You may have read about the letter from Cardinal O'Brien concerning equal marriage which was to be read out to congregations across Scotland yesterday. I was struck by the beginning of the letter where he says
In all things, we as Catholics look to Jesus Christ as our model and teacher. When asked about marriage He gave a profound and rich reply: “Have you not read that the Creator, from the beginning, ‘made them male and female’, and said: ‘This is why a man must leave father and mother and cling to his wife and the two become one body’.” (Matthew, 19: 4-5)That's not what I remembered this part of Matthew 19 to be about and, indeed, it isn't. The clue is in Matthew 19:3 and 19:6 -
3 Some Pharisees approached him, and to put him to the test they said, 'Is it against the Law for a man to divorce his wife on any pretext whatever?'4 He answered, 'Have you not read that the Creator from the beginning made them male and female5 and that he said: This is why a man leaves his father and mother and becomes attached to his wife, and the two become one flesh?6 They are no longer two, therefore, but one flesh. So then, what God has united, human beings must not divide.'
The passage isn't about marriage but about divorce - I assume that there is no passage in the bible which speaks against equal marriage or that passage would have been used instead of this one. For clarity's sake, the discussion about divorce ends this way:
Anyone and everyone is entitled to an opinion in this national debate, the Cardinal and his bishops no less so, but I'd hope that they led their flocks with truth and integrity at the heart of their case. I'd hope, too, that priests across the country have raised the matter of the inaccuracy because, much as I would like to think it was an honest mistake, I can't quite believe that Cardinal O'Brien didn't know the verses before and after the ones he chose. The words of Pope Benedict XVI about falsity should be relevant for any devout Roman Catholic considering this and it is be hoped that Cardinal O'Brien will reconsider this matter and issue a clarification. I found it sad to write this but sadder still that the church should be disingenuous.