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Cardinal O’Brien: same-sex marriage would be a ‘great wrong’ like slavery

By on Monday, 5 March 2012

Cardinal O'Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh (PA photo)

Cardinal O'Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh (PA photo)

Cardinal Keith O’Brien has compared the introduction of same-sex marriage to the legalisation of slavery.

He made the comment in an article for the Telegraph in which he said the repercussions of such legislation would be “immense”.

The cardinal said: “Imagine for a moment that the Government had decided to legalise slavery but assured us that ‘no one will be forced to keep a slave’.

“Would such worthless assurances calm our fury? Would they justify dismantling a fundamental human right? Or would they simply amount to weasel words masking a great wrong?”

In his article Cardinal O’Brien said that “no government has the moral authority to dismantle the universally understood meaning of marriage”.

He pointed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, where marriage defined as a relationship between a man and a woman. He argued that same-sex marriage would be a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”.

He described the consequences of such legislation, saying: “If same-sex marriage is enacted into law what will happen to the teacher who wants to tell pupils that marriage can only mean – and has only ever meant – the union of a man and a woman?

“Will that teacher’s right to hold and teach this view be respected or will it be removed? Will both teacher and pupils simply become the next victims of the tyranny of tolerance, heretics, whose dissent from state-imposed orthodoxy must be crushed at all costs?” he said.

The cardinal defended his comments on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, saying: “I don’t think it’s inflammatory at all. I think it’s handing on the teaching of the Christian Church for more than 2,000 years and I am doing my best to hand it on in a way that many people can hear it.”

  • Brian A. Cook

    I merely said that homosexual persons are human beings who are not to be horribly stereotyped.

  • Dave Corrigan

    Take no notice of this venomous creature:  ‘teigitur’ who does not have the moral courage to give his real name as people of integrity do. Look at the content of all of his vitriolic and poisonous blogs, and it is clear to see that he is virtually illiterate. He probably has two GCSE examinations, religious education and woodwork.

  • Matt

    Too bad we can’t say the same for Catholics, nowadays….

  • Benedict Carter

    Are you one of the modern Church’s surrender monkeys? Sounds like it.

  • Anonymous

    “Most of these people were murderous monsters, rapists etc”
     Oh yeah and I m the one who makes offensive and rude comments. LOL Get a grip.

  • Anonymous

    As I suspected. You know very little.

  • Anonymous

    “For legal reasons , one cannot mention names!!”

  • Mark Castilano

    There are many references to choose from, but the most concise text is “The Popes, A History” by John Julius Norwich. Published by Chatto and Windus (2011). ISBN 9780701182908. You will discover that many of the popes were most reprehensible.   However, I doubt if you would consider reading this book or any other serious book about the vagaries of the Vatican., because I anticipate that reading such a book would upset your doctrinal mindset.

  • Anonymous

    I am very aware of the vagaries of the Vatican. Having waited two years already for them to settle a local problem with our Bishop. I am also aware that there have been bad Popes, and errant Priests and Bishops, even recently.
     However, thats not ALL there is. If that is all there was, we would have all walked away many years ago. It seems yourself and Mr McGinnity, think thats what the Church consists of. You are wrong. In any case none of this has any relevance to this article.

  • Paul Halsall

    The gay rights movement in Scotland began in Scottish Catholic churches.

    Fr. Anthony Ross OP, when he was prior of the Dominican Priory in Edinburgh (a building bought and paid for by Andre Raffelovich, the lover and intimate friend of Fr. (Canon) John Gray of St. Peter’s, Morningside) allowed the first gay discos in Scotland to be held in the basement of the Priory Building in George Square in the 1970s.  (John Gray was the model for Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray – see )For many years the main publication of the Scottish Minorities Group, later the Scottish Homosexual Rights Group, called GAY SCOTLAND, was mimeostated in a central Scotland presbytery.It’s fair to say that without the help of Scottish gay Catholic clergy, the entire gay rights movement in Scotland would have taken much longer to take off.I suppose much of the ethos of the era was helped by Paul VI, who was a gay pope (see Peter Hebblethwaite’s biography), 

    Cardinal O’Brien, as spiritual director of St. Andrew’s Drygrange presided over one of the gayest seminaries in the UK (although it was not as gay as Allen Hall or the English College). 

    These facts annoy both some modern gay men, who are virulently anti-religious, and some very conservative Catholics.

    But they are what they are.

  • Anonymous

    Facts? Little bit liberal with  the fantasy I think.

