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It’s not your call, Mark

If the Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge thought he was going to make a definitive statement in the same sex marriage debate, he will have to do better than yesterday. “They don’t qualify for what we call marriage.” These were his words on ABC yesterday, describing same sex couples.

Bishop Coleridge’s argument is based on the principle that there is more than one kind of love. On that basic point he is right. The love between parent and child, brother and sister, for example is not the same as the love between a man and a woman who wish to marry.

But where Bishop Coleridge goes off the rails, is in thinking that same sex couples do not feel the same love for each other as do a man and a woman who wish to marry. He, as a celibate man, could not possibly know that.

Therefore, one can only guess that his comments reflect a theology carefully constructed by his Church to counter the same sex marriage argument. But such theology is flawed, and so is his Church.

Bishop Coleridge is careful to acknowledge that same sex couples are equal but claims that there is only one form of love for marriage and that is between a man and a woman. Nicely phrased but, simply not true. Society framed marriage. Society can change it.

To his credit, he refrained from quoting any perceived bible reference to the issue. That would have been too much. But he did suggest that equality has qualifications. “Every human being is equal, but not are all the same.” Really? Does that mean some are more equal than others?

He correctly notes that human society has always discriminated in deciding who can marry. Yes, that’s true, they have and in most cases, for good reason. There are biological reasons why brother and sister should not marry. Society, he says, has also ruled out marriage between people of the same sex. “That is not to say that they are not equal, but that they don’t qualify for what we call marriage,” he said.

Don’t qualify? In what way? Who decided what those qualifications would be? Over the past 2000 years governments around the world did. And they did so without recourse to the people. But this government doesn’t have the ticker for that, so they are asking us.

We have come a long way since the Stone Age. Human society has always made changes as it continues to evolve over time. When it decides certain long held views are no longer appropriate, society changes them. This is one such occasion.

In the end, we the people, will decide who can get married and who can’t. We the people have the ticker and will make the changes. This is just one of them. There will be others. That’s what the people do.

We have come a long way since the Catholic Church held sway over the decisions of governments across the western world. Their contribution to this debate no longer carries the clout it once did. In that sense their voice is just one more in the chorus.

The Catholic Church had to be taught that protecting paedophiles within its ranks was wrong. It has been forced to change whether it likes it or not. It is unlikely it will ever change its view on same sex marriage, but society has. It may not like it, but it must learn to respect it.


39 comments

  1. Joseph Carli

    ” We have come a long way since the Stone Age. Human society has always made changes as it continues to evolve over time. When it decides certain long held views are no longer appropriate, society changes them. This is one such occasion.”
    Exactly and succinctly put..When the entire Christian faith is built upon a pun : “Thou art Peter ;The Rock..and upon this rock I will build my church” (Petros is Greek, means; rock)…they have really little to say in how humanity makes changes.

  2. Miriam English

    The Christian church thought it was obvious that slavery was normal and nothing was wrong with it. Society had better morals and imposed the abolition of slavery upon the church.

    The Christian church thought it was obvious that interfaith marriages were unnatural and wrong. Society had better morals and imposed a more tolerant attitude to interfaith morals upon the church.

    The Christian church was absolutely against interrace marriages as they thought it was obvious that they were unnatural and wrong (and anyway, what about the children?). Society had better morals and has imposed that better sense upon the amoral church.

    Now the Christian church is certain that same sex marriage is unnatural and wrong. We once again have to impose our better morals upon the amoral church.

    And still churches have the nerve to rattle on with their piffle about them being the source of morality.

    One last interesting point. If you read about the relationship between Jesus and John in the Bible, it’s pretty obvious that was a gay relationship. It was expected that a Jewish preacher of his day would marry, but Jesus didn’t. The crucifixion is attended only by three women and only one apostle — John — who the gospels say Jesus loved in a special way. “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, ‘Woman behold your son!’ Then he said to the disciple. ‘Behold your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.”

