Tag Archives: australia

Oceans

[Oceans]
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

I discovered many beautiful water bodies in Sydney, including popular coastal beaches as well as obscure lakes in the suburban areas. There’s always something about the ocean or lakes that speaks volumes to our human heart.

The thunderous roar of the waves crashing against the rocks or shore proclaims mightily the awesome power of God; the ever-changing patterns created by shore waters imprinted on rocks just declares God’s creative beauty; the calm ebb and flow of the lake waters gently caressing the boats they hold somehow reflect God’s gentle touch in our inner being.

But what I discovered even more was the ocean in my heart, where God was pounding ferociously to awaken a much deeper call and desire deep within my heart; where God was creatively revealing even more beautiful patterns and plans that invite me to participate in; where God was gently seducing me into an even more unimaginable plan of His that is giving me much peace, freedom and joy as I consider the deeper waters God is calling me to.

I pray I may have the strength and courage to walk on water wherever He may call me, the faith and assurance that He shall be with me above the waves, and the peace and freedom to trust in His greater plans and desires.

___

Originally posted on Instagram.
Image: PD-US

Saving Goldicott Convent — on heritage sites

Mount St. Mary’s Convent (Goldicott House)

Last night I noticed that a Protestant friend of mine had liked a page entitled “Toowong’s Heritage — worth fighting for.” Curious, I clicked through to find that 2,500 people had petitioned to preserve a heritage-listed convent intact. It was dear to many locals as a boarding house for the local Catholic school, and included a chapel in the front room. The last remaining Sister of Mercy moved out in April 2017 before the property was sold to developers, who wish to subdivide it and turn it into a nursing home.

I was quite impressed by the fact that many non-Catholic and even irreligious people, such as the local Greens MP, had taken up this cause. What is it about beautiful sites of historical value that tug at the heartstrings of people?

Enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Konstantinos of Singapore and South Asia, CHIJMES, February 2012

This brought to mind a 2012 furor in Singapore over a sacrilegious party in the deconsecrated chapel of my mother’s old school, slated for Holy Saturday. A friend back home made a police report and encouraged me to do likewise. Later on, a reporter asked, “Why does it matter to you, when you are not even in Singapore?”

Aside from it being the chapel where my mother learned to pray and sing in English (since her parents spoke Teochew), to every Catholic anywhere in the world, an act of sacrilege is a wound in the Body of Christ. To us, every church where the Blessed Sacrament is found is a house of God our Father, and thus also our house. Even when the church has been deconsecrated and repurposed for some other use, its very architectural character hearkens back to its original purpose, and the sacred rites which hallowed its walls.

[Besides, that February I had attended a magnificent Orthodox ceremony in that very chapel.]

But what about non-Catholics, or lapsed Catholics who still care about our heritage sites?

Villa Maria
Villa Maria, Brisbane (photo by Liam Nally)

Last December in Brisbane we saw a considerable groundswell against plans to install a café in a heritage-listed chapel here, which still functions like a parish church besides providing for the spiritual needs of the nursing home in which it is situated. A Buddhist, lapsed Catholic neighbor walked in after Mass one Sunday morning, exclaiming what a pity it was that the developers did not respect the integrity of the chapel.

Meanwhile, a few Catholics did not see what the fuss was about.

I think some people have a real sense of the importance of preserving the history of our built environment. It is a common lament among my Singaporean expatriate friends that, with old buildings being torn down and new ones springing up seemingly every few months, each time they go home, they can’t find familiar landmarks anymore. They end up lost and bewildered.

As we are physical beings, familiar surroundings lend us a sense of comfort, identity and belonging. Furthermore, historical sites invoke curiosity and wonder in quite a different way to modern buildings. As intelligent beings with a conception of time, we are able to appreciate the value of old places, where people lived and died before us. Heritage sites give us a feeling of connection with the people who once walked the streets we do now. They help us feel part of a community that extends not only over a local area, but also through time.

This is intensified in sacred sites, where people encounter not only their earthly peers, but commune with God and the saints.

Australia is a relatively young country. It does not have the ancient buildings of Europe. As population pressure mounts, the landscape is steadily being transformed, sometimes with scant regard for the country’s heritage. Moreover, with the drive to modernize, glorious old art and architecture can sometimes be discarded over-hastily, without community consultation. When I saw old photos of Brisbane’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral, with side altars, a magnificent Epiphany altarpiece and murals depicting the history of Catholicism in Brisbane — which have all vanished — I felt robbed. It was painful.

