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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Even more about same-sex marriage ...

... with even more attempts to rationalise theocracy): here.

Okay, before I'm jumped on I realise that that's a slightly cheap shot to take at Catholic theologian Austen Ivereigh. To be fairer to him, much of what is contained in the piece that I linked to above is populism rather than outright theocratic reasoning, though I'm not a fan of the former a and I'm willing to bet that we'll see more of the latter in the book it is based on (assuming someone sends me a review copy), especially given the publisher - Our Sunday Visitor Press/Publishing - which is basically a Catholic propaganda organ. (That said, even propaganda type presses can sometimes produce decent books ... we'll see if this turns out to be an example or not.)

In any event, the arguments are weak. Importantly, the cultural meaning of marriage has already changed. That horse has bolted. For a start, marriage has no strong connection with children these days: many married couples have no intention of having children, and many couples do have children without getting formally married. The nature of marriage is more complex, and there is nothing about marriage, as it actually operates in the twenty-first century, that could not be extended easily to same-sex couples who want it. Even in past centuries, the cultural significance of marriage was not stable.

I see that there are three other pieces by Catholic theologians replying to Ivereigh. It will be interesting to see whether any of them dissent and actually argue in favour of same-sex marriage. I've been told often of late that many Catholic leaders and theologians dissent from the views of the Vatican and from traditional teachings on sexual morality. I haven't seen much evidence for this (though there is plenty of evidence that ordinary Catholics dissent from Vatican teachings in great numbers). Perhaps we'll see some surprises with this new batch of articles. Here's hoping!

1 comment:

Legal Eagle said...

Illustration of the way in which the cultural definition of marriage has changed: my 6 year old daughter said, "Why does Max live with Bill?" Me: "Because they love each other."
Daughter: "Are they married?"
Me: "Well, I'm sure they would be if they were allowed to be, but we're legally not allowed to do so in Australia."
Daughter: "But what's wrong with them getting married if they love each other?"

Good question, kiddo!