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Full text: English and Welsh bishops’ letter on same-sex marriage

By on Tuesday, 6 March 2012

A Letter on Marriage from the President and Vice-President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ,

This week the Coalition Government is expected to present its consultation paper on the proposed change in the legal definition of marriage so as to open the institution of marriage to same-sex partnerships.

Today we want to put before you the Catholic vision of marriage and the light it casts on the importance of marriage for our society.

The roots of the institution of marriage lie in our nature. Male and female we have been created, and written into our nature is this pattern of complementarity and fertility. This pattern is, of course, affirmed by many other religious traditions. Christian teaching fills out this pattern and reveals its deepest meaning, but neither the Church nor the State has the power to change this fundamental understanding of marriage itself.

Nor is this simply a matter of public opinion. Understood as a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman, and for the creation and upbringing of children, marriage is an expression of our fundamental humanity. Its status in law is the prudent fruit of experience, for the good of the spouses and the good of the family. In this way society esteems the married couple as the source and guardians of the next generation. As an institution marriage is at the foundation of our society.

There are many reasons why people get married. For most couples, there is an instinctive understanding that the stability of a marriage provides the best context for the flourishing of their relationship and for bringing up their children. Society recognises marriage as an important institution for these same reasons: to enhance stability in society and to respect and support parents in the crucial task of having children and bringing them up as well as possible.

The Church starts from this appreciation that marriage is a natural institution, and indeed the Church recognises civil marriage. The Catholic understanding of marriage, however, raises this to a new level. As the Catechism says: “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, by its nature is ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptised persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.” (para.1601)

These rather abstract words are reflected however imperfectly in the experience of married couples. We know that at the heart of a good marriage is a relationship of astonishing power and richness, for the couple, their children, their wider circle of friends and relations and society. As a Sacrament, this is a place where divine grace flows. Indeed, marriage is a sharing in the mystery of God’s own life: the unending and perfect flow of love between Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We know, too, that just as God’s love is creative, so too the love of husband and wife is creative of new life. It is open, in its essence, to welcoming new life, ready to love and nurture that life to its fullness, not only here on earth but also into eternity.

This is a high and noble vision, for marriage is a high and noble vocation. It is not easily followed. But we are sure that Christ is at the heart of marriage, for his presence is a sure gift of the God who is Love, who wants nothing more than for the love of husband and wife to find its fulfilment. So the daily effort that marriage requires, the many ways in which family living breaks and reshapes us, is a sharing in the mission of Christ, that of making visible in the world the creative and forgiving love of God.

In these ways we understand marriage to be a call to holiness for a husband and wife, with children recognised and loved as the gift of God, with fidelity and permanence as the boundaries which create its sacred space. Marriage is also a crucial witness in our society, contributing to its stability, its capacity for compassion and forgiveness and its future, in a way that no other institution can.

In putting before you these thoughts about why marriage is so important, we also want to recognise the experience of those who have suffered the pain of bereavement or relationship breakdown and their contribution to the Church and society. Many provide a remarkable example of courage and fidelity. Many strive to make the best out of difficult and complex situations. We hope that they are always welcomed and helped to feel valued members of our parish communities.

The reasons given by our government for wanting to change the definition of marriage are those of equality and discrimination. But our present law does not discriminate unjustly when it requires both a man and a woman for marriage. It simply recognises and protects the distinctive nature of marriage.

Changing the legal definition of marriage would be a profoundly radical step. Its consequences should be taken seriously now. The law helps to shape and form social and cultural values. A change in the law would gradually and inevitably transform society’s understanding of the purpose of marriage. It would reduce it just to the commitment of the two people involved. There would be no recognition of the complementarity of male and female or that marriage is intended for the procreation and education of children.

We have a duty to married people today, and to those who come after us, to do all we can to ensure that the true meaning of marriage is not lost for future generations.

Most Reverend V. Nichols

Most Reverend P. Smith


  • Cjkeeffe

    We should stand up against the PC brigade that seek to impose their world view on us under the guise of equality. Marriage is defined as between man and woman. Academics understand that children are best brought up by husband and wife. This plan was not put forward in either parties’ manifesto the coalition agreement so I don’t see why the government is stoking up anti Christian and anti gay sentiments through this plan. Also international human rights does not support the proposition. The ECHR article 16 says men and woman have right to marry and in 2010 its court ruled that Austria’s refusal to allow or recognise same sex marriage did not breach the convention. Further the international declaration on HR 9art 16 does not provide for it its states “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family.” Same sex attraction is not a limitation to be considered if it had it would have said so. We should not let this government created homophobia and split our society.

  • Mark Castilano

    I feel that it would be a great discourtesy to disagree with the learned Bishops and I accept that they are putting the interests of Catholics and Catholic teaching first. It seems however that the necessary legislation to enable same sex marriage will sail through the parliamentary process, especially as there is a free vote, although some Conservative MP’s will vote against. It is very difficult to see what the Catholic Church can do to stop this legislation from becoming law, other than lodging protests. Society and “the authorities” are not very keen on protesters at the moment as the St. Paul’s fiasco demonstrated. Perhaps the Holy Ghost may intervene and convert those political correctness (social justice) lawyers to the true faith.

  • MummyMurray

    I agree with the fundamental reasons behind why people get married. In fact, if this goes ahead and homo’s can get married the same as ‘man’ and ‘woman’ can, then I’ll probably be one of those homo’s that chose to get married in a place of worship. To stand in front of my God and my family and friends and become one under the Lord with my wife and our children… and be legally recognised as a family, where my wife is the recognised other parent to our children. So, I don’t really understand where they’re coming from here? Are they trying to say that as gay people, we can’t/shouldn’t have children, nor can we raise them with any dignity, morals or stability? And that’s why we shouldn’t be allowed to get married? Someone should tell our son that then, because he’s been happy and healthy all this time when clearly he should be miserable and twisted. :s

  • Anonymous

    Why are the bishops making these foolish statements? Does it really make any sense for a group of celibate men to speak out on something about which none of them have any experience? Who on earth do they expect to take any notice of them?

    Catholic bishops already have a different understanding of marriage to that of the state. They believe that re-marriage after a divorce is usually impossible (absolutely impossible when the people involved were baptised), and tens of thousands of second “marriages” that take place in England every year are not really marriages at all as far as the Church is concerned.

    If the Church can accept that the state has a right to call the second marriages of the divorced “marriages” then it has accepted that the state can make up its own mind about what is, in civic terms, a marriage.

  • John Byrne

    The Bishops write: ”
    The roots of the institution of marriage lie in our nature. Male and female we have been created, and written into our nature is this pattern of complementarity and fertility.”
    But it is the UNTRUTH of this statement that is at the core of this matter.
    The TRUTH is that some human beings do not fall into this usual pattern. They are  homosexual people, and all political parties (and the vast number of our citizens) believe that they should have the same rights as the heterosexuals.

    The Bishops say:
    “…nor the State has the power to change this fundamental understanding of marriage itself.”
    “The State” (a European concept), or rather the democratically elected Queen’s government, has every right to do this. The Bishops’ “get out” phrase is, of course “fundamental understanding”. But naturally, if you are an ignorant, bigoted cradle Catholic for example, you may find it very hard to get your head around the idea.

    The Bishops say:
    “As an institution marriage is at the foundation of our society.”
    Exactly the reason why homosexuals should have the same rights as heterosexuals.

     The Bishops say:
    “It  [the Church] simply recognises and protects the distinctive nature of marriage.”
    The Bishops will simply have to accept the reality: marriage is going to change (again) and in a fundamental way. “The distinctive nature” to which they refer will no longer be its distinctive nature.

  • Jack McFall

    I would not have the impertinence to disagree with the bishops and I defer to their ecclesiastical knowledge. However there are other considerations such as the humanistic and phenomenological point of view i.e., we may not understand homosexuality, but it exists. - – - - Then there are psychoanalytic and behavioural considerations wherein there are recognised variables that point to developmental precursors to the manifestation of same sex attractions. Then there are very important psychopathological and the endocrine considerations that cannot be overlooked. Referring to nature and natural does not explain anything because natural law is cruel and unforgiving. Flowers and butterflies are natural, and so is malaria, syphilis and many other diseases. Poisonous snakes are scorpions are natural as are earthquakes and tornado’s It is biologically correct that in the majority of cases females (plants insects, birds animals and humans) are attracted to males, and visa-versa, but not all the time, because same sex attractions are well known and documented in birds, fish and animals, as well as humans. The whole concept of human libido is still a puzzle whereby some people are alibidinal (no sex drive) whilst others need to have frequent sexual encounters. The ecclesiastical point of view is valid to Catholics and should be respected, but it is only a very small part of a very complex phenomenon, and all the other non-religious theories are just as important as to what the Catholic church decrees. I do not agree with same sex marriage, because I do not agree with any marriage conducted by the state or religious institution. There is no reason why the law could not be changed to remove marriage from being in the public domain and become to a private contract drawn up in a solicitors office with agreed terms of behaviour, ownership of equity etc. Peoples private lives and sex lives have nothing to do with a deity, creed, or dogma and it is undignified to ever consider that human beings need to have the permission from a deity to engage in coitus.

  • John Byrne

    Mr McFall writes: “The ecclesiastical point of view is valid to Catholics and should be respected.”
    Perhaps you are not a Catholic. But I am, and would prefer that some clerics and people like yourself did not tell me what opinion I should respect and what is “valid” in respect of this matter. I believe that the “official” Church simply does not understand this question and risks being quite misled by the support of some vocal and simple cradle Catholics (regrettabley some of the hierarchy too seem to fall into this category).

    Here is an opportunity, if only they can find the courage, for enlightened members of the hierarchy who DO understand this issue, to speak out.
    They would, of course, risk their futures in the Church (at present), but could they not do this without revealing their identity?  I really do not see why not.
    “Leaks” via the internet or through other respectable media (even The Telegraph) would be possible.

    PS: The Telegraph would, in fact, be a very good possible vehicle for such leaks (following on from Cardinal O’Brien’s recent writings) – although, of course, it might not accept them. After all the Telegraph has its own agendas; and I think they have nothing to do with promoting the Catholic Church!

  • Jane Brady

    Showing 7 comments, says it all, Who the hell cares what the bishops say or think about a lost cause. The Catholic Church is only 50 years behind the times and it is too late for them to “throw their weight about”. Most people like varied sexual experiences and not just one partner for life.

  • Mark Castilano

    You propose that “We should stand up against the PC brigade”, Who are ‘we’, and how do you suggest that this be done? Talk is (blogs) cheap. Moreover, who are the “PC Brigade”, and how will you know when you have found them? Making facile commentry is useless.

  • Anonymous

    This really takes the biscuit.  Unbelievable.  They actively support homosexuals (the Soho Masses being the most obvious example, but also the failure to see to it that clergy are preaching about this matter in parishes) and then they come out with this high-handed “defence” of marriage.

    Hypocrisy in the extreme, both north and south of the border.

    Here in Scotland we have Cardinal O’Brien throwing the most incredibly “offensive” language around on the subject,papers full of it, TV bulletins, the lot,  not two minutes after telling a reporter that he had “no problem” with “gays” who lived with their partners, teaching in Catholic schools.

    What, do they think we’re all stupid?  Do they really think we don’t notice the duplcity?

    Well, the useful idiots don’t see it, of course, but informed Catholics can see it with bells on.

  • Anonymous

    So, you only speak out on matters about which you have personal experience?  WOW!  Bet your family and friends enjoy the silence.

    Get a grip.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I think that is exactly what the American lady thought when she married her warehouse.  She just wanted to become one with her warehouse in a religious ceremony and even found an “ordained minister” to conduct the “ceremony”.  Oh but it’s OK.  She said the warehouse is female so it was a “gay” wedding.

  • Anonymous

    You might well think you are a Catholic, John Byrne, but you do not have a CLUE about the nature and purpose of the Church., God (literally) help you.  Make an appointment with a traditional Catholic priest (not a Modernist diocesan priest) or buy some cotton clothes a very strong pair of sunglasses because where you are heading, it is extremely hot.