I haven’t been to Mount St. Mary’s Convent (a.k.a. Goldicott House), but I urge you to sign the petition, so that future generations may continue to appreciate it, and not lament its demise.

“But after all, for us Catholics… a church… is more that just an ordinary spacious attractive meeting house. It is even more than just a house of prayer. It is the place for us where the living Presence of the Godhead dwells, it is the great audience chamber where the God made Flesh and Dwelt Among us is here constantly, here ready for you at all times, to listen to your prayers and your petitions. It is the one place, the one spot perhaps for each of us that is intimately connected with the most important, the greatest events of our lives.”
George Cardinal Mundelein, Archbishop of Chicago, 1939

Cathedrals are not medieval monuments but houses of life, where we feel ‘at home’: where we meet God and where we meet each other.
Pope Benedict XVI, General audience in the Paul VI Hall, Rome, Italy, Wednesday 21 May 2008

Chastity and Abortion: Interview with Jason Evert

By guest writer Kathy Clubb.

World-renowned speaker, Jason Evert, was in Melbourne last week for a series of talks on the true nature of love. Jason has spoken to more than one million people about the virtue of chastity and has been a keynote speaker at five World Youth Days. He has written several books, including “Theology of the Body for Teens” and “How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul,” and has studied counseling and theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. It was my great pleasure to meet him and ask him a few questions about how a return to chastity can put the brakes on the abortion culture.

Chastity and Abortion: Interview with Jason Evert

Kathy: Jason, can we win the battle against abortion without preaching the chastity message?

Jason: No. In order to be fully pro-life, we have to first teach them to be pro-love. I discovered that when doing sidewalk counselling in front of an abortion clinic for three years and I had an inescapable feeling of being late. “Now, why am I meeting this woman forty-five minutes before her abortion? You know –  why couldn’t I have met her when she was 15? Because maybe if she’d learned about chastity then, she never would have dated this guy to begin with, and wouldn’t be in this difficult situation at the age of 25.

And so I realized that I was kind of throwing sandbags on the banks of a flooded river, instead of swimming upstream to where the dam was actually broken. I figured if we could seal off the dam, then there wouldn’t be any need for stopping the flood damage downstream.

Kathy: Is that why you started this whole ministry? Because of that feeling of being late at the abortion facility? Pro-life got you into this?

Jason: Hmmm, yeah, that was a major reason. The other part was leading high school youth retreats, and the kids would open up about how much they were suffering in this area of life in particular. And I was reading Pope John Paul II’s “Love and Responsibility” and began to see that this was the antidote to both issues: to the chastity issue and the fruit of it, which is the abortion culture. Because you don’t have anyone going to the abortion clinic who hasn’t struggled with chastity.

Kathy: It’s been said that the journey to the abortion facility starts years before the appointment on that fateful day.

Jason: And when a woman is coming in to get an abortion, it might not be her first. It could be her fourth. And if she’s not being evangelized at that moment, perhaps through a crisis pregnancy center: “You know, it doesn’t have to be this way – there are many different choices you can make in life, so you don’t end up in this difficult situation a fourth or fifth time.”

Because it’s so important for a pro-life ministry to be pro-life –  not only before the abortion, and also after the abortion in supporting her – but also years beforehand. We have to see this as a preventative measure.

And some people are doing wonderful work sidewalk counseling. I was working with a nun once, and she saved 19 babies in one day. So you can’t underestimate the importance of the work they’re doing. It’s not one vs the other; they are two wings of the same plane.

I was once standing outside of a clinic, and I befriended one of the security guards out front. And one day he confided in me, and he said, “You know, every day I show up at work, and I just hear voices in my head, telling me to kill. And I don’t know where that’s coming from.” And I said, “Let’s try to connect the dots here.” And he said he struggled with alcoholism, and his marriage was falling apart, and I said, “Let’s pray together “, and he said, “Please.” And so we prayed together right outside the abortion clinic.

And I came back a week later and he had quit. Because I had told him, ‘You’re basically working in the vestibule of hell, here. So it’s probably better to find another place to work – get those voices out of your head.’

But then, they kind of had it out for me at the clinic. One day I was out there praying, and I saw them pointing at me. And my friends told me they were saying that that’s the guy that was with Joe before he quit.  A week later we were out there and a police car pulled up. And they came to me, and they pointed down at me, and the police came to me and they said: “Okay, charges are being pressed against you because apparently, you stalked one of the directors of the clinic, and you tried to offer her a coffee and she turned you down. And you asked her on a date and then you chased her into the abortion clinic and you tried to steal her purse.”

