PERTH, Australia (CNS) — Same-sex “marriage” is not an extension of marriage rights but a dismantling of an institution on which the well-being of societies depend, wrote an Australian archbishop.
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe of Perth wrote his comments in the archdiocesan newspaper, The Record, before heading off as one of Australia’s two elected delegates to the world Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization at the Vatican. The role of the family and the Church’s values, including “the dignity and complementary nature of man and woman, created in the image of God”, are expected to be topics at the synod.
In September, same-sex marriage proposals were defeated in the Australian federal parliament and the Tasmanian state parliament. South Australia is set to be the next battleground, with a gay-marriage bill expected to be debated in the state’s parliament early next year.
Archbishop Costelloe wrote that any “attempt to redefine marriage in such a way as to sever the link between the love of the partners in the marriage and the rights and needs of their children is a misuse of the state’s power”.
“Our governments did not create the institution of marriage, and they should not seek to dismantle it by altering its fundamental character,” he wrote. “Rather, as many commentators have noted, the foundational role which families play in the well-being of a society underpins the responsibilities of governments to provide special protection and support to this institution.”
Catholic tradition, Archbishop Costelloe wrote, does not compartmentalise between religious matters and “purely secular matters”. Catholic convictions about marriage are based on the common good and the teachings of the faith, he said.
“We are not so much against things as we are for things. We are for the family and for the rights of children to be raised by their mother and father,” he wrote.
“It is because we are for marriage, for the family and for the rights of children that we stand so firmly against any attempt to legislate to change the nature of marriage.”
The archbishop wrote that it is wrong to accuse people opposed to the redefinition of marriage of unjust discrimination or homophobia.
“The latter accusation is a sweeping generalisation which by its very nature is itself unjust. The former accusation is premised on the notion that marriage should be open to everyone.
“But marriage, as opposed to other kinds of human relationships, is of its very nature the establishing of a union between a man and a woman for the purposes of their mutual love and support and for the raising of their children, should they have any, in a stable environment.
“Same-sex marriage does not extend marriage rights to a wider group of people. It dismantles marriage and creates something else — a relationship which has no essential link to the family which marriage exists to nurture and support.”