    Ironically the modern Christians would not allow their own Christ and John to marry.

    https://amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2012/apr/20/was-jesus-gay-probably

  3. Kaye Lee

    “They don’t qualify for what WE call marriage.”

    That’s fine. You can stick to saying marriage is for the purposes of vaginal sex between fertile couples if you want.

    But YOU don’t make the law Mr Coleridge so suck it up.

  4. Kaye Lee

    The apostle Paul wrote

    “Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”

  5. Michael Taylor

    The church certainly doesn’t make the law in this country, Kaye, but they sure do have a lot of influence over those that do.

  6. Joseph Carli

    Worth reposting..: “The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.”
    ― Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  7. Miriam English

    The Catholic church is in some ways the worst of the lot.

    Their own Bible says not to pray to graven images, but their churches are full of images and sculptures of Jesus nailed to a torture device and of Mary, his mother, and the people and priests pray constantly to them.

    The Bible says not to have any man between a person and god, but the church interposes an entire damnable hierarchy of parasites between the ordinary person and their god.

    And the Jesus who overturned the gambling tables and took a whip to the priests for gouging money from the people would be horrified at the scams the modern church runs and how unimaginably huge is the wealth — in gold and property — it has bled from its largely poverty-stricken sheeple.

    Yeah, and the Catholic Archbishop wants to talk about what’s right. What an arsehole.

  8. diannaart

    John Kelly wrote:

    Don’t qualify? In what way? Who decided what those qualifications would be? Over the past 2000 years governments around the world did. And they did so without recourse to the people. But this government doesn’t have the ticker for that, so they are asking us.

    While I agree our government are devoid of anything approaching a heart, it remains to be seen how much ticker they do have. If the results of the poll of Australians who care enough (either way) to vote, if the majority vote “YES”, how much “ticker” will the far-right of the LNP display then?

    I do not wish to contemplate the responses of these same religious and conservative extremists if the vote for Equal Marriage is “NO”. They already hold the patent on “smug”…

    …and if the vote is close?

  9. Miriam English

    diannaart, no matter what the outcome of the vote is, nothing will change. Marriage equality won’t happen until there’s a new government. I really can not imagine this government of hopelessly corrupt jellyfish suddenly finding a backbone to stand up to the religious extremists.

    No way.

    They’ve known for years that the majority of Australians are in favor of marriage equality. A half-arsed vote won’t change that — especially when they’ve gone out of their way to make it clear that it’s non-binding.

  10. kerri

    Mark Coleridge does not qualify for what anyone would call compassion.
    This from catholicnewagency.com
    “Vatican City, Nov 12, 2014 / 04:56 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his weekly general audience Pope Francis spoke on the qualities needed to be a true minister of God, saying that those who are ordained should never be “authoritative,” but rather humble and merciful.

    “It is only by acknowledging that their ministry is an unmerited gift of God’s mercy that bishops, priests and deacons can serve their brothers and sisters with humility, generosity, wisdom and compassion,” the Pope told pilgrims during his Nov. 12 address.”

  11. Shutterbug

    The Catholic Church’s ongoing and pig-headed insistence in the strict belief of the archaic will ensure it’s decent into the irrelevant. The sooner it meets it’s fiery end the better.

  12. Miriam English

    The church had its chance and blew it in a big way. It had control of the Western world for a thousand years, and what did they do with it? Poverty spread, corruption grew, knowledge was systematically destroyed or kept locked up, superstition blossomed, the church embarked on grand campaigns of torture and of burning people alive. That came to be known as the Dark Ages.

    And still they say they have our best interests at heart and that they’re guided by morality.

    Bollocks.

  13. Matters Not

    Society framed marriage. Society can change it.

    Yes the concept of ‘marriage’ is a social construct and therefore can, has and will be defined and redefined over time. Should be obvious to even a casual reader of the historical record.

    Re:

    marriage is for the purposes of vaginal sex between fertile couples

    One wonders how that marries with:

    On the appointed day the nun goes through all the ritual of the marriage ceremony, after a solemn mass at which all the inmates of the convent assist. She is dressed in bridal white with wreath and veil, and receives a wedding ring, as a “Bride of Christ”.

