The whole short document below is worth reading.
I have selected a few key quotes from it.
**The Meaning of Marriage **by Irish Bishops 2014
Married love is a unique form of love between a man and woman which has a special benefit for the whole of society…. To seek to re-define the nature of marriage would be to undermine it as the fundamental building block of our society. …
God’s Plan for Marriage
The Book of Genesis … As Christians our primary commandment is to love. Love always demands that we 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 debate at the core of the call for ‘same sex marriage’ is not about equality or about the separation of a religious view of marriage from a civil view of marriage. It is about the very nature of marriage itself and the importance society places on the role of mothers and fathers in bringing up children. With others, the Catholic Church will continue to hold that the differences between a man and woman are not accidental to marriage but fundamental to it and children have a natural right to a mother and a father and that this is the best environment for them where possible. It is therefore deserving of special recognition and promotion by the State.
The meaning of marriage
Marriage is a unique relationship different from all others. … orientated to the generation of new life. The union of marriage provides for the continuation of the human race and the development of human society.
… ‘marriage of a woman and a man is a fundamental building block of society which makes a unique and irreplaceable contribution to the common good and to society as well. It is therefore deserving of special recognition and promotion by the State’.
Why is marriage so important?
This committed, married love provides a stable and nurturing environment for children.
… A major challenge arises from any proposal which seeks to redefine the meaning and purpose of marriage on which the family is founded, … Any such proposal is based on the assumption that the institution of marriage on which the family is founded, which has always been recognised as ‘the natural, primary and fundamental unit group of Society’,5 has nothing unique about it and on the assumption that marriage can be stripped of that social standing without obscuring its irreplaceable social role.
… By introducing any amendment which presents homosexual partnerships as essentially equivalent to marriage, we would be saying that the permanent union of husband and wife and their generation of new life and their nurturing of it together is no longer to be seen as the foundation of society.
Protecting marriage is a matter of justice
…. Without protection and support for the unique place of marriage in society, the State could, in effect, deprive children of the right to a mother and father.
Religious and non-religious people alike have long acknowledged and know from their experience that the family, based on the marriage of a woman and a man, is the best and ideal place for children. It is a fundamental building block of society which makes a unique and irreplaceable contribution to the common good. It is therefore deserving of special recognition and promotion by the State.
Proposals to change the meaning of marriage effectively say to parents, children and society that the State should not, and will not, promote any normative or ideal family environment for raising children. It therefore implies that the biological bond and natural ties between a child and its mother and father have no intrinsic value for the child or for society. As Pope Francis stated recently, ‘We must reaffirm the right of children to grow up in a family with a father and a mother …
The Sacrament of Marriage
… the Catholic understanding of marriage adds a new ‘dimension’; it is a special blessing because of Christ. Marriage is a sacrament, a sign of God’s love. …
It is the vocation and mission of married couples to be a visible sign of God’s love, to one another, to their children and to the community through a faithful relationship which is open to life.
The love of God is eternally faithful and reliable. Married love seeks to reflect that love as a faithful, unbreakable relationship. Because it is a sacrament, marriage brings about and deepens the love it reflects. With the couple living the sacrament of marriage, their children are enriched by their sharing in God’s love.
…. Every family has its problems.
But instead of beginning with the problems and challenges, we might begin by reflecting on the meaning of marriage as a sacrament and the blessing that it can be to the couple and to society.
… The love of Christ for us, which marriage reflects, led him to betrayal, abandonment by friends and agonising death on a cross. But that was also the path that led him and leads us to the fulfilment where ‘Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more’ (Rev 21:4) and where God will make all things new. …
we ask that the principle of equality not be undermined by applying it inappropriately to two fundamentally different types of relationship. Marriage is a unique relationship different from all others for a reason.
The family is experiencing a profound cultural crisis, as are all communities and social bonds. … Marriage now tends to be viewed as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will. But the indispensible contribution of marriage to society transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple….