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The Church’s struggle against the legalisation of gay unions is now a defining feature of its teachings on marriage

‘The redefinition of marriage’ is seen as a threat to religious liberty

By on Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The US bishops' new website presents Church teaching on marriage

The US bishops' new website presents Church teaching on marriage

I have been browsing around a new website, erected (if that’s the right word) by the US Conference of Bishops, entitled “Marriage: unique for a reason”. It contains teaching at various intellectual levels, including a sentimental video entitled “Made for Each Other: Sexual difference is essential to marriage”, in which a handsome married couple with perfect teeth “talk about why men and women matter for marriage”. “Their dialogue and interactions,” claims the website, “illuminate the beauty of sexual difference and complementarity between man and woman as husband and wife.”

Well, maybe. But one thing is clear: though the website gives the Church’s immemorial teachings about marriage (and does it, it seems to me, mostly rather well) it is – as the Church’s constant restatement of its unchanging beliefs for each new generation always is – very clearly a response to the situation in which we currently find ourselves. In particular, it is a response to the threat against the family represented by secular society’s accelerating movement towards accepting what were, only a generation ago, simply demands by a small minority of activists for the legalisation of homosexual “marriage”. It was seen very clearly then as a direct attack on the uniqueness of traditional marriage.

Now, this uniqueness is no longer taken for granted: homosexual “marriage” is more and more seen as a human right which ought to be enshrined in legislation. We have gone very far indeed along that road when a Conservative leader can say, at the Tory conference itself, something as mind-bendingly foolish as “Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us… So I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I’m a Conservative.” This did not go down well in the Tory heartlands, but so what? Cameron knows the way things are going: and he will lose few votes by saying what he said.

That is where we now are; and that, increasingly, is where the Americans are, too; in fact, they led the way. Hence, the homepage on the USCCB’s new marriage website opens with the following introductory passage:

What is marriage? Are a man and a woman really essential to marriage? What about the child … and the role of mothers and fathers? Is it discriminatory to defend marriage as the union of one man and one woman? What impact does the redefinition of marriage have on religious liberty?

That is how, increasingly, the Church now sees it: we’ve gone beyond the point at which we are simply defending traditional marriage: more and more, this is seen as a question of defending our liberty to do it. The USCCB website invites us a little coyly to “Dive in deep to the Church’s teachings”: this can be done by going to one of the site’s most valuable pages, which gives links to statements on marriage by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Second Vatican Council, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul II, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Pontifical Council for the Family and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

Here are just two passages germane to that question about the impact of the redefinition of marriage on religious liberty. The first is from a document snappily entitled “Declaration of the Pontifical Council for the Family regarding the Resolution of the European Parliament dated March 16, 2000, making de facto unions, including same sex unions, equal to the family”:

The communications media report that the European Parliament has approved a Resolution regarding human rights in the European Union which also considers de facto unions, including the registered cohabitation of persons of the same sex, and the need to recognize “legal marriages” between persons of the same sex.

This Resolution represents a grave and repeated attack on the family based on marriage, a union of love and life between a man and a woman from which life naturally springs. Every society is solidly based on this marital union because it is a necessary value. To deny this fundamental and elementary anthropological truth would lead to the destruction of the fabric of society. Doesn’t making “de facto” unions, and all the more homosexual unions, equivalent to marriage, and inviting Parliaments to adjust their laws in this sense, represent a refusal to recognize the deep aspirations of peoples in their innermost identity?

We tend to give Vatican documents issued by dicasteries like the Pontifical Council for the Family a miss, assuming that they will be written in the usual impenetrable Vaticanese: but this passage is pretty close to being a cri de coeur. Here’s another, scarcely less oratorical in character, from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which almost jumps from the awful dull parchment colour of the Vatican website (when are they going to do something about that?): the title of this document is “Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons”: (2003)

The Church’s teaching on marriage and on the complementarity of the sexes reiterates a truth that is evident to right reason and recognized as such by all the major cultures of the world. Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose.(3) No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman, who by mutual personal gift, proper and exclusive to themselves, tend toward the communion of their persons. In this way, they mutually perfect each other, in order to cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new human lives.

“No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman”: well, you would have thought so, wouldn’t you? But we seem, all the same, destined to live through a period during which that certainty will more and more become clouded for many. In the end, it will, we may be sure, reassert itself: but only because of the many human casualties which will, I very much fear, emerge as our deeply confused society blunders around, continuing to undermine the stability of the traditional family based on marriage between a man and a woman. In the end, the tide will turn; and once more, the Church will be seen to have been right all along (as it was, for instance, over eugenics, whose assumptions were at one time almost universally believed). But it will take decades: I will not live to see it. Meanwhile, the Church is fighting back; perhaps, in the end, that is the one good thing to come from all this.

And one thing is certain: there will always be something.

  • Anonymous

    “Freedom of religion is enshrined in law.”  
    Didn’t protect the adoption agencies. Didn’t protect B&B owners or registrars.
     
    I will be amazed if some kind of set-up attempt to take churches to court does not happen fairly quickly. It won’t succeed - to start with.

  • http://queering-the-church.com/blog/ Terence Weldon

    Thanks for pointing this out, Patrick. Those who claim to be simply “presenting church teaching” on homoerotic relationships, or on gay marriage, regularly ignore how many horrors have been built into church teaching in the past, and later quietly jettisoned. The current injustices and plain nonsense in church teaching on sexual ethics, from contraception, through masturbation, to same-sex love, will in due course be jettisoned too – just as they are already ignored by the majority of ordinary Catholics.

  • http://queering-the-church.com/blog/ Terence Weldon

    Nonsense. Nobody is being “criminalized” for expressing objections – just criticized. Or are you facing criminal charges for your writing, that we don’t know about?

  • AidanCoyle

    Shame on you, EditorCT. You bring yourself and this site into disrepute by creating such vile equivalences. Shame on you.

  • http://queering-the-church.com/blog/ Terence Weldon

    And just where did Jesus say that marriage is only between one man and one woman? It’s not in any Gospel I have seen.

  • http://queering-the-church.com/blog/ Terence Weldon

    Same sex relationships are not “a passing fad”, as simple examination of the evidence will show. They have occurred (in different forms) in every human society, in every period of history. Sometimes they have experienced public hostility, sometimes they have been fully accepted as natural (as science shows that they are) sometimes they have even been expected at certain life stages (as in classical Greece, and among many communities of New Guinea, up to the twentieth century).