  • Paul Halsall

    And, btw, since they stopped accepting gay ordinands, what has happened to the numbers?

    Pretty soon, in Scotland and the UK, Catholics will be like certain Russian sects or the Catholic Apostlic Irvingites – believers in sacraments, but with no one to administer them.

  • Honeybadger

    Thank you, Cardinal O’Brien, for telling it like it is.

    Same-sex marriage is an oxymoron.

    ‘Nuff said.

  • Paul Halsall

    It’s all true.

  • Anonymous

    That is a direct result of the false implementation of Vatican 2 . It has been a disaster for the Church. The tradional orders have no problem attracting vocations. Your world is a little warped Mr Halsall, bitter even.

  • Paul Halsall

    The traditional orders are even more gay than the secular seminaries.

  • Tridentinus

     You say, ‘The Cardinal says: “If same-sex marriage is enacted into law what will happen to the teacher who wants to tell pupils that marriage can only mean – and has onlyever meant – the union of a man and a woman?”

    Well it is virtually certain that it WILL be enacted into Law. If the teacher tellshis pupils that marriage can only mean union of a man and woman he will at bestby lying and, at worst, be committing an unlawful act in addition to his stated falsehood.’

    Reading your comments is like reading Through the Looking Glass; truth becoming a lie overnight. A perfectly legitimate and universally held belief becomes a crime at the stroke of a legislative pen.

    Are you seriously suggesting that the Law of England and Wales is paramount and we must all conform our consciences to its dictates? Are you saying that evil becomes good and good, evil on the say so of a handful of Godless politicians? Will we never be able to even criticise Government policy once it becomes law?

    Methinks, it’s not the Cardinal who has a few things missing.

  • John Byrne

    Please don’t be silly Tridentinus – and there is no cause to be offensive.

    Tridentinus Quote: ” Are you saying that evil becomes good and good, evil on the say so of a handful of Godless politicians? Will we never be able to even criticise Government policy once it becomes law?”

    I am saying that giving equal rights to homosexuals is a good thing. You say that it is an evil thing.

    Of course we are free, in our free country, to criticise government policy – even after it has become Law. But we are not free to make up our own Laws or to place ourselves above the Law of our country.
    If you cannot agree that this is so then you cannot be in favour of a Law-abiding society – and I am.

  • Tridentinus

     Flippant, provocative and baseless reply.

  • Wandwaggler

    TO THE CATHOLIC CARDINAL O’BRIEN AFTER HIS HOMOPHOBIC HATE SPEECHFor you, Cardinal O’Brien, atop the hierarchy of a church which self indulgently promoted the biggest sexual abuse scandal afflicting boys and girls all over the world, to oppose people who want to make binding commitments to each other in the sight of God is the real abomination. Never mind the many other abominations listed in Leviticus and conveniently ignored by the same church, your stance has to be one that would make God weep. Love thy neighbour? Not if he or she is gay! But protect the priestly abusers licensed by past Popes? The Catholic hierarchy did!I am in my 42nd year of a same sex relationship (now Civil Partnership) and I am proud of the caring and loving I have seen amongst the circle of my friends. A pointy hat and a posh cardinal’s frock fool no-one. You, Cardinal O’Brien, do not understand love and charity. You do not understand my friend David who died of cancer in the arms of his long term lover; you do not understand Stanley who cared for a partner disabled and incontinent by virtue of a stroke. Frankly, you are just blinded by the mist of prejudice and homophobia which swims around a BIshop’s mitre.I feel pity for you in your ignorance, but contempt for your abuse of the Love of Christ which should be resident in your very soul.

  • Tridentinus

    John Byrne Quote: “I am saying that giving equal rights to homosexuals is a good thing. You say that it is an evil thing.”

    Because I disagree with you and were I a teacher and told my class  that marriage can only mean union of a man and woman, this makes me at best a liar, at worst a criminal, does it? These are your words, not mine. If I were a teacher and told my class abortion was evil, would that also make me a liar and a criminal? Is everything that the Government legalises automatically good and what it bans, evil?

    Quote: “Of course we are free, in our free country, to criticise government
    policy – even after it has become Law. But we are not free to make up
    our own Laws or to place ourselves above the Law of our country.”

    Please explain to me why expressing one’s disagreement with and criticising government policy and legislation constitutes making up one’s own Law or placing one’s self above the Law and tell me where I advocated this in my reply to you.

    I am sorry you feel I have offended you but I was only turning your parting shot, about the Cardinal missing a few things, back on to you; just being a bit mischievous

  • Matt

    Really.  What a Catholicphobic hate speech.

