RE program (letter) - Paul Chigwidden
Letters: Inspiring hymn (letter) - Kevin O'Hagan
Letters: Footy Show (letter) - Alan A. Hoysted
Books: I The Lord Am With You Always: Prayers and Meditations for Eucharistic Adoration - Msgr Peter J. Elliott (reviewer)
Liturgical Time Bombs In Vatican II, by Michael Davies - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: Crisis In Religious Education, by Eamonn Keane - Damien Tudehope (reviewer)
Books: Great books at the best prices!
Reflection: Why the tabernacle should be centrally located in our churches - Fr Sebastian Camilleri OFM

A recent statement by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on homosexual "marriage" has been widely criticised in the media. Journalists targeted a section of the document addressed to Catholic politicians, which urged them to speak and vote against any such proposal.

The issue is a practical one: already, same-sex couples are allowed to get married in two Canadian provinces, as well as in Holland and Belgium, and there are similar proposals in a number of other Western nations. The Canadian Government is now intending to redefine marriage across Canada.

The Congregation's statement was simply a reaffirmation of the Catholic Church's traditional position on marriage: that it is a natural institution, ordered by God for the good of society - including fathers, mothers and their children - and that it is intended to be both exclusive and permanent.

At the same time, the Congregation reaffirmed that men and women with homosexual tendencies should be treated with respect and sensitivity, with every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard to be avoided.

What apparently upset the media was that Catholic politicians should be asked to accept their Church's teaching. A number of politicians echoed the media line, saying they would "follow their consciences", not a Vatican instruction. Yet to be a Catholic implies acceptance of Christ's words to his Apostles: "Whoever hears you hears me"; and, "Whatever you bind on earth will be bound also in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed also in heaven."

In fact, the Church's position reflects the state of current Commonwealth law. Both the Marriage Act and the Family Law Act affirm that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, to the exclusion of all others, for life.

At a time when the breakdown of marriage is causing incalculable damage in society, and a significant number of young people seem to have lost faith in the institution of marriage, the Church has courageously reaffirmed the moral and social foundation on which society depends.

Peter Westmore is the publisher of AD2000.

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 16 No 9 (October 2003), p. 2

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