And I said, “Oh really? I missed that. When did this happen again?” And they took me to court, and the judge said guilty. And we went to a retrial before another judge and that judge dismissed the case. And I said I don’t even like coffee. (laughs) They were out to get me – you know what it’s like. Ethics are not their strong suit.

Kathy: Why are the pro-life organizations, in general, failing to talk about chastity?

Jason: Largely because they’re so focused on the immediate triage of trying to save the wounded on the battlefield. They’re just trying to save the life of amputees on the battle-field who’ve only got five minutes to live. They’re doing such an important, last-minute effort to save what they can, that it’s hard sometimes to lift up their eyes to see the horizon. Sometimes they may stop and ask, what could we have done to prevent this carnage sooner?

But there’s no competition in the body of Christ. This is something that we need to do together. Pro-chastity speakers need to have a very pro-life heart to their message. And the pro-life movement needs to realize the importance of saving babies five years before they’re conceived.

Kathy: Can you see a place in every organization for this message?

Jason: Oh, it’s essential. In my chastity talks, I’m holding up an ultrasound of my unborn son and it’s giving the message to the kids when they’re 14 or 15: ‘Hey, this is what ultrasounds are showing.’ You know, they have images of children who appear to be laughing in their mothers’ wombs! And I explain this to the kids. And you know, I’m not beating them over the head with some anti-abortion message. This is just pro-life, this is something that we’re for, not something we’re against. It’s very organically woven into the presentation and it doesn’t feel like I’m trying to indoctrinate them on some pro-life position. It’s just a picture of my kid in my wife’s womb. And how do you argue against that?

Kathy: From what you know, are couples who were chaste before marriage more likely to be open to life during married?

Jason:  I think there’s no doubt about it. Because the Catholic Church’s teaching isn’t so much, okay, good Catholics use NFP, bad Catholics use contraception. Good Catholics realize that children are the supreme gift of marriage. So if we have a serious reason not to have kids, we can fall back on NFP, but the default position is not NFP. The default position is an openness to life. Because children are the supreme gift.

If you were going to get married and you went to the reception, and you saw all these presents laid out, and one said, ‘The Supreme Gift’, you wouldn’t be like, I’ll open that in five years time when we know each other better. You’d think, no, we want to receive that gift as soon as we can. So the disposition to do the will of God with your body is something that naturally flows into wanting the will of God for your family. The Church will never tell you how many kids to have, but God will.

It’s a very dangerous thing to put that part of your life completely under His Lordship, because, you know – what if He’s asking more than we want to give because that’s typically exactly what He does? He stretches us far beyond what we expected, but when we look back when it’s all said and done, it’s like, ‘My goodness, if that had been left in my hands, how differently things would have unfolded.’ If I took control over my own fertility in such a way that was able to completely eliminate [the prospect of children]… it’s almost like we would get addicted to the ease. It’s like, oh wow – this is so easy having them all at school and not worrying about having another little one waking me up at night. This sin brings its own punishment.

Kathy: I was at a retreat one day, and it was Thanksgiving after Communion, and for the first time in my life I thought, ‘Oh, I think I might be done with having my family now.” And I got a very firm feeling from God – that we must never say never – and I had twelve children already! And He still seemed to be showing me that we must never say never. Then I had another child after that.

Jason: Slacker! (laughter) Didn’t Catherine of Siena have 20 or something?

Kathy: 26 or something, I think?

Jason: Good thing her mum wasn’t selfish and only had 25!

Kathy: Do you find this is the same for non-Catholics as well, though? Do you find that it goes together for everyone, or is it more of a Catholic thing because we have a comprehensive teaching?

Jason: No, I think they go hand in hand because it’s the proper use of our human sexuality. And if we know how to use sexuality properly prior to marriage, then it follows very naturally and seamlessly into marriage. And likewise, the abstinence required during natural family planning means that that’s ok – it’s an expression of love.

It’s not about withholding love, it’s about expressing love in different ways. And for someone who doesn’t know chastity prior to marriage, then chastity within marriage is a tough go. A lot of times, marriage will do what it’s supposed to do: it will bring your faults up to the surface. And I know a lot of couples who were not chastity prior to marriage, and then they try to practice NFP chastity in marriage, and it brought up a lot of stuff that it had covered up prior to marriage. Because I think chastity in marriage is more demanding than chastity prior to marriage.