    Seems like Christ has ‘enjoyed’ many, many brides over the years. Maybe the Muslims are on to something? Christ seems like one hell of a fucker. All virgins and many more than the 79 promised to the ..

  14. Miriam English

    Today, everywhere we look around the world, wherever we find high concentrations of religious belief we find greater levels of crime, illness, immorality, and death.

    The church is, in most places, a manifestation of malaise. Archbishop Coleridge, in his lack of concern for the well-being of millions of people in love, represents that moral sickness perfectly.

  15. David1

    I suggest Archbishop Coleridge pick up the phone, call the Vatican, ask to be put through to his boss HH Pope Francis and tell him his inner thoughts on Gay Marriage, I suggest Coleridge may not get the answer that is in line with his Eve ate an apple type thinking. Pope Francis is so far ahead of these relics of stupidity in his thinking, he makes those holding views like the Archbishop cowardly fools.
    Abbott will be proud of you Your Grace (hardly an appropriate title), your observations on hundreds of your own parishioners will receive Abbotts blessing, and that is worth zip.
    As a Catholic, you and I live on diferrent planets. At least different States, may it stay that way.

  16. Kaye Lee

    When Coleridge appeared before the Royal Commission he said he could not possibly know the sexual behaviour of clergy who he works with and has no right to ask.

    “I have no right to go to a priest who is not an employee of mine and say ‘excuse me, are you in a sexual relationship?'” he said.

    So he has no right to question supposedly celibate priests about their sexual behaviour but he has every right to decide that some people may not get married because of their sexual behaviour?

    Coleridge also said “If the Catholic Church says it cannot ordain women we are correspondingly obliged to explore ways in which women can exercise genuine responsibility in the decision-making processes at the highest level.”

    Instead of saying hey that’s wrong???

  17. john ocallaghan

    I read that Tony Abbott went to see his Mentor last week,a Mr George Pell,Tony walked in the door and George said… hello Tony! is that a crucifix in your pocket or are you just glad to see me!~!~

  18. Matters Not

    no right to go to a priest who is not an employee of mine

    Re not an employee of mine . So Coleridge can’t transfer the person under consideration – can’t sack – can’t whatever …

    Seems to me that responsibility evaporates as Coleridge assumes to speak with authority but magics away any notion of accountability. At least he’s historically consistent.

    Surely we wouldn’t want anyone like that in charge of an institution that purports to educate children?

  19. Kaye Lee

    Yanno how Eric Abetz warned that people would want to marry the Harbour Bridge, well according to Revelation 21:9-10, the city of Jerusalem is the Bride of Christ. I heard a priest say the other day that all members of the Church are brides of Christ.

    Ok I know I am getting silly but I am arguing against people like Lyle Shelton, Eric Abetz and Cory Bernardi – sensible doesn’t work.

  20. crypt0

    I reckon you’re on the money there, Kaye!
    “We have come a long way since the Stone Age” …
    but when you take a glance at the current LieNP government, you could be forgiven for arguing the point on that one !.

  21. wam

    I watched him as he told his truth. The man cannot separate sex from love. To him homosexual love is an abomination and not an expression of love. So the love in marriage can never be that between same sex couples. QED NO

    He is wrong kaye the pope appoints cardinals and whilst the 1917 change suggests only priests and bishops may be cardinals in theory he can appoint a woman. This is parallel to the current question

  22. Glenn Barry

    I was unfortunate enough to watch the interview, and the only impression that I am left with does the Catholic Church have some sort of monopoly on powerful officials of low intellectual ability who would be best advised to NOT go on TV and make incoherent arguments?

    The more I see of them, the more I see through them, as people who perhaps didn’t surrender the capacity for independent thought, because they were never gifted with it in the first place

  23. Brett

    Miriam, Kaye, Joseph. Thank you…I wish I could be as succinct as you xx

  24. Kaye Lee

    These people seem incapable of understanding their hypocrisy. One of the most strident claims from the no campaign is that marriage equality would limit their freedom of speech.