    They are also commonly found in the animal world: in several animal species, sexual activities between animals of the same sex are actually more common than heterosexual sex.

    Homosexual orientation is a naturally occurring, non-pathological and enduring condition found in a small but significant minority of humans, everywhere. It is time the Church, which claims to respect the findings of natural and social science, took this seriously, and thought long and hard about the implications for simply justice.

     

  • http://queering-the-church.com/blog/ Terence Weldon

    Does “flourishing of our families” include all our families – that is, also those with two moms or two dads – or is it only some families you want to see flourishing?

  • http://queering-the-church.com/blog/ Terence Weldon

    Intersex is a real and complex condition, affecting significant numbers of people. The sex recorded on a birth certificate for these people, can be completely misleading, being based purely on external genitalia, and ignoring the things that cannot be seen – internal genitalia, and chromosomes. So it is, that a baby can be easily misidentified as “male”, but later turns out to be primarily female, horomonally, chromosomally, and internally. To insist that this person’s marriage options be artificially restricted to what was written on a birth certificate, would require that the only legal option for such a person would be an essentially lesbian one.

    Consider also, that the sex descriptor on a birth certificate can be changed (for example, after re-assignment surgery). Is your formula based on the description at birth, or as it is now?

    The obsessional distinction between male and female ignores the evidence that nature is not so simple. The only sensible way forward is to move beyond these artificial, binary definitions, and make law and marriage gender- neutral. 

  • ms Catholic state

    I didn’t say they were.  I said the notion that homosexual relationships are on a par with heterosexual relationships is a passing fad…..merely the notions of a spoilt affluent people with nothing more pressing to worry about.  And they will pass…..as will the silly societies that hold them.

  • ms Catholic state

    No!  I am talking about Catholic families of a man and a woman….in Holy Matrimony.  These will flourish in a CATHOLIC STATE.  Same sex couples cannot produce children…..so cannot flourish.  Duh!

  • ms Catholic state

    Freedom of religion like all other ‘Freedoms’ bestowed upon us from above by our political masters….can be cancelled out and taken away by some other Freedom or Equality law. 

  • Anonymous

    “will in due course be jettisoned too”

    Maybe, maybe not. Who knows? I don’t expect to see it in my lifetime. This isn’t the point, though, is it? The point is that the Church must be free to teach freely, without let or hindrance, and if it changes its position on anything it must do so of its own volition. It must, must, must not be subject to secular attempts to force it to do so.

  • Brian A Cook

    Can anyone here seriously and honestly address the allegations coming
    from Patrick Hadley, Chris Vogel, Terrence Weldon, and Andrew?

  • Chris Morley

    But the Church IS proposing a Sharia law type scenario. It insists that it has the right to dictate to the whole of society and our law-makers that civil marriage rights cannot be granted to gay couples.

    There is any amount of anthropological evidence from different societies and different times in human history, and reams of biblical evidence to show that marriage between one man and one woman with the objective of procreation is not the only form of relationship in which societies and humans may flourish. 

  • Chris Morley

    What you fear is really unfounded.

    For this to happen the UN Human Rights Convention would have to be rewritten and voted on by most of the countries in the world.

    Surely it is more Christian to face and act on some real present wrong and injustice in the world we live in than insist something that is highly improbable is about to fall on our heads.

  • Chris Morley

    ‘the Church may follow the spirit of the age, but in matters of faith and morality she may never do so.’

    The Bible has any number of passages favouring slavery. For most of the Church’s history the Church actively supported or colluded in slavery; Popes kept slaves. Slavery is a matter of morals. Many insist what the the Bible teaches involves faith. Slavery is now forbidden in the catechism http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a7.htm#2414

    On the death penalty, the Church now teaches in the catechism that ‘although the death penalty would be theoretically permissible in instances when it is “the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor,” such instances are “practically non-existent” in today’s world’ http://www.cacp.org/vaticandocuments.htmlChurch teachings on matters of faith and morals are not as unchanging as the church would have you think. She doesn’t like to point it out, but the Church has been wrong before, and is wrong now on aspects of sexuality. Since around 95% of Catholics ignore the Church’s teaching on contraception in this country (what proportion of Catholic families attending your parish masses are football team sized these days?), the evidence proves the Church, by its actions and omissions, does condone this. The Church has put itself into an ideological jam with its teachings on sexual morality, which are like a house of cards that it dare not disturb. But, as the history of its teachings on slavery shows, it will find a way to extract itself from the sexual morality mess, and as with slavery, the laity is showing the Church the way.

  • Chris Morley

    Are you really claiming same sex Catholic families which have adopted or fostered children do not flourish? If so, would you please point us to any reliable studies using scientific methods which we can trust?

    By the way, same sex families can produce children, e.g. through donor insemination. This may not be acceptable to you as a Catholic, but it is the reality in this world.

    Please try to show a little more Christian respect to others instead of dismissing them with a Duh!.

  • Chris Morley

    Pray tell us precisely where your source is for claiming the UK government proposes to ‘force’ the Church to bless any gay marriage.

    The government has made very clear that they have absolutely no intention of forcing any religion to bless any gay marriage.

    I would suggest this proves that you are the one ‘projecting’ your fears onto the government.

  • Chris Morley

    Watch this video of the ‘laws of nature’ showing animal sexual behaviour.
    Do you want to claim that these animals and forms of sexual behaviour are not part of God’s creation?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFeXwKnCUNI

    The Church is on very shaky ground when it argues that gay relationships are not one of the aspects of the natural world around us. The Church makes itself look ridiculous and to be repeating its mistake in excommunicating Galileo for demonstrating the truth of science.

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com EditorCT

    I just LOVE your simple faith in the government.  The government told us that they were only going to decriminalise homosexuality – that’s all.  Now we’re faced with people losing their jobs if they even express an OPINION against “gay marriage.”  Yip, from “only” decriminalising homosexuals to introducing “hate speech” legislation….

    As I say, I just LOVE your simple (and entirely unfounded) faith in UK governments.  Any and all of them.

