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Subject: Cardinal Brady asked us all to do what Maurice Lyons has been imprisoned for
Maurice was apparently told by the circuit court judge in Dungarvon on Friday that – on the basis of “custom and practice” ie what the courts had developed themselves OUTSIDE OF THE RULES that they could make Orders where there is no Appearance from a Spouse/parent.
Surely such justification merely shows how the courts are out of control… Everyone knows in every game that is played that those who do not play by THE RULES are cheating.
However this argument by the Circuit Court judge is another red-herring. Once again the courts are justifying their making of an Order by talking about what the order does and/or what the respondent is entitled to do without first justifying HOW THEY ARE ENTITLED TO MAKE THE ORDER IN THE FIRST PLACE.
Simply put, by the courts insisting on discussing ONLY the effects of the Orders and the possible courses of action open to the Respondent, they are refusing to discuss what power they possess to make orders that take control of the Family founded on Marriage against the joint power and authority of the Family.
The State/Courts are denying any public and lawful examination of whether they are entitled to supervise and control the Constitutional legal institution of the Irish Family Unit founded on Marriage acting “on their own motion” and/or by taking sides with one spouse against the Family.
In the treatment they have meted out to Maurice Lyons it is clear that the State/Courts are prepared to use unlawful means, including imprisonment without trial and in violation of the rules of Habeas Corpus, against anyone who dares to ask them to show they have such authority. Mr Niall Walshe was similarly imprisoned in 2007 for daring to ask the same question.
The National Mens Council of Ireland sent a letter to Cardinal Brady on 6 November 2008 when Maurice Lyons was to appear in the Supreme Court to be given the Supreme Court’s ruling on the State/Court’s jurisdiction to make an Order sending his children to a school against the wishes of the Family, asking for the support of the Church – by at least sending an observer to the hearing.
I informed Cardinal Brady that the National Mens Council of Ireland and the Church were in full accord and supported this by quoting from his address to the Ceifin conference, [an extract is given below and the full address as an attachment]
“My key message today is thus: The priority of the family over society and over the State has to be reaffirmed. The family does not exist for society or the State, but society and the State exist for the family.”
I said he had asked in his address for every person of good heart to join in the work of defending and promoting the Family founded on Marriage through both the legal and democratic process and I quoted his statement,
“ If this is the case, those who are committed to the probity of the Constitution, to the moral integrity of the Word of God, and, to the precious human value of marriage between a man and a woman as the foundation of society, may have to pursue all avenues of legal and democratic challenge to the published legislation.”
I explained that Maurice and the National Mens Council of Ireland were responding to his call.
A copy of that letter is attached. I have sent that letter twice but to-date have not even received an acknowledgement.
Is anyone in a position to arrange for a meeting face to face with the Cardinal or at least to ask him to reply to our letters and make the Church’s position known on what the State/Court is doing to Maurice and to the Family founded on Marriage.
God bless, Roger Eldridge
Chairman, National Mens Council of Ireland
Executive Director, Family Rights and Responsibilities Institute of Ireland
National Office: Knockvicar, Boyle, Co. Roscommon
“The Family as the Foundation of Society”
Address by Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland at the Céifin Conference, Ennis, Co Clare.
It is this essential link between ‘family capital’ and ‘social capital’ which in part explains the special place afforded to marriage in the Irish Constitution. Article 40.1.1 of Bunreacht na hÉireann recognises the family ‘as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law.‘
It is not accurate to suggest that this is merely a remnant of Catholic influence on the formulation of the Constitution and therefore to be rejected as anachronistic or sectarian. Similar recognition and terminology can be found in the Constitutions of many other countries around the world which have them. The Greek Constitution for example describes the family as ‘the foundation of the conservation and progress of the nation.‘ Such values are also consistent with Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights when it states: ‘The family is the natural and fundamental unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.‘ Article 16 of the Social Charter of Europe (1961), Article 23 of the International Treaty on Civil Rights, Article 10 of the International Charter on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as well as many other national and international instruments affirm and develop this basic insight that the family is the nucleus of society, and for that reason, deserving of special status, development and care.
Proposed Changes to Legislation and Policy
It is on this basis too that Article 41.3.1 of Bunreacht na hÉireann places an obligation on the Government to guard the institution of marriage with special care. This brings me to the sensitive and complex issue of the Government’s stated intention to legislate for a variety of relationships other than marriage, notably for cohabiting and same-sex couples.
In its submission to the Oireachtas All-Party Committee on the Constitution on this issue, the Committee on the Family of the Irish Bishops’ Conference in February 2005 acknowledged, and I quote, that ‘a diversity of family forms support the fundamental human activities of care, intimacy and belongingness to varying degrees, yet it is appropriate that the Constitution should guard with special care the institution of marriage. \[However] such a commitment to special care of the family based on marriage ought not, nor does it, prevent the State from seeking to offer appropriate support to individuals in other forms of family units.‘ (p.6)
The issue then is not whether it is appropriate to introduce policies and legislation which provide some level of protection for people in relationships of long term dependency. In many circumstances this will be totally appropriate and just. The question is at what point such legislation or policy begins to undermine the family based on marriage as the fundamental unit of society and thereby undermine the common good?
In this regard the publication by Government of the General Scheme of Civil Partnership Bill in June of this year gives cause for concern. Obviously we must await the publication of the actual legislation arising from the scheme to make a complete assessment. It is clear however that the General Scheme envisages the possibility that Government will grant to cohabiting and same-sex couples the status of marriage in all but name. Some restrictions will apply to adoption by same sex couples.
Apart from this however and given reports that the Department of Justice has confirmed that “social welfare and tax entitlements on a par with those of spouses will be provided through the finance and social welfare Bills”, it is difficult to see how anything other than the introduction of de facto ‘marriage’ for cohabiting and same-sex couples is envisaged.
If this is the case, those who are committed to the probity of the Constitution, to the moral integrity of the Word of God, and, to the precious human value of marriage between a man and a woman as the foundation of society, may have to pursue all avenues of legal and democratic challenge to the published legislation.
The intention is not to penalise those who have chosen or find themselves in different family forms or relationships. It is rather to uphold the principle that the family based on marriage between a man and woman is so intimately connected to the good of society that it is deserving of special care and protection. The value of the Constitutional guarantees given in this area cannot be limited to the wording of the Constitution about marriage and the family remaining unchanged. The relevant Articles of the Constitution are more than a statement of aspiration. They imply that the State will maintain a qualitative difference between the level of support and entitlements provided by the State to the family based on marriage and that afforded to other forms of dependent relationship.
This makes the stated intention of Government to remove the category ‘Marital Status’ and to replace it with ‘Civil Status’ through the Equal Status Act particularly worrying. Some might argue that it is in fact a breach of the Government’s Constitutional duty to protect the institution of marriage. Those who believe in the values espoused by the Constitution are entitled to ask why such a profound and unnecessary change is envisaged along with others which may yet emerge.