  • Anonymous

    Well, I’m no fan of the Modernist bishops we’re stuck with right now, but I care a heck of a lot more about what they think that I care about your daft, predictable opinions imbibed from 21st century “gay” propaganda.

  • Maccabeus

    Is this the best the Bishops of England and Wales can do? We have militant atheist secular elites attacking the very foundations of our society, our Faith and Holy Mother Church, and instead of thundering from the pulpit its denunciation of an arrogant, overweening, majority-less government that arrogates to itself the right to change, on a whim and a caprice, at the behest of a Prime Minister who looks as though he has only just graduated from nappies to long trousers, in a contemptible lust for trendy headlines-grabbing glory, the contents and meaning of marriage understood in the natural law, Holy Scripture and Tradition, our Bishops issue a poorly drafted, weak, pusillanimous, bloodless little statement like the one above. The Catholic hierarchy, in this country, have sold out the faith for over 40 years and clearly even the current offensive against Christian faith and morals in this country hasn’t penetrated their smug, complacent, appeasing little skulls. Quite simply homosexuality is sin, practising homosexuals are committing grave sin and, if they fail to repent and change their ways and refrain from their sexual activities, they will burn in hell. Or have we become so brainwashed by modern ‘I shop therefore I am’ consumer driven hedonism that we are too embarrassed to state the truths of the Faith honestly, fairly and clearly?? All of us, and especially the English Bishops, need to remember the stark warning given by God to those who fail to defend the Faith or explain the consequences of evil to those who wilfully and repeatedly commit it: “If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you will have saved your life.” (Ezekiel 3: 18-20). On matters of fundamental truth to the Faith there should be, can be, must be, no compromise and our Bishops are required, as part of their apostolic duty, to give a clarion call to the faithfull, rousing them to their duty, to vigilance, and to fight the good fight for the Faith. Something Archbishop Nichols has signally failed to do in a letter whose every line reeks with the nauseating aroma of appeasement and surrender.

  • Issac Lazarus

    I am a supporter of SSPX and I attend Mass at Saint Andrew’s Church, in Renfrew Street, Glasgow. I can recite the Latin Mass completely from the priest and server point of view from “Introibo ad Altare Dei“, to “Ite Missa Est” Where do I fit into your concept of Catholicism? Isaac Lazarus (The Lebanon)

  • Mark Castilano

    Are you to be the next pope? No!, you are only a woman and you do not qualify.

  • David Devinish

    I was educated at Clongowes Wood College, Co, Kildare, Ireland, Trinity College Dublin, St. Johns College Oxford and lastly at Harvard University. and I am aware of world opinion about the Roman Catholic  Church    Strangely enough, I watched the film “Elizabeth” with the wonderful Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth I. In the film Bishop Gardiner issued the very same sort of idiotic rhetoric as you do. England still triumphs over Roman Catholicism. Why do you not accept that the Pope is a figurehead only who sleeps most of the day and is inconsequential in the running of the Catholic Church. The name of his successor has already been “cut and dried” and we can expect our first American Pope. Thank heaven, it does not matter too much what happens in England.

  • Mark Castilano

    How strange? Jack McFall has proffered alternative psychological, physiological, neurological, behavioural, psychodynamic, psychoanalytical, humanistic and phenomenological theories about the theoretical antecedents of the onset of homosexuality, yet no one has bothered to comment or debate his point of view. This lack of response suggests that the closed minded ideological and doctrinal attitudes of the Roman Catholic Church are sacrosanct and are not amenable to reason and debate. This lack of response speaks volumes and shows that the Roman Catholic case is lost forever.

  • Mark Castilano

    Still no response. I wonder why?