    Yet today we hear that they are trying to stop American rapper Macklemore from performing his pro-gay song Same Love at the NRL grand final.

    Former player Tony Wall, who played first grade briefly in the mid 1990s, is petitioning NRL boss Todd Greenberg to halt the half-time performance because he and his family, and other NRL fans who did not support same-sex marriage, would feel uncomfortable watching the grand final if the song were to be performed.

    Mr Abbott backed that call, tweeting: “Footy fans shouldn’t be subjected to a politicised grand final. Sport is sport!”

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbott-backs-call-to-ban-samesex-anthem-from-nrl-grand-final-20170927-gyq1ja.html

    I seem to recall Tony Abbott turning up to the grand final and being severely booed.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nmSHQknks8

  25. Miriam English

    On the marriage equality “vote”, I love this wonderful short video by JuiceMedia:

    Marriage Equality Plebbyshite
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9g9RhnbIUA

    The “authorised by” bit at the end was nicely fitting too. 🙂

  26. Jack Straw

    2GB callers are going feral about rapper/singer/activist Macklemore singing the Rugby League Grand Final.Ably all set up by host Steve Price.

    I am very sad that I am still on “awaiting moderation” wait list for my comments.

    Can’t see any other comments, Jack

  27. Johno

    Thumbs up for juice media version Plebby – shite. Disagree with the comparison of homophobes to dinosaurs. Dinosaurs were/are way more evolved.

  28. diannaart

    Thank you for Juicemedia’s PlebbyShite.

    And thank the universe there remains a plethora of intelligent independent thinking which far outstrips the hive minds of the ultraconservative. Ironic, when considering the discharges of hot air from the so-called “freedom of speech for the individual” numpties.

    As for using the much maligned dinosaurs to indicate dead thinking – apart from themselves there does not exist any life forms deserving of equation to the likes of Abbott and his droogs.

    ..and, yes, Miriam I agree, that marriage equality is unlikely to be settled until a change of government.

  29. jimhaz

    All Christians more or less have an arranged polygamous marriage to the same bloke. They are also closet vampires drinking his blood at communion.

  30. petetaylor66

    Coleridge is still pissed off about the whole Church of England breakaway thing that was created to avert the Catholic church’s archaic restrictions on marriage. Obviously reckons the Micks still hold court over the defo of marriage. Guess what, Marky Mark? That evaporated the minute the C of E became a thing! Best catch up, old mate, lest one is left withering on the vine!

  31. Spanna

    There are biological reasons brothers and sisters shouldn’t have children together. But there are actually no such reasons to prevent them from marrying since that is a completely different issue to parenthood (not my thing, but that’s irrelevant).

    People can have kids without ever being married; and be married without ever having kids.

    Let’s not conflate the two.

  32. Pingback: It’s not your call, Mark | THE VIEW FROM MY GARDEN

  33. Zoltan Balint

    The end of Coleridge’s statement

    ‘ … for what WE call marriage.’

    Who is WE. Is it his pet rock and he. His golly wog and he. Or is he debating the issue with him self. Since he as far as I know has never participated in the act to know what it feels or what it requires of a person to devote himself to another HUMAN without judgment, how can he comment. Human, not some THING that never speaks is never there and never cooks dinner. As they say … before you declare you don’t like something you have to taste it, and you can not judge something you do not understand. Stick to the job you have been given Coleridge … serve your congregation and do not judge. The Church is supposed to protect and support the poor week and the persecuted. As Jesus said … he who … the first stone, or did you not read the Bible mate.

  34. Miriam English

    Except the church isn’t protecting the poor, the weak, and the persecuted. It bleeds even more funds from the poor, it fills the minds of the weak with debilitating nonsense, and it further persecutes the already persecuted.