Thanks, Jason for dedicating your time and energy to creating a culture of life and true love.

For more information, visit Jason Evert’s website, Chastity Project, for great articles and resources on the virtue of chastity, talking to children about human sexuality, transgenderism, the porn epidemic and much more. You can follow Jason and his wife, Christalina here on Facebook.

Originally posted at The Freedoms Project.

Villa Maria Chapel Upgrade Creates Controversy

By guest writer David Ryan.

A recent Saturday morning Mass at Villa Maria. Photo: Catherine Toomey

New South Wales based aged-care organization Catholic Healthcare has become embroiled in controversy over renovation plans for the Villa Maria Hostel in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, especially its chapel.

The controversy hinges on proposed modifications to the chapel within the hostel complex to turn part of it into a café and dining area.

Hundreds have protested outside the Hostel against the proposed renovations.

“Nobody in the community was properly consulted,” remarked Peter Bond, member of the community and altar server.

Anthony Vaughan, regular attendee, commented on behalf of his community:

“Villa Maria Chapel is very important to the prayer life of Brisbane — like St Patrick’s Church Hill in Sydney …

The community will not accept anything except keeping the complete chapel intact.

It is a sacred space frequented by many in the area.”

The plans replace the historic choir loft and antechamber with a gathering area separated via glass walls; this will consume a third of the current Romanesque chapel.

Villa Maria, founded in 1927, in the heart of Brisbane, was a center for the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.

Today it is an aged care facility leased by the Brisbane Archdiocese to Catholic Healthcare.

The chapel, under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese, is within the complex and is not a parish; this has caused significant confusion.

Catholic Healthcare, planning to triple the capacity of elderly residents in the future, intended for better facilities.

Catholic Healthcare could not be contacted but reported to the community that the move was a misunderstanding:

‘We thought there was a large chapel that wasn’t being used and wanted to utilize the building to its best potential.”

But the chapel, evidently, is used.

In December a vigil of over 200 gathered on the street and a petition of over 1,000 signatures is circulating for the chapel’s status quo.

Will Marcus, architect, offered floor plans to utilize alternative areas of the complex:

“There are already 27 other places for gathering-rooms in the nursing home.”

He further argues that the upgrade, canonically, is invalid:

“Canon law 1229 states: ‘oratories and private chapels must be reserved for divine worship alone and free from domestic uses.”

Catholic Healthcare informed that the intent is better facilities for the elderly:

“We have a ministry to aged care.

Our ministry is neither social welfare nor building parishes.

We see aged care as a social responsibility.”

The final decision on the matter is to be made this month. But the community says they feel ignored.

The community is supportive of better facilities for the elderly which should include the current preservation of the chapel.

Peter Bond concluded:

“We are not against Catholic Healthcare’s upgrades per se.

Their desire to look after the elderly is honourable.

But we are adamant there should be appropriate respect given to God and his holy place.

One small change and the situation would be resolved instantly.”

_____

David Ryan is a young journalist based in Sydney, Australia.

Hundreds form a Human Prayer Chain against Café Plans for Villa Maria Chapel

By guest writer Catherine Toomey.

Circa 200 people of all ages and races formed a human chain down the wall of Brisbane’s Villa Maria heritage property on Wednesday evening.

“We are here to prayerfully rally against plans to put a café in one part of our Villa Maria chapel,” said event spokesperson, Peter Bond.

In addressing the large gathering, Bond said he “felt very blessed to see so many our Lord has called to protect His holy church.”

Along with their rosary beads and lanterns, the gathering held corflutes with the hashtag the campaign has managed to have trending over the last day – #NoChurchCafe.

Bond said that this measure was being taken at the eleventh hour, although ‘Construction’ signs are already in place at the site, because the community had not yet been heard.

“We have signed petitions, written to the authorities and tonight we are here in prayer and reparation for what is going on,” he clarified.  “It is outrageous to imagine this sacred space being desecrated in such a way as is being proposed.”

A handwritten petition has already attracted almost 1000 signatures in a matter of days.

The land is owned by the Archdiocese of Brisbane but leased by Catholic Healthcare Australia (CHC.)

Both parties have experienced significant social media outcry in the last 24 hours as people across the Brisbane community have become aware of the situation.

“Although CHC are claiming to have had communication with all ‘relevant parties,’ we are frankly disappointed with the lack of dialogue and have not been listened to,” said Bond after CHC released statements to The Catholic Leader and on their Facebook and Twitter pages Wednesday.

