‘Marriage is important – Reflect before you change it’
Statement of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference
Within weeks the people of Ireland will be asked to vote in a referendum that will change the
meaning of marriage in the Constitution of Ireland.
Marriage is of fundamental importance for children,
mothers and fathers, and society – all of us need to
reflect deeply before changing it. We ask the people of
Ireland to consider very carefully the profound
implications which this constitutional amendment
would have on the family environment and on our
understanding of parenthood.
We respect the views of people who think differently to
us, trusting that our sincerely held views, grounded in
faith, will also be heard and respected.
We come to this debate believing that the union of a
man and a woman in marriage, open to the
procreation of children, is a gift from God who created
us ‘male and female’. Reason also points to the truth
about human sexuality that makes the relationship between a man and a woman
unique. Mothers and fathers bring different, yet complementary gifts and strengths into a
We cannot support an amendment to the Constitution
which redefines marriage and effectively places the union
of two men, or two women, on a par with the marriage
relationship between a husband and wife which is open to
the procreation of children.
We are concerned that, should the amendment be passed,
it will become increasingly difficult to speak any longer in
public about marriage as being between a man and a
woman. What will we be expected to teach children in
school about marriage? Will those who sincerely
continue to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman be forced to act against their
conscience? Can a way be found to protect the civil rights of gay people without undermining
the fundamental meaning of marriage as commonly understood across cultures, faiths and
down the ages?
Already, in The Children and Family Relationships Bill, it is proposed to remove mention of
mothers and fathers from a whole raft of previous legislation.
We encourage everyone to think about these issues and to vote on May 22nd. The effects of this
proposed amendment will be far-reaching for this and for future generations. We say to all
voters: Marriage is important – Reflect before you change it.
We invite people of faith to bring this decision to prayer. In the coming weeks, and particularly
in May, the month of Mary, we call for prayer for Marriage and the Family.
Statement from the Spring General Meeting
of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference
10 March 2015
For more information see www.catholicbishops.ie
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and Archbishop
Eamon Martin speaking to the media in
Maynooth about the Bishops’ Conference
statement on marriage.