  • Anonymous

    “Homosexuality is associated with a massive range of psychological and medical problems…. substance abuse, depression and suicide.”
    Some people have been writing here as though the homosexuality were fully accepted in secular society. That’s a long way from the reality. Gay people still face massive prejudice, so it is not surprising if they suffer psychological problems. ‘Gay’ is a term of  abuse in schools with the result that children still suppress their sexuality, leading to all sorts of problems in later life.  I have a friend who only felt able to come out after his parents had died, by which time he was married with three children. So that was four victims of the oppression of homosexuality.  

    That Church, which ought to be about love, is part of that oppression, is so very, very sad.

  • Chris Morley

    I fear you have swallowed the Church’s propaganda that it was consistently opposed to eugenics. The Church’s hands have some eugenic stains on them and we should be honest about this, and not deny those sins.

    Catholicism and Eugenics in the Weimar Republic and in the Third Reich : Between a Reform in Morality and Racial Hygiene, Ingrid Richter, 2001
    http://whatwemaybe.org/txt/txt0001/Glad.John.2006.Catholicism%20and%20Eugenics%20in%20the%20Weimar%20Republic%20and%20in%20the%20Third%20Reich.htm
    “This is a fine scholarly study, admirable not only in its
    objectivity and fairness, but also revealing in the balanced and often
    sympathetic approach of a Catholic author.”

    It quotes the 1930 Papal encyclical Casti Connubii and concludes: The decree demonstrated clearly just how thorny the question of Catholic
    eugenics could be. Although it rejected many of the chief instruments
    in the toolbox of negative eugenics and stressed voluntarism, Casti Connubii
    was interpreted as permitting eugenic “asylum” or institutionalization,
    and also marital counseling. Furthermore “indirect sterilization” upon
    “medical indication” was permitted by the Church, and the question of
    sterilization of criminals as a means of punishment or prevention was
    left open.

    A bishops’ conference in Fulda ruled that sterilization was permissible
    only as punishment for crime or as essential medical treatment of the
    pregnant woman. Bishop Michael Buchberger (b. 1874) initially was
    willing to negotiate sterilization with the government; the Catholic
    theologian Franz Hürth reasoned that it could be “tolerated” – but only
    as a voluntary measure; Wendelin Rauch (1885-1954), who was to be
    appointed Archbishop of Freiburg in 1948, argued that Catholic ethics
    and eugenics were inherently linked[14]; and the Catholic theologian Franz Keller frankly welcomed the new law (the 1933 Nazi law on Sterilisation).
    ——
    So because the Church was NOT always right about eugenics, part of you arguement fails.

    Where is your scientific evidence proving gay marriages are a more ‘unhealthy lifestyle’ than heterosexual marriages?

    Gay relationships are not going to go away because the Church currently chooses to disapprove. Surely it makes more sense to make them as solid and supported as possible by regularising them under the civil law?

    You claim, without citing and allowing us to check your scientific evidence, that “The average male who starts having sex with men in his teens, is unlikely to see his 50th birthday, for example.”

    This is now utterly false. It was true before modern combination therapy, but hasn’t been true since these treatments were introduced in the mid 1990s.
    I worked in the HIV field in the UK for more than 15 years until earlier this year, when I was made redundant. I was a respected nationally for my expertise.
    In the UK, provided people are diagnosed (as most are) within a reasonable period after HIV infection, people infected with HIV can expect to live, with effective modern combination therapy, a near normal lifespan and have a reasonable state of health and lifestyle. I worked with numerous people, many of them gay men, who are in their 60s and 70s.  

    You say “homosexuality is associated with a massive range of psychological and medical problems’ and suggest gay men are dying early with HIV, STIs, cancers and higher rates of substance abuse, depression and suicide.
    The two key words here are ‘associated with’. Has it occurred to you that a society which permits widespread bullying of gay youth in schools (which is associated with much higher suicide rates), and a Church which is hostile and condemns gay men as sinful and intrinsically disordered, might just have some responsibility for any of this?

    In science, ‘associated with’ does NOT mean ‘is caused by’.

    The average gay man’s health is poorer than most other men’s health, but so is the health of people who live in deprived neighbourhoods, people who have low incomes, or who live in the North. Did Jesus condemn and blame the poor?

    I suggest that the way Jesus showed us how we should treat prostitutes gives us a very good model for respecting, understanding and treating with dignity gay people. This is part of the the Church’s official teaching about how we should respond to gay people.     

  • Chris Morley

    “I wonder…..does our ever ‘caring’ government speak out against the
    harsh treatment of gays in Islamic nations for instance in Saudi
    Arabia?!”

    The answer is not loudly enough (as you probably guessed), but here you can read the Foreign Office’s actions about furthering LGBT rights abroad
    http://fcohrdreport.readandcomment.com/promoting-british-values/equality-and-non-discrimination/lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender-rights/

    AND despite your cynicism that the government is ‘ignoring the plight of persecuted Christians’ you can read about their actions on this here
    http://fcohrdreport.readandcomment.com/promoting-british-values/equality-and-non-discrimination/freedom-of-religion-or-belief/

    And here’s a report from the Catholic Herald this October that mentions government condemnation of government persecution of Christian’s abroad; it points out that not enough is being done and complains the media is uninterested, but gay people find the same faults when its about homophobia.
    Ours is not a perfect world. 
    http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2011/10/06/yousef-nadarkhani-why-the-media-blackout/

    MEPs in Brussels put out a strong statement of condemnation of persecution in Egypt and Syria last month:
    http://www.iewy.com/35430-parliament-stands-up-for-christians-in-egypt-and-syria.html

  • http://queering-the-church.com/blog/ Terence Weldon

    Correction: there was not freedom of religion contravened in either of these – but the attempt to impose their religious beliefs and practices on others.

  • Anonymous

    Rubbish.

    1) The adoption agencies. Gay couples were not denied services as a result of this. There were plenty of other agencies which would have been able to help.  It is clear that gay couples would not have gone to Catholic adoption agencies in any case. Even had they done so, they would not have been denied, but would have been politely referred to another agency which could help. In sum – the agencies were bullied into closure on the basis of a hypothetical situation which would probably never have arisen, and even if it had would not have led to the ultimate denial of adoption.  Conversely, the government knew that the agencies could not continue as Church agencies if they could not operate according to Church law, and therefore they knew that they would inevitably close as a result. Result – denial of Catholics’ right to adopt from an agency run according their their ethos.