  • Anonymous

    You’re right – some of them don’t just want sex; they want to be above criticism or comment. That is they want the right to behave like fascists,forcing their attitudes and values (or lack of them) on everybody else by dictating what they should think. Honestly the people who just want sex aren’t the problem here. Its the cranks who just can’t stand the fact that the Christian church exists – indeed that God exists. God is Love and He loves sinners – which is why His Church tries to get His message across – that God loves us all. Like a loving parent teaching their child the highway code; God’s Word is there to save but what parent wouldn’t be angry with people who drive on the wrong side of the road and teach children that they don’t need to do their kerb drill. There is more to life than sex - once you discover true Love, you will be less obsessed with sex. As Jesus said, “When I became a man, I gave up childish things” - Christ’s Church is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, so it cannot be about self-indulgence. St Paul said, self-indulgence is the opposite of the Holy Spirit, and Love never seeks its own advantage. He also said that those who are interested only in material things can not be pleasing to God. Sex is a materialistic concern, not a spiritual concern.

  • Anonymous

    That’s not how you spell ‘Donkeys’. Please stop shouting.

  • Anonymous

    2 points are worth addressing here. JB says “One might ask why he believes that (…civil partnerships are harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of those involved)”

    Lets just take the physical harm - leaving aside the deaths from cervical cancer and other STD’s caused by sex outside marriage generally – 34 million deaths from AIDS and counting, and lets remind ourselves how the cigarette industry brainwashed people into thinking that what they were being taught was good for them actually DIDN’T give them lung cancer, strokes and heart disease. Lets also go back a few thousand years and remind ourselves that as long ago as Plato, people recognised that leaving the misinformed and beguiled to their own devices was incomaptible with any rational concept of JUSTICE. Like members of the campaign group FOREST, which want the freedom to harm themselves by inhaling tobacco smoke, there may be some homosexuals who accept the harm and think its worth it, but the vast majority of rational folk would disagree with them, and the vast majority of homosexuals and those supporting gay marriage do not fall into that category. Like children brought up on TV images of cool sophisticated people lighting up and achieving their dreams, they are deluded and need saving from themselves. The Cardinal no doubt wants the coalition Government to stop collaborating in the brainwashing of our children by using the law to sell a lie – against the wishes of the people who “elected” them.

    The second point: JB says, “If the teacher tells his pupils that marriage can only mean union of a man and woman…”

    Wait a minute. Gay means happy or glad, and not homosexual. I am not homosexual but I am gay. Now is the Orwellian machine going to send the thought police to force me to say I am not gay? I don’t think so – why? Because language is what people use to express ideas. It cann never be what any government dictates it is. That was an easy one – who is going to force everybody to stop using the word marriage as they see fit? Who is going to stop everybody from inventing their own word for different types of partnership? The eskimos have many words for snow – we have one word for marriage, and any so-called marriage which isn’t one will soon be re-labelled for what it is. People can get by without the word “Gay,” but Marriage is here to stay. 

  • Anonymous

    Nobody who loves kills – or breaks any of the commandments of God, since God is Love. Those who worship pleasure or money or power do kill and sometimes take delight in it. Now sex outside marriage between a man and a woman kills millions every year. Those who promote gay marriage are like people who offer cigarettes to their so-called friends. They are not true friends and have no idea of what true friendship is. A true friend does no harm and this is even more true of true love. Those who want gay marriage seek what is harmful. They can neither love themselves nor each other that way. Love is about sacrifice for others – it can never be about inflicting harm on others. The same applies to heterosexuals who sleep around and then pass diseases on to their spouse. Sex outside marriage between a man and a woman causes suffering on a vast scale – why pretend otherwise – to keep people happy? You might aswell take the health warnings off cigarette packets because they upset people. Telling people what they want to hear is not the loving thing to do – but it is a vote-winner – isn’t it Mr Clegg?

  • Don

    God Bless His Eminence, he makes the rest of us feel human. I used think as a child these guys in red were self aware but Cardinal O’Brien proves they are the same as the rest of us. I would advise the good cleric to take it easy as gay marriage whether we like it or not will come and in the future I imagine the church will grab the pink pound or euro when they allow the knot be tied on their premises. Its the way of the world, we rebel, grudgingly accept and incorporate into our system that which we once thought alien. The RC church will never get a prize for leading the way but it has changed with time as much as any institution, its just that it takes it a little longer.