At a media conference at Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Bishop Liam MacDaid, chairman of the Council for Marriage and the Family, along with Bishop Kevin Doran, Bishop of Elphin, officially launched the pastoral statement The Meaning of Marriage on behalf of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

The pastoral statement advises the faithful that “to redefine the nature of marriage would be to undermine it as the fundamental building block of our society.  The Church seeks with others to reaffirm … that marriage should be reserved for the unique and complementary relationship between a woman and a man from which the generation and upbringing of children is uniquely possible.”

Bishops encouraged everyone to read The Meaning of Marriage which is currently being distributed to over 1,300 parishes throughout the island over the coming weeks.  The pastoral statement can be downloaded here in the English, Irish and Polish languages.

Some quotations from the pastoral statement:

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.

Marriage is not merely a private institution. The well-being of the family and its place in society is not simply a matter for the husband and wife but for society as a whole. It is given special recognition by society because it is the place where children learn what it means to be members of their family and of society.

In seeking to reaffirm the unique value to children and society of the mutual and complementary roles of a mother and father, 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.