    Your point that Coleridge has no understanding of what he’s talking about is a good one. He apparently has never been in romantic love with another person so is not qualified to speak. If he was smarter and more self-aware he would reserve judgement, shut up, and listen to more knowledge people speak on the topic. But no. His ignorance and arrogance plant his foot directly in his homophobic mouth.

  35. Miriam English

    I should qualify that. Most churches don’t protect the poor, the weak, the persecuted. There are some that truly do good things. An example is Gosford Anglican Church. Most here will like his most recent sign and explanation:

    “This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.“ Ezekiel 16:49
    The sin of Sodom is greatly misunderstood by those who usually choose to do so, it has nothing to do with homosexuality, it is all about hospitality, or more to the point lack there of, and particularly about the condition of the heart that leads to inhospitable behaviour.

    Peter Dutton’s comments today are an astonishingly vivid example of this most grievous of sins. The lies, misinformation and blatant untruths are worthy of noting less than condemnation and ridicule.

    “They’re economic refugees, they got on a boat, paid a people smuggler a lot of money, and somebody once said to me that we’ve got the world’s biggest collection of Armani jeans and handbags up on Nauru waiting for people to collect it when they depart,” Dutton told 2GB radio. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/sep/28/peter-dutton-lets-fly-at-armani-clad-economic-refugees-sent-to-us

    Dutton claimed many of those who ended up in the island camps had not come from war-ravaged areas but were instead seeking economic advantage. They had received “an enormous amount of support” from Australian taxpayers for a long time.

    Yes Mr Dutton we have spent billions of taxpayer dollars incarceration innocent people where they have been raped, beaten, tortured and murdered. You seem to think they should somehow be grateful to us. This is the psyche of the sociopath and abuser.

    Could the Minister for Immigration be so willfully ignorant that he is unaware that many refugees, especially Iranians are from the middle class? These are the people most at risk of persecution in an oppressive regime. Such regimes cannot allow the educated populace any freedom at all lest they begin to make trouble. Yes they can afford to pay people smugglers; yes they have mobile phones and even Armani sunglasses, everyone with a modicum of understanding knows that this is more likely to support their refugee claims than to diminish them.

    Unless, of course, you are a sodomite; someone who has no compassion, no capacity to love the stranger, the persecuted, the outcast or the homeless.

    The biblical judgment on the Sodomites was of biblical proportions. This is because such a society cannot, in the long term survive. Because of its lack of compassion it will eventually turn in on itself and be destroyed from within.

    I do truly hope Peter Dutton is not representative of the average Australian, if he is we are all doomed.

    Because Dutton is a true Sodomite.

    Fr Rod.

  36. Kaye Lee

    What really worries me is that most of the reports about Dutton’s ridiculous comments say something like “the growing likelihood that Peter Dutton will one day be prime minister .”

    The LNP are trying to have the electoral boundaries in Dutton’s seat changed to make it more favourable to him.

    It seems Dutton has enormous sway within the party, god knows why, but the prospect of him being leader is horrific. The people of Dickson and Warringah could do great service to our country at the next election – or they can deliver us to hell in a handbasket.

  37. nurses1968

    Kaye Lee I have a Labor voting friend in Warringah and she is moving out. So are a few other Labor voters around her which inevitably makes Abbotts seat a little bit safer, Can’t say I blame them for moving though and my friend is heading for the wonderful electorate of Whitlam

  38. diannaart

    The oppressors always find fault in those they oppress, be difficult to judge otherwise 😉

  39. guest

    Two of the favourite phrases used by the Murdoch press are “identity politics” and “free speech”. The Murdoch press accuses of many minority groups in Oz of playing the first game and accuses others of not allowing them (the Murdoch press) of having the second at all, but denies it to others.

    So we get the hard done-by No-sayers claiming they are being bullied by the Yes-sayers – and yet call for the banning of anything in favour of the Yes-vote, saying marriage equality will destroy our civilisation.

    When it comes to “identity politics” and “free speech”, the Murdoch press is the most hypocritical.

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