October 7th 2017


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Green energy push has left us blowin' in the wind

EDITORIAL Lessons for Australia in NZ election results

CANBERRA OBSERVED Assurances on religious freedom needed now

ENERGY Peak oil turns out to be another moral panic

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Timor Leste, Australia reach new border treaty

BUSHFIRES Disaster awaits as advice again goes unheeded

GENDER POLITICS Does biological sex matter?

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE Intolerance of the 'Yes' campaign for all to see

EUTHANASIA Medical murder: three historical cases

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Gallant Taiwan survives alone in the bitter sea

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE Prepare for apologies in a generation's time

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE A reflection on the use and abuse of the thought of the Angelic Doctor

MUSIC Stupendous talent: What to do with all that ego?

CINEMA Trollhunters: Guillermo del Toro's TV fantasy

BOOK REVIEW Debunking the 'harmless' tag

HUMOUR

EUTHANASIA Victoria's death bill: questions that need answers

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SAME-SEX MARRIAGE A
reflection on the use and abuse of the thought of the Angelic Doctor


by Peter Kelleher

News Weekly, October 7, 2017

Greg Sheridan has written in The Australian that he will vote “Yes” in the same-sex marriage plebiscite.

In defence of his position, Sheridan brings out the theological Big Bertha: St Thomas Aquinas. This move reminds me of how often the name of St Thomas Aquinas has been dragged into modern debates as a sort of “so, there” moment for us lesser Christian mortals; we who may be aware that St Thomas was a great theologian and a great philosopher but who know him better as a great saint.

In 2008 some unworthy political hack dragged St Thomas into the Victorian Parliament as a witness to silence the protests of a certain sector of society: those who would perhaps revere the greatest of theologians as a saint: Catholics of a certain vintage and view.

What that person ignored was the fact that St Thomas nonetheless opposed absolutely and under any and all circumstances the medical procedure that she was adamantly pushing down the throats of the Victorian people by way of this low tactic.

Now, who of us would dare enter the ring with St Thomas Aquinas?

Thankfully, there is no need on this occasion to take on St Thomas. We only need to enter the ring with Greg Sheridan, armed with logic and our love of truth.

Sheridan fails to distinguish between natural law and positive law.

In relation to prostitution – the topic St Thomas used to illustrate his point – it seems to have missed Sheridan’s notice that St Thomas was defending the position of the state refraining from making a law despite being in no doubt as to the immorality of the act in question. St Thomas took that position for reasons to do with toleration of an evil the penalising of which would likely do more evil to the commonwealth than would the evil itself.

To bring St Thomas in as a defendant of the quite different position of standing by while the state moves to establish in positive law the oxymoron of same-sex marriage is three things:

1. A logical error, in that the cases are entirely different. A closer parallel would be the decriminalisation of homosexuality; which has been achieved.

2. A negligence of duty.

3. A slur on St Thomas.

St Thomas Aquinas also wrote that he was not interested in what men had had to say on the highest matters, but what was the truth of things. So, perhaps (ultimately) what St Thomas had to say on any topic is rather off the point; what is to the point is the truth of the matter.

Sheridan might be interested to know what St Thomas actually did say on homosexuality. I therefore refer him to Summa Theologiae IIa IIae, Q. 154, art 11, 12.




























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