  • buckingham88

    May I express some thoughts on this question of a failure of Catholics to man the barricades when propositions about catholic belief are so strongly put. The best answer is that there is no conversation going on.If I and many like minded catholics believed all the things thought of me,I would be most confused and self destruct.Only a few years ago a significant Professor of Geology in Australia discovered that catholics do not believe in Creationism,and in fact do not hold the first four books of the OT to be literally true.This was helpful to him,and to society,because it was possible to pursue the truth found in science without being told that it was against god’s law by a billion catholics.
    I suspect that few in society would want to remove marriage from the public domain as Jack seems to suggest,but is this a proposition that anyone ,let alone catholics,are suggesting? Perhaps as a single point this could be talked about in a 500 word comment.
    But I digress.I have many gay,lesbian and trans gender friends.We,my wife and I,lost two trans gender friends recently from HIV related illness.Three years ago I attended a world AIDS day ceremony which was crowded with older gay couples,in stable relationships,mourning those that had passed so quickly.The community faces the new pressure of the recent discovery of HIV related premature dementia.The Catholic Church,through its institutions is at the forefront of care.If there is a problem,straight to St Vincents,if its long care then the Church is ready to help.
    One couple have a child from a previous marriage,others have pets,most are single and celibate, they all do the best.This is not the issue.Their state is not the same as those that actually have children themselves.Jack talks about science,this is a biological fact.In our society,for better or for worse,it is only heterosexual relations that ‘naturally’produce children,the next generations.
    This does not mean that people,in stable relationships should not have some contractual protection,and it is up to the state,in a secular society to define that.But for the rest of society,that actually has the children,support them to the hilt,while respecting that other relations exist.As for the Natural Law the use of this term is so degraded by advertisers that if it is dug up from the ground,it”s natural.But then lets look at this scientifically and so unemotionally.
     Lets say that each generation of people fail, on average to have more that 2.3 children in each generation.If this were to happen then in three generations the population will have collapsed.A place like the UK then would have to support its population with immigrants,incidentally most of these are Muslim or Catholic.
     A good plan would be to accept that marriage is heterosexual,that other relationships exist,and protect those in each relationship.

  • Charles Martel

     Why do you spend your life attacking the Catholic Church, Mark? Do you actually have a life?

  • Charles Martel

     I absolutely agree. This statement just melts in the brain as soon as it gets there. After finishing it I couldn’t remember anything in it at all. You get the feeling Nichols is doing the bare minimum in order to guarantee his red hat. Revolting.

  • Charles Martel

     Dear Professor Devenish, what a jolly well-educated chap you are! Alas, your ill-formed and clumsily expressed opinions would seem to confirm what I have long suspected; that the longer one’s list of academic titles, the less likely one is to have any common sense. And, by the way, for well-educated people to have to brag about it in order to get any attention for their fatuous opinions is naff in the extreme.

  • Charles Martel

     Jane Brady again. Jane, THIS IS A CATHOLIC WEBSITE. Why do you bother?

  • Charles Martel

     That’s right, she does not qualify. and your point is?

  • Abdulla Hakim

    No sir, this is not a catholic website. It is a website to which anyone can contribute regardless of race color, creed or religion. I assume that you want you want to read opinions that only agree with yours. I notice that you are very rude and insulting to those who do not agree with you. This is called bigotry.

  • Mal

    Was he rude> I do not think so? Is this a Catholic website? Yes, a site in which even atheists and muslims can comment.

  • Mal

    The bishop is spot on.

     Politician, Lynne
    Featherstone, recently asked: Who owns marriage? To me, it is like asking ‘who
    owns gravity?’ Or, who is responsible for defining elements like gold and iron?
    Thankfully, the answer is not politicians and judges. The vast majority of people
    in the world would say that these properties, phenomena and laws simply exist
    in nature. None of us owns them, and so none of us could effectively re-define
    or corrupt them.

     Because human beings
    have biological bodies we are also conditioned by nature. We all have basically
    the same biological characteristics – except for minor differences in shape,
    size or colour, or some weaknesses and shortcomings. However, there is one significant
    feature that clearly subdivides us, namely gender. Yes, we do have our personal
    likes and dislikes, attractions, lusts and desires but each one of them is not
    as critical a feature as gender. When two people from the two genders commit
    themselves to a union there is a perfect and natural blend, merger – marriage.
    This natural marriage is beautiful and meaningful. Love blossoms, pleasure is
    experienced and the potential for society to grow, to sustain itself are the
    products of this union. No other relationship, no matter how loving, is like
    it. This is why it is celebrated all over the world. Nobody owns this
    phenomenon. So, politicians keep