“That changes tonight,” he added.  “For wherever two or three are gathered in my name, say the Lord, I am in the midst. May hearts be moved tonight as we pray together (Matt 18:20.)”

_____

Photos by Liam Nally.

Sign the online petition here.

Community Rallies against Café Plans for Heritage Catholic Church

By guest writer Catherine Toomey.

An organic uprising is occurring across Brisbane upon the discovery of otherwise clandestine plans to repurpose part of Brisbane’s heritage Villa Maria Chapel into a café.

Villa Maria
photo by Liam Nally

A prayer vigil has been organized for this Wednesday evening (6th December at 6:15pm) in protest and reparation outside the venue. Additionally, a handwritten petition has already attracted almost 1000 signatures in a matter of days.

Event spokesperson, Mr. Peter Bond, stipulated that the event is non-political and will be attended by not only concerned Catholics but many in the broader community who have concerns with the heritage impact of the proposal to put a café inside.

“It’s outrageous to imagine this sacred space being desecrated in such a way,” he said.

“Can you imagine one side of the chapel watching a Mass being presided over while on the other side of the glass divider, others are nonchalantly sipping on their lattes?”

photo by Catherine Toomey

The stately Spring Hill building is owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane but leased by Catholic Healthcare Australia and is attached to an aged care facility they manage. It operates alongside the original convent for the still-active Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, founded there in 1874 by Fr. Julian Tenison Woods of Mary Mackillop fame.

Bond said that the lack of dialogue with the community is highly disappointing and that he couldn’t understand why a good, alternative proposal for the site had been knocked back.

“This is one of THE most utilised heritage sites for Catholics in Brisbane,” he said. “Imagine if big business made such a decision to desecrate indigenous land or a Muslim mosque at this juncture?”

The decision to desecrate this sacred space comes after a similar scenario at St. Patrick’s Church in Fortitude Valley which has now been bravely reconsecrated by Fr. Peter Brannelly.

“We simply cannot be silent anymore and we hope our stand encourages our bishops, whom we dearly love, to gain the fortitude to stand alongside us in defense of our key sacred spaces,” said Peter. “There have been enough attacks on the Church and religious liberty of late.”

Sign the online petition here.

Abortion…And The Pain in Our Society

cryAbortion is one of those topics that make people really, really uncomfortable.  Nothing destroys the conversation at a pleasant weekend barbeque more instantly than talk of the morality of abortion. A couple of incidences recently made me consider why it might be that the topic is so divisively painful and I thought they were worth sharing.

If you approach a train station on a weekday afternoon, chances are you will have a complimentary copy of the MX newspaper flung into your hands. There are regularly articles in the MX commenting on moral/ethical issues so I often text in a couple of sentences for the feedback pages. A while ago I sent in a comment regarding a story they ran about hundreds of mothers in India giving their baby girls sex change operations to make them males. I questioned which was worse, the goings on in India, or, the 90,000 annual abortions taking place in Australia. The message was published and expectedly attracted a barrage of messages both for and against abortion. To the credit of the newspaper they published messages on both sides for several days and in those days there was a definite progression of thought. Initially there were angry messages that the ‘foetus’ is not a human life, following that there were messages from others outlining how science unequivocally states that the unborn baby is indeed human. And lastly there were messages which stated that even if the unborn baby was ‘human’ it was certainly not a ‘person’. In reading the messages what struck me was the length people would go to justify the notion that abortion could somehow be acceptable.

The second incident was also a few months ago when the director of Family Life International Australia, Paul, was taking calls on a popular talkback station about the work they do in praying and offering material support outside abortion clinics. One woman named Sarah, called in to speak to him. She was obviously angry at what was being said and she explained that she was now a mother of three children but before she was married she fell pregnant and was simply “not ready to be a mother”. As part of his response, Paul pointed out to Sarah that actually she became a mother with that first pregnancy and that she was in fact the mother of four children. It was obvious that with those words Paul had struck a chord Sarah and Sarah’s voice because audibly upset as she rejected the notion that she was the mother of an aborted child.

What became obvious in both those incidences was how raw the issue is in our society and how much people will do what they can to block out the reality. It truly is the unspoken about elephant in the room. Even though there is a lack of consistent data around abortions numbers it is estimated that just since 1994, there have been close to 1.3 million abortions in Australia. This means there is on average one aborted baby for every three babies born.