    2) The B&B – this one is trickier, I grant you, but nonetheless the hotel’s website was clear about its Christian ethos and policy. It was rung beforehand by Stonewall to query its policy. The whole case was clearly a “sting”. It is highly unlikely that a gay couple would have gone to this hotel in the normal course of events.

    3) The registrar – She was employed as such before the law changed and should have had the right to continue to operate in accordance with her conscience. In fact, she made minor and reasonable efforts to do so, by swapping shifts with colleagues willing to perform civil partnership ceremonies. Again, the service was not denied and would not have been denied. The only person denied their rights here was the registrar’s right to freedom of conscience when her working conditions changed around her.

    To sum up – you don’t want equal access to services, because in two of the cases above services would not in reality have been denied (and arguably also in the B&B case, as the situation would not have arisen naturally). What you clearly want is to stamp out an opposing point of view, by any means necessary.  

  • Anonymous

    When the Church refers to “natural law”, it is not referring to what happens in the natural world. It is expressing a theological concept.

  • Anonymous

    “The government has made very clear that they have absolutely no intention of forcing any religion to bless any gay marriage.”

    Yet. But look at the comments of Ben Summerskill which I have cited elsewhere in this thread – and look also the way in which legislation is interpreted and extended by litigation (cf the various cases following the Sexual Orientation Regulations, again some of which I have cited elsewhere on this thread).

    The reality is that whatever this government intends might be a foundation for something done by another government in 30 years’ time, and more immediately for vexatious litigation to be brought by pressure groups like the unspeakable Stonewall.

  • Anonymous

    nytor, I would agree with you about the Catholic adoption agencies if they had not been quite prepared to give children to unmarried couples, and to those who were in second marriages after a divorce. Why did they suddenly decide that Church law was important when it came to same sex couples?

  • Joanne

    Please don’t fall into the trap of using the ‘it is natural’ defense. Plenty of occurances occur in nature, so therefore are considered natural but defy what we consider tolerable like incest, rape, and murder. All of those are practiced by animals without the ability to reason. While I don’t have an issue with the idea that we are all created in love and have the ability to love even if it is a homosexual love, you will never convince me that homosexual love is on par with hetersexual love simply because there is no intimate complementary conclusion. Hetersexual sexuality in not only mutually pleasurable but it is both unitive and procreative, literally a life-giving love. When homosexual unions have the ability to function both unitively and procreatively, I’ll change my opinion. And yes, I realize that not all hetersexual couples procreate, but to use your argument above, we talking about nature here, and in most natural situations, procreation is the natural result.

  • Anonymous

    “How many !st century Jewish Rabbis rose from the dead on the third day after suffering the very agonizing death of being nailed to a cross which is then placed bolt upright?”

    ## You believe in the Resurrection of Christ – & so do I. But, although a fact, it’s not a fact of history. Any more than the Life of the Trinity is a fact of history. These are theological realities, theological events – not historical events. They do not belong to the sort of reality that history concerns itself with, but to a reality of a wholly different order; the supernatural order. History can record beliefs, it can record encounters of humans; but it can’t encounter God. All that historical study can say is that a first-century Jewish peasant “was crucified under Pontius Pilate” – the Resurrection, because it is a supernatural 
    Act of God, is outside the competence of historical study, which relies on research. Historical study of Christ can go as far as the Burial – but it can’t go as far as the Resurrection; it has stop where what is human stops, at death. This is part of a pattern: although history can record that this or that person is believed to have worked miracles or to have been holy, the holiness and the miracles can be encountered as the supernatural – not historical – realities they are only when accepted through faith; human research cannot penetrate to the supernatural, nor recognise it as supernatural. Any more than holiness can be discovered by subtracting the weight of a Saint’s body from his moral qualities. That kind of materialistic approach is wrong-headed because it reduces the supernatural to the merely natural and historical; it can’t possibly find what it seeks if it uses such methods, for it proceeds by naturalising what it seeks, since it is confined to what is natural. History & science are wholly legitimate for studying things that originate within the created order – but the supernatural, the Resurrection, Christian Holiness, the Blessed Trinity, the Grace of God, do not originate in the created order, so they are found within in it, not recognisable as what they are, but veiled; just as God’s Presence in Jesus, & the Messianic Identity of Jesus, were veiled, except to those whom the Father unveiled them.

    Peter learnt that Jesus was the Messiah, not by research, but by revelation from the Father of Jesus: IOW, by a supernatural, non-historical gift from God.  And no amount of research, historical or otherwise, can give us access to faith - it can come only by the gracious - therefore, supernatural – gift of God; never from human effort or human wisdom. If this were not so, faith in Christ would be available to us only as the reward of human intelligence & industry.

  • Anonymous

    “Of course the Church will be forced to bless same sex marriage.”

    ## Evidence, please ? This looks exactly like the kind of scare-mongering many Protestants indulged in during the early 1960s. They dreaded Catholicism – so they thought it was going turn the USA into a North Atlantic version of Franco’s Spain, only more so. Catholics behave in the same way; it’s very sad, & very disappointing conduct given the claims Christians make. As for secularism being “demonic”, why can’t it be human ? If something is human, it can be reasoned with. Maybe secularism has something to say that Christians need to hear.

  • Anonymous

    “I wonder…..does our ever ‘caring’ government speak out against the harsh treatment of gays in Islamic nations for instance in Saudi Arabia?!”

