Archbishops will also issue a pastoral letter about the importance of marriage to society

Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark has said that the bishops’ conference is planning to issue leaflets informing Catholics of forthcoming same-sex marriage legislation and urging the faithful to write to their MPs about it.

Archbishop Smith, chairman of the bishops’ Department for Christian Responsibility and Citizenship, said that he and Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Wesminster also planned to write a pastoral letter about the importance of marriage to a stable society.

He said that after the details of the legislation had emerged “we will be producing a leaflet for Catholics to raise awareness of the specific proposals and to encourage people to engage with their MPs”.

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His statement follows a meeting with Theresa May last week in which the Home Secretary clarified that the Government intended to introduce same-sex marriage and that the consultation next month was only to help with the details of the legislation.

Archbishop Smith said: “At our recent bishops’ conference standing committee meeting we discussed the forthcoming government consultation on same-sex marriage. It was agreed that the president and vice-president of the conference will write a pastoral letter reflecting on the importance of marriage and family life in building a stable and healthy society, and affirming and celebrating the Church’s understanding of marriage.

“In addition, after we have had the opportunity to study the details of the government consultation, we will be producing a leaflet for Catholics to raise awareness of the specific proposals and to encourage people to engage with their MPs,” the archbishop said.

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