Christian marriage is under attack and children are paying the price, suggested the Archbishop Emeritus of Perth in Western Australia at the Roman Catholic Eucharistic Congress taking place this week in Dublin, Ireland.
"Christian marriage is now under fierce and hostile attack. The gift we give to a world of broken relationships and unloved children is the beauty of Christian marriage and our desire to reach out to the victims of broken marriage," said Australian Archbishop Barry James Hickey at the conference.
"Where the church is concerned it can either compromise and face irrelevance, or continue to teach Christ's truth about marriage, life and love, and pray that the world will listen," Hickey warned when he addressed attendees, the Irish Times reported.
"However, increasingly marriage is being promoted as only one of many options in human sexual relationships. Added to this is the pressure to change the very definition of marriage from a union of a man and a woman to a union of two persons of the same sex. The Christian ideal of marriage is under great threat," he said.
The traditional definition of marriage as between one man and woman is being challenged to include same-sex couples in a number of countries around the world, with several U.S. states set to vote on such reforms in the coming year, and the British government proposing that gay and lesbian couples be allowed to legally marry by 2015.
Archbishop Hickey also condemned the acceptance of Catholic families using contraceptives, which is against Catholic Church doctrine, and said that it was also another contributing factor that influenced the acceptance of harmful alternative lifestyles in society.
Hickey suggested that by choosing to "ignore, even ridicule Catholic teaching," the world in its "wisdom ... has taken a different and tragic path."
The Roman Catholic Eucharist Congress, scheduled for June 10-17, marks an "important moment of renewal and deepening of the Church's teaching and of her understanding of herself as the Body of Christ and the People of God" by exploring a number of topics central to the Catholic faith, according to the group's website.