What that figure of 1.3 million equals is a lot of hurt in our society, it equals a whole lot of people who have been touched by an abortion. That is a lot of mothers (and a lot of fathers) who may be feeling a whole lot of sorrow, guilt and hurt. Is it little wonder then that so many people in society need to (indeed have to) for their own mental well being, deny that abortion is actually the death of a young human life? Can you imagine if 1.3 million mothers interiorised that the foetus they aborted yesterday, last month or 40 years ago was a human life with a beating heart, active brain and living soul? The grief in the streets would be unbearable. Australia’s total war dead is around 100,000 yet every year we lose close to that many Australians through abortion. I can’t help but wonder how many of 12 million anti-depressant scripts written each year in Australia are linked somehow to this silent tragedy.

The point is that condemnation of the objective act of abortion must always be swiftly followed by the mention of the subjective healing that is possible and available for those who have had an abortion. Abortion will always be wrong – the taking of an innocent human life can never be justified – but sadly, the baby is not the only life that is affected. Thankfully there are groups such as Rachel’s Vineyard which offer healing for the many hurting men and women who have been touched by abortion and suffer in some way with what is now referred to as post-abortion syndrome. We can only hope that those who suffer will seek out and undertake the necessary healing for their own well being and future happiness.

Same-Sex Marriage…Ending Discrimination?

It is amazing the way that the same-sex marriage debate has taken such a strangle hold on discussion and commentary in Western society. Who would have thought that in the space of just a few years popular opinion could swift to such a degree that to simply hold marriage as the union of a man and a woman could be labeled as intolerant? Yet this is where we are at.

One recent move for a change in legislation in Australia has come from the very small state of Tasmania where a bill to legalise same-sex marriage was introduced into the Parliament with Premier Lara Giddings imploring the members of the House to “open their hearts and minds to remove this last bastion of discrimination”.

Now if there is a buzz word in the same-sex marriage debate it is most definitely ‘discrimination’. In the 21st century it would be better to be accused of anything rather than be found to be discriminatory. Yet we seem to have forgotten what the word actually means and that each of us discriminate every day of our lives.

Discrimination is the act of making a distinction and choosing between differences. From choosing chicken over ham on your sandwich, to the government deciding that the aged pension will be given at 67 instead of 65; these are discriminations. Without the ability to discriminate, that is the ability to state that one thing is not another thing, we could not have a democratic society. A musical note only has value because of the silence that exists before and after that note, if we were to label the silence as unfair discrimination against sound and remove it, there would only be an ongoing noise.

So yes, upholding marriage as the union of one man and one woman is discrimination because it says that this particular relationship has certain qualities that others do not have. Marriage discriminates against children, widows, those in defacto relationships, people with a same-sex attraction and all those who for whatever reason are not married. However this discrimination says nothing about the value of those individuals, it simply says that they are not in the institution that is called marriage.

One marriage equality website boldly proclaims that, “Denying anyone the right to marry because of gender or sexuality is simply not fair”, but the reason that society is involved in the business of marriage has nothing to do with love, romance or even fairness. Society concerns itself with marriage because it is the normal means by which the next generation is conceived, born and nurtured into responsible citizens. Secular society has no more business legislating the living arrangements of men and women with a same-sex attraction than it does legislating that every citizen must dress in a particular colour according to the season.

There is of course unjust discrimination which involves making decisions against a person based on something such as their race or religion rather than individual merit. That however is very different to stating that because a person practices the Christian faith they are discriminating against those of the Islamic faith. We need to be very careful when it comes to flying the flag of discrimination. Just because we find ourselves outside a particular situation we might like to be in, does not mean we are being unfairly discriminated against.

What is more accurately behind the push for same sex marriage is the desire to declare that the marital love of a man and woman is exactly the same as the proposed marital love of two men or two women. Both heterosexual and homosexual couples might share similar emotional feelings but what gives marriage its unchangeable uniqueness is the sexual union. Marriage declares that a particular man and woman have made the free choice to engage in sexual union with only the other. And that union is naturally open to bringing forth life (whether or not it actually does is another matter). This is the difference that cannot be changed by legislation.

The push for same-sex marriage is part of the agenda to declare that there are no differences in society. It is a push to state that our maleness and our femaleness are irrelevant. However our sex is foundational to us understanding who we are and how we fit in the world. These differences are not problems of discrimination but signs of a unique complementarity. Government may succeed in legislating same-sex marriage but it will be a fruitless law to gain the popular vote. Legalising same-sex marriage would be as meaningless as legislating that day and night were the same.