Posted on 29 July 2016
By Meg Griffin, Family & Life Office, Parramatta
Many of us may be aware of the official doctrine of the Catholic Church, stated within her catechism, on the subject of homosexuality and ‘same-sex marriage’. But on this matter, many of us also struggle to engage with our non-religious friends, and the broader secular society who tend to ‘switch-off’ when Catholic doctrine is mentioned.
On Thursday 14 July 2016, we were presented with a new resource embodying a fresh approach! The Family & Life Office, Parramatta hosted the launch of the new book, Two Men Talk About Marriage, which presents the collaborative work of authors Dr Jeremy Bell and John McCaughan.
The night began with a reception at the Novotel Parramatta at which the Hon Greg Smith SC acknowledged the important work of the authors in engaging in discussion on this issue.
At the public talk that followed in St Patrick’s Cathedral Hall, the authors began their presentation with common ground to all, the universal desire to love and be loved. The development of their argument then covered the natural purpose of sex and went on to explore ideas around marriage, childbearing and parenting.
Dr Bell, who once identified as exclusively homosexual, related his own personal experience in pondering these big questions regarding nature, marriage and sex.
Now engaged, he recounts, “at the end of 2010 … I rediscovered, after many, many years, an interest in women”. Having converted to Catholicism two years later, and having integrated Church teaching into the views to which he already held, he states, “it is very important to me when talking to people about this subject to stress that, yes I think that a rational case can be made for what is nonetheless seen as a typically religious position, that marriage should be between a man and a woman.”
McCaughan shared personal anecdotes that at times moved the audience to laughter or tears. Drawing from his parents’ experience and example, McCaughan pointed out, “the greatest school of love is marriage”. On talking about the great importance of marriage, he explains, “What is it that keeps them (his parents) together … love only has two words – you and always! You because you are unique, wonderful and beautiful, and always because it is forever … marriage for me is the ultimate symbol of love. Why? Because in love you are not replaceable, in sex you are. And that made all the difference.”
With a brief look at where we have come from as a society and where we are going, the night’s discussion concluded and was followed by a book signing.
In a world where people are in the habit of responding to slogans and have instantaneous access to information, it is the authors’ intention to encourage their readers to take time in pondering the material in their book, in reading and rereading, becoming familiar with the points of discussion so that each reader may make the material their own.
Copies of Two Men Talk About Marriage can be purchased from the publisher Connor Court.
The Family & Life Office has moved:
Diocesan Ministry Centre, 51-59 Allawah Street, Blacktown, NSW, 2148
Tel (02) 8838 3441, firstname.lastname@example.org