JESUS once remarked to some educated people: "You can predict the weather by looking at the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs concerning these times." (Matthew 16:3)
Presently, the signs of the times tell us that instability in marriage and family life is a cause of increased societal problems.
A third of children now live in homes where one, or both, natural parents are absent and among our young people, there are alarming levels of truancy, unemployment, anti-social behaviour, abuse of drugs and alcohol, with increasing rates of suicide.
Moreover, those who do not honour their own homes and families are unlikely to observe any fixed standards of justice where others are concerned.
Humanity, in this sort of crisis, generally remains insensitive to the gravity of the times in which we live.
However, politicians have no excuse for ignoring the signs of the times.
So it is disappointing that the SDLP neglects to promote practical ways and means of strengthening traditional family structures – children, parents and grandparents – but, instead, recognises alternative types of relationships as "marriage".