    ## Some links:
    1. http://galha.blogspot.com/ – scroll down to 19 October 2007- “Protest Saudi Brutality Today!”

    2.  Matthew Parris Slams ‘Reverse Persecution’ Against Christian[*sic*]

    ““Gay rights campaigners have made astonishing progress in recent years — to the point when we need to remind ourselves that other people have rights too, and that we campaign against bullying, not for it.””- http://www.persecution.org/2011/11/12/uk-gay-rights-activist-speaks-out-against-persecution-of-christians/

    ## Maybe some Christians could take a leaf out of his book.

    3. Religion strikes back at Brazil’s gay culture – http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2011/jul/02/brazil-gay-rights-evangelical-movement

    4. Europe « Christian & Church Persecution – http://www.persecution.org/category/countries/europe/

    5. Persecution of Homosexuals- http://wikiislam.net/wiki/Persecution_of_Homosexuals

    6. Persecution of Non-Muslims – http://www.wikiislam.net/wiki/Persecution_of_Non-Muslims

    7. Andrew Mitchell, UK International Development Secretary, Says Britain To Cut Aid To African Countries That Persecute Gays – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/10/britain-cut-aid-africa-gays_n_1003213.html

    8. UK To Cut Aid To Countries Persecuting Christians And Homosexuals- http://www.persecution.org/2011/11/02/uk-to-cut-aid-to-countries-persecuting-christians-and-homosexuals/

    9. UK to cut aid to countries persecuting Christians and homosexuals- http://gatewaynews.co.za/2011/11/03/uk-to-cut-aid-to-countries-persecuting-christians-and-homosexuals/

    10. Hope for greater Government commitment to persecuted believers- http://www.christiantoday.com/article/hope.for.greater.government.commitment.to.persecuted.believers/28854.htm

    ## Maybe that will provide a sufficiently balanced picture of what is being done by and happening to whom, and why.  

  • Chris Morley

    So, your reason for opposing a law change that won’t force any religion to bless any gay marriage is a fear that some government of the future just might do that. Note too, that Ben Summerskill did not say he wanted to see such a change in future, he simply said churches shouldn’t be forced to do that now, but that may change in 10 or 20 years.
    He’s wrong to suggest that is even a possibility because it can’t and won’t happen.

    Your feared hypothetical change in the law would require the rest of Europe to agree to a fundamental rewriting of the European Convention of Human Rights, which Winston Churchill helped draft after the 2nd World War. Such a profound change in Human Rights treaties eliminating the fundamental freedom of religious belief is just not going to happen.

    It’s been pointed out to you before that the cases under the Sexual Orientation Regulations did not contravene their freedom of religion, but followed their discrimination by imposing their own religious beliefs on others.

    If Stonewall attempted to impose gay marriages on the Church by “vexatious litigation”, they could not possibly succeed. The European Human Rights Convention, safeguards Church’s freedom to decide and act on their beliefs within their own premises.

    Clergy simply cannot be forced to solemnize or accommodate gay weddings, just as they cannot and are not forced to marry divorcees.

  • Chris Morley

    I really don’t have a simple faith in governments.

    My conviction is based on a clear understanding of the European Convention of Human Rights’ guarantee of the fundamental freedom of religious belief. To force churches to provide gay marriages would require the rest of Europe to agree to a fundamental rewriting of the European Convention of Human Rights.
    That is simply not going to happen.

    We don’t have any legal right to impose our political views on others while we are doing our jobs, so what gives anyone the right to impose their opinion against gay marriage in the course of their work? That’s not what we are paid to do.
    Anyone trying to push their political or religious views down other people’s throats at work is likely to find themselves in trouble with their boss.

    Church employees obviously have the right to teach the beliefs of their faith.

  • Chris Morley

    It’s so handy that the Church can redefine words and phrases to mean whatever it wants them to mean, contrary to their ordinary dictionary meaning.

    Lewis Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty did this, confusing Alice in Wonderland no end
    When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said,in rather a scornful tone, 
    `it means just what I choose it to mean —  neither more nor less.’

    I’ve checked the Catechism and I can’t find this new rule. Please tell and show me your definitive source.

    The Catechism tells me
    341 The beauty of the universe:
    The order and harmony of the created world results from the diversity
    of beings and from the relationships which exist among them. Man
    discovers them progressively as the laws of nature. They call forth the
    admiration of scholars. The beauty of creation reflects the infinite
    beauty of the Creator and ought to inspire the respect and submission of
    man’s intellect and will.

    That contradicts what you are asserting. This video shows man ‘discovering the laws of nature progressively’ in the very words of the Catechism.

  • Chris Morley

    “It must not be subject to secular attempts to force it to do so”

    What people struggle to understand and accept is the Church has closed its mind to the possibility that it is wrong on some questions of sexual behaviour, and does not listen to the witness of gay and other people. Theologians and others are punished for even raising the questions.

    The Church simply needs to listen to the Spirit at work, as it did when challenged about its acceptance of slavery, before it changed its teaching to the opposite position.

  • Anonymous

    Chris Morley – The Church means the natural moral law written within us all, as considered by Aquinas.

    http://www.aquinasonline.com/Topics/natlaw.html

  • Anonymous

    “What people struggle to understand and accept is the Church has closed its mind to the possibility that it is wrong on some questions of sexual behaviour, and does not listen to the witness of gay and other people. Theologians and others are punished for even raising the questions.”

    I would argue that the Church does not close its mind on homosexuality. The Church has frequently issued documents pertaining to their pastoral care and is open to developments in that area, such as the Soho Masses, even where many people find those developments disturbing.

    I have no problem with the Church considering the issue. I am just extremely concerned that it should do so for itself. It is absolutely not the place of the state, nor of litigants, to attempt to force it to do so.  

  • Anonymous

    @ Chris Morley – I have tried to reply to your points beneath them, but Disqus will not allow me to do so…

  • Anonymous

    @ Chris Morley – and I have pointed out in response that in the case of the registrar and of the adoption agencies at the very least that there was no question of denial of services, in practice, and that therefore the application of the law as it occurred did in fact amount to an infringement of religious freedom.

    I appreciate your point about the ECHR, but the reality is that whether they win or not there will now inevitably be attempts to force the Church to permit gay marriages in Church brought vexatiously by pressure groups. They won’t succeed, but they will cost time and money to defend. In any case as you will well know  laws are subject to constant interpretation by judges and all it would take would be for one to decide that the provision of  marriage ceremonies were a service subject to the SORs. I agree that it’s unlikely, but the problem is that the attempt will probably still be made.

  • Chris Morley

    So, on the one hand you indicate that same sex behaviour and relationships are ‘unnatural’ because while they may be ‘natural’ in nature, we should ignore that because ‘animals are without the ability to reason’. And on the other hand you ‘don’t have an issue with the idea that we are all created [with] ….. and
    have the ability to love, even if it is a homosexual love”, meaning gay relationships must be OK (because they are created), just ‘not on par with hetersexual’ (sic).

