Today is the feast of St Robert Bellarmine, who died in 1621. In these days of debate about same-sex marriage his bio is very interesting. He taught theology in Rome, and was active in disputation against the Protestants, where his effectiveness was increased by his charity and moderation. We are reminded here that it is perfectly reasonable to have a charitable and moderate exchange of differing views; and that the arguments of both sides are only of value inasmuch as they are charitable and moderate, otherwise it is just about power and domination and so not really about love at all.
The other is that he was a moderating influence in the Galileo affair, and gave Galileo much friendly advice. This is a reminder to us that the Church has (mainly) always been a friend of science, simply because, within the limits of its methodology, science is an appreciation of the truth and goodness of God’s creation and so also of God. Some determined atheist secularists deny this – yet it is not the Church who is afraid of and trying to prevent rigorous debate, or trying to act without public reflection: it would appear to be often be atheist secularists. But as Jesus says, only the truth will set free – so to be not afraid. So let us ask St Bellarmine to pray for us, that we adults be allowed to debate – as if adults need permission – and to consider whether or not there is any foundation for civilly recognising a relationship between two men or women as a marriage.