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Catholic Church's views on marriage are outdated

It is difficult to make sense of the Catholic Church's teaching on marriage in a world that has changed so radically. The key question is not what is the Church's teaching, but what is the Church learning from people's experience of their sexuality within marriage.

I have heard it said that the Church is in the world but not of the world but, surely, it must make sense to the world?

Unfortunately, for many, the overwhelming obstacle to the Church's credibility is the inevitable suspicion of male bias in whatever it teaches.

To talk about the essence of marriage makes little sense, as the concept of marriage has changed significantly over time, much to the advantage of women who, for too long, were seen as a man's property.

The same applies to definitions of marriage; definitions, or entries in a dictionary, are not prescriptions about how to use a word, but broad indications of current usage. There have been significant changes in the understanding of the nature of sex in marriage, though the concept of conjugal rights, enshrined in law, continues to provide support for the appalling notion of the right to sex on demand.

The invitation "Let's make love" means that a couple seek to express their love for one another by mutually engaging in the intimacy of sex.

Pregnancy is not left to chance, but controlled and managed by the use of contraceptives, alas, forbidden by the Catholic Church for all the wrong reasons.

It seems more responsible and more indicative of respect for life if babies come by desire, not by accident. What defines and sustains married relationships, homosexual or heterosexual, is not orientation towards procreation, but orientation towards love and fidelity.

PHILIP O'NEILL

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