    You tell us that heterosexual and gay relationships aren’t equal because gay relationships lack something you don’t elucidate but coyly call an “intimate complementary conclusion”; I’m at a loss to know what you actually mean by that phrase but it must be something that is only possible for heterosexuals, so that rules out orgasms.
    Please enlighten us.

    It’s not clear whether you want to suggest gay relationships are not ‘mutually pleasurable’ or ‘unitive’ and capable of love.
    You seem to intend ‘unitive’ to have an exclusively heterosexual definition, when our dictionaries simply gives the meaning of “serving to unite; tending to promote unity”, which patently means it does include gay relationships.

    So the only real objection you seem to have left is that gay relationships don’t include ‘procreation’. I appreciate that the Church makes a really big thing of this, but the reality is that lots of church sanctioned heterosexual marriages have no capacity for procreation either. For example any involving a woman past the time of menopause (the Bible is full of tales of old women and men marrying, and some women even managed to defy nature and give birth when aged several hundred years old), or those where one or other partner is infertile.  If the church were really committed to requiring the capacity for / openness to procreation as an essential aspect of marriage, isn’t it time it insisted on fertility tests for both partners before all marriages?

    At the end you realise the one leg left on your stool, procreation, means there’s no legs left for your argument and you are about to collapse on the floor, but try to rescue yourself and put that one remaining leg back by saying “we talking about nature here, and in most natural situations, procreation is the natural result.”

    Note you said ‘ “most” natural situations’ and so you’ve kicked away the only remaining leg on your argument’s stool.

    There is any amount of evidence from the natural world, that same sex relationships are common throughout nature, and procreation is not always “the natural result”. Watch this video of the ‘laws of nature’ showing animal sexual behaviour.
    These animals and their sexual behaviour are all part of the wonder of God’s creation.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

    The
    Church is on very shaky ground when it argues that gay relationships
    are not one of the aspects of the natural world around us. The Church
    makes itself look ridiculous and to be repeating its mistake in
    excommunicating Galileo for demonstrating the truth of science.

    It seems you’re the one who has fallen into the trap of using the ‘it is natural’ defence. It’s not a trap for gay relationships, but a fatal flaw at the heart of the Church’s teachings on sexuality. But the Church closes its eyes and mind to the evidence of modern science and God’s creation around us.

    Since mammals emerged in creation anyone observing cattle or pet dogs would know that there is an awful lot of sexual humping that is not remotely open to procreation.

  • Chris Morley

    The Church is attempting, and not just in this country, to ‘deny’ the possibility of civil gay marriage to anyone at all. It claims the right to define ‘marriage’ for everyone in its own restricted way and says the state cannot make civil gay marriage legal, simply because the Church says so.

    No-one is proposing the right to marry their sister / brother. That’s a complete red herring.

  • Chris Morley

    The legal decision by the Tribunal Judges in the Catholic Care adoption case, after the High Court granted a judicial review of the implementation of the non discrimination rules, was that they had to balance the risk of closure of
    the charity’s adoption service – which it said was “by no means certain”
    – against the “detriment to same-sex couples and the detriment to
    society generally of permitting the discrimination proposed”.

    The ruling was very clearly about whether the adoption agency should have a unique exemption and permission to discriminate in providing a public service, it was not about religious freedom. They sought formal permission to amend their rules “so as to permit it to refuse to offer its adoption services to same sex couples” (Reason 1 for the refusal).
    There are 23 pages of detailed consideration of the facts and the law and the charity was represented by a QC and the Tribunal was unanimous in its decision. http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/Resources/JCO/Documents/Judgments/catholic-care-judgment-26042011.pdf
    Parliament voted for the law and the case they argued has now had several thorough hearings.

    You claim it’s about religious freedom, but their own submission (referred to in Reason 1) makes plain that they actually asked for permission to discriminate in offering a public service.
    Case closed.

    In the case of the London registrar, Miss Ladele, who lost her job after she refused to
    officiate at civil partnership ceremonies for gay couples, she is one of four Christians who have complained to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg on the grounds that British judges were failing to protect their rights.

    The Equality and Human Rights Commission has been given permission by the European Court of Human Rights to intervene as an interested party and is backing two of the claims (by the BA check-in clerk wearing a crucifix, and a nurse wearing a cross on the ward), but not the registrar’s claim, nor that of a relationship counsellor, who was sacked when he refused to give sexual therapy counselling to gay couples.

    The Catholic bishops’ Department for Citizenship and Christian Responsibility was recently asked for its views and say they support all four cases. I think it is telling that while Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark waxes lyrically about the wrongness of banning the wearing of crucifixes at work (the two workers being supported by the EHRC at the European Court), he has nothing specific to say in support of either the registrar, or the relationship counsellor, who both refused to provide services to gay people. http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2011/09/09/judges-are-biased-against-christians-says-archbishop/

    We will have to wait for the European Court to make a decision on the application by the registrar. Based on the Tribunal’s ruling in the adoption case which also considered the legitimacy of discriminating in providing a public service, and the decision of the EHRC not to support the registrar’s application to the Court, it doesn’t look like she should be optimistic about winning the case. 
    Again this case is, in law about being prepared to refuse a public service by discriminating; there is no get out clause for shift switching.

    Regarding your fears about attempts “to force the Church to permit gay marriages in Church brought vexatiously by pressure groups” I cannot help it that you continue to hold these fears. What I would say is that taking any such case involves considerable legal costs and organisations like Stonewall are not stupid and would, if they intended to do this, seek legal advice and would be told that they would be pouring money down a drain in a hopeless cause. If they made such an application it would be struck out by a judge as being baseless in law: it is in complete conflict with Article 9.

    The law permits any one to attempt to assert what they believe to be their rights, as the registrar and the relationship counsellor are doing, and that sometimes involves organisations like the Church in some costs and time.
    I think that is balanced by the costs and time of gay organisations and their allies in trying to fight off the Church’s insistence on dictating to Parliament that it cannot legislate for civil marriages, when it clearly has every right to pass whatever laws it can find a majority for.
    These are the costs / benefits of being part of a democracy.

    In your last two sentences you haven’t taken on board my point that the two fundamental Human Rights CANNOT be set aside by a judge:

    Article 9 says people have the right “either alone or in community
    with others and in public or private to manifest religion or belief, in
    worship, teaching, practice and observance”. It says such rights may be
    limited when necessary for the normal functioning of a democratic
    society.

    Article 14 says that all citizens must enjoy the right of freedom of religion.

    Article 9 expressly means the Church and its priests cannot be forced to marry people (gay, divorcees, whatever category it decides), nor be forced to provide its premises for such services.

    It’s not healthy to keep fretting about stuff that cannot happen.

  • Anonymous

    “You claim it’s about religious freedom, but their own submission (referred to in Reason 1) makes plain that they actually asked for permission to discriminate in offering a public service.”

    Well of course they did. Lawyers will always choose to present the case most likely to achieve victory in court. An attempt to change the agencies’ charitable objects so that the charities in question could remain within Church law in the course of their activities was probably their best hope of succeeding. Indeed, the case based upon this principle continues, as the diocese of Leeds is heroically continuing its legal attempts to do this.

    That doesn’t mean that an aspect of the case which the lawyers chose not to present to the court did not involve religious freedom. If de facto services were not going to be denied by the agencies’ inability – and it was an inability, not an unwillingness, as Church agencies cannot act outside Church law and remain Church agencies – to allow gay couples as couples (gay singles could use their services, it was the idea of joint adoption by gay couples which triggered this) to access their services, as they would be referred elsewhere if they approached the agency, then it is in fact not gay couples but Catholics who are losing services here.

    “Parliament…clearly has every right to pass whatever laws it can find a majority for.”

    Indeed it can – but that does not mean that every such law should be respected or obeyed. A law which is fundamentally immoral may be passed if a majority is secured for it, but if that law is wrong it should be resisted. Parliament may have legislative power, but I refuse to adhere to the idea that I should respect the law just because it is the law.

  • Chris Morley

    I’m aware the Vatican has issued documents relating to pastoral care, and welcome the tolerance the archdiocese of Westminster has afforded to the Soho Masses. Soho Masses are of no practical use to most gay Catholics. There’s an entire country outside London.

    It would be far better for the Church, in preparing its documents on pastoral care of gay people and in asserting it’s teachings, to have listened respectfully and with understanding, to the voices and perspectives of gay people. Instead it issues edicts from within a silo. And while the church persists with its present approach it alienates and drives away gay Catholics, causes some to consider and act on suicidal feelings, and offends many heterosexual Catholics in what it teaches and especially how it publicly communicates this.
    Any priest, bishop or theologian who dares to even raise questions on the subject (the Holy Spirit may be at work) or who asserts their conscience, is heavily pressured to shut up or is forced out of the nest.

    That is why my perception, and that of many others, is that the Church has a closed mind to considering if every aspect of its teaching on sexuality is the definitive word. The Church says it is all settled. That is a closed mind speaking.

    It is also true, but doesn’t fit very well with your claim that the Church does not close its mind on homosexuality, that within the last week Catholic Voices in London barred three gay people from contributing their perspectives on the ‘Common Good’ as it affects the Church’s teaching on gay people concerning marriage. The Church teaches in particular treating gay people with ‘respect, dignity and understanding’. It is important that the Church practices what it preaches – this always counts far more than words. By their deeds shall ye know them?  

    http://queeringthechurch.com/2011/11/18/gay-marriage-at-london-catholic-voices-discussion-gay-catholics-not-welcome/

    On the broader theme of the Church and whether or not it is in practice open to exploring issues relating to Human Sexuality, you may find posts on this theme at the Wild Reed informative http://thewildreed.blogspot.com/search/label/Human%20Sexuality

    If you visit that blog http://thewildreed.blogspot.com and scroll far down, in the right hand column there are a whole series of posts on the theme which I hope you will find illuminating.

    The Vatican and Homosexuality
    The Blood-Soaked Thread
    The Pope’s “Scandalous” Stance on Homosexuality
    The Catholic Church and Gays: An Excellent Historical Overview
    The Vatican’s Actions at the UN: “Sickening, Depraved, and Shameless”
    Stop in the Name of Discriminatory Ideology!
    Homosexuality and the Priesthood
    Vatican Stance on Gay Priests Signals Urgent Need for Renewal and Reform
    Listen Up, Papa!
    Be Not Afraid: You Can Be Happy and Gay
    When “Guidelines” Lack Guidance
    The Bishops’ Guidelines: A Parent’s Response
    The “Ratzinger Letter” of 1986 as “Theological Pornography”
    The Dreaded “Same-Sex Attracted” View of Catholicism
    And a Merry Christmas to You, Too, Papa
    Rejecting the “Lesser Evil”
    Truth Telling: The Greatest of Sins in a Dysfunctional Church
    Archbishop Weakland, the Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal, and Homophobia
    Keeping All the Queens Under the One Roof
    Report: Homosexuality No Factor in Abusive Priests
    Oh, Give It a Rest, Papa!
    Catholic Church Can Overcome Fear of LGBT People

  • Chris Morley

    A long way up above, in relation to animals and the natural world being packed with examples of same sex behaviour (and the evidence of our own eyes with cattle and pet dogs who don’t seem to care about the gender of their animal partners), you asserted in response:
    “When the Church refers to “natural law”, it is not referring to what
    happens in the natural world. It is expressing a theological concept.”

    I quoted the catechism at you in response (below)

    I’m know that Aquinas was a respected philosopher of the Church and thank you for the link explaining
    his views on ‘ Natural Law’, but I take you back to the Catechism I quoted.

    The Catechism teaches you, me, all:

    341 The beauty of the universe:
    The order and harmony of the created world results from the diversity of beings and from the relationships which exist among them. Man discovers them progressively as the laws of nature. They call forth the
    admiration of scholars. The beauty of creation reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator and ought to inspire the respect and submission of man’s intellect and will.

    That’s what the Church teaches and what we are expected to believe.
    Aquinas may be respected but he’s not the Catechism.

    Find me the bit in the Catechism that supports your interpretation of Natural Law. Otherwise I’ll stick with the Catechism like all good Catholic’s should, thank you.

  • Anonymous

    He wasn’t at work in the case referred to – he posted a comment (a mild comment, at that) on his Facebook page. He will almost certainly win his legal case against his employer.

  • Anonymous

    I. The Natural Moral Law1954 Man participates in the wisdom and goodness of the Creator who gives him mastery over his acts and the ability to govern himself with a view to the true and the good.The natural law expresses the original moral sense which enables man to discern by reason the good and the evil, the truth and the lie:The natural law is written and engraved in the soul of each and every man, because it is human reason ordaining him to do good and forbidding him to sin . . . But this command of human reason would not have the force of law if it were not the voice and interpreter of a higher reason to which our spirit and our freedom must be submitted.51955 The “divine and natural” law6 shows man the way to follow so as to practice the good and attain his end. the natural law states the first and essential precepts which govern the moral life. It hinges upon the desire for God and submission to him, who is the source and judge of all that is good, as well as upon the sense that the other is one’s equal. Its principal precepts are expressed in the Decalogue. This law is called “natural,” not in reference to the nature of irrational beings, but because reason which decrees it properly belongs to human nature:Where then are these rules written, if not in the book of that light we call the truth? In it is written every just law; from it the law passes into the heart of the man who does justice, not that it migrates into it, but that it places its imprint on it, like a seal on a ring that passes onto wax, without leaving the ring.7The natural law is nothing other than the light of understanding placed in us by God; through it we know what we must do and what we must avoid. God has given this light or law at the creation.81956 The natural law, present in the heart of each man and established by reason, is universal in its precepts and its authority extends to all men. It expresses the dignity of the person and determines the basis for his fundamental rights and duties:For there is a true law: right reason. It is in conformity with nature, is diffused among all men, and is immutable and eternal; its orders summon to duty; its prohibitions turn away from offense …. To replace it with a contrary law is a sacrilege; failure to apply even one of its provisions is forbidden; no one can abrogate it entirely.91957 Application of the natural law varies greatly; it can demand reflection that takes account of various conditions of life according to places, times, and circumstances. Nevertheless, in the diversity of cultures, the natural law remains as a rule that binds men among themselves and imposes on them, beyond the inevitable differences, common principles.1958 The natural law is immutable and permanent throughout the variations of history;10 it subsists under the flux of ideas and customs and supports their progress. the rules that express it remain substantially valid. Even when it is rejected in its very principles, it cannot be destroyed or removed from the heart of man. It always rises again in the life of individuals and societies:Theft is surely punished by your law, O Lord, and by the law that is written in the human heart, the law that iniquity itself does not efface.111959 The natural law, the Creator’s very good work, provides the solid foundation on which man can build the structure of moral rules to guide his choices. It also provides the indispensable moral foundation for building the human community. Finally, it provides the necessary basis for the civil law with which it is connected, whether by a reflection that draws conclusions from its principles, or by additions of a positive and juridical nature.1960 The precepts of natural law are not perceived by everyone clearly and immediately. In the present situation sinful man needs grace and revelation so moral and religious truths may be known “by everyone with facility, with firm certainty and with no admixture of error.”12 The natural law provides revealed law and grace with a foundation prepared by God and in accordance with the work of the Spirit.http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P6U.HTM

  • Anonymous

    I’ve posted elsewhere – as you requested – the sections from the catechism on natural law.

    “The Church is on very shaky ground when it argues that gay relationships are not one of the aspects of the natural world around us. ”

    That isn’t at all what it argues. It’s fallacious to argue that the Church’s teaching on homosexuality is based upon a flawed interpretation of nature, because it isn’t. It’s irrelevant to bring up examples of homosexual activity amongst animals as the Church’s teaching isn’t based on nature. It’s based on natural law – the promptings of the inner voice of God within us all.

    Observing cattle or pet dogs doesn’t help you, I fear.

    The Church’s teaching on homosexuality is set out in the catechism here:

    Chastity and homosexuality
    2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
    2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
    2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

    You will note that it says “They are contrary to the natural law.” This doesn’t mean “This doesn’t occur in nature”. It means “It is contrary to the inner voice we have been given to tell us what is intrinsically right and wrong”.

    “This inclination…constitutes for most of them a trial”.

    You will note this wording. It clearly enunciates the Church’s position as being that the orientation (although the Church would not use the word) is unchosen. Something chosen would not be described as a “trial”. In that sense, the Church accepts that it is “natural”, as something which is not chosen must in some other way have happened to them, rather than being something which they wanted to happen.

    Natural, yes. Commensurate with the natural law, no.

    This is the great mistake people make when they argue against the Church’s pronouncements on the subject, because these almost invariably refer to the natural law, and seculars very rarely have any notion that this means something other than – as you put it earlier – the dictionary definition as they understand it. This sets them off on the wrong path, as they understandably start to argue, as you have done, about homosexual behaviour in the natural world. But it’s not relevant. It’s not what the Church is saying.

  • Chris Morley

    Thanks for accepting that Catholic Care applied for permission to discriminate in providing adoption services and were refused.

    Where did you hear that the Diocese of Leeds is trying to overturn the Tribunal’s 2nd decision? It’s not reported in today’s article on the Catholic Herald website, or are you the Bishop of Leeds? Surely not?

    I think they are wasting their time and money on another Judicial Review, but it’s not my £££. Their lawyer must love them.

    You then argue that religious freedom means what you / the Church say it means, rather than how the law defines it. 
    I’d be very interested to read the wriggling doctrinal explanation of why it is ‘within Church law’ for a Catholic adoption agency to provide its services and enable a single gay person to adopt, but absolutely not to do the same for a gay couple.
    Most Catholic agencies here and in the USA have decided to accept the law of the land if they want to continue to provide services to the public, including Catholics. What’s special about ‘Church law’ in Leeds?

    Your argument gets stretched and convoluted to enable you to conclude that it’s Catholics who are being denied a service. Catholic Care is choosing, by its actions, to deprive Catholics of that ball.
    We are clearly not going to be able to agree. You say potatoes, I say potatoes ….

    I’m not sure quite how you intend to refuse to obey the proposed law allowing gay civil marriages. Will you cause an obstruction or superglue the locks at every registry office or other premises conducting a gay civil marriage?

    Are there really no other causes that are more useful and important for a Catholic to take up?

    Why not leave gay people to carry on being “intrinsically disordered” in peace, and say the occasional prayer out of Christian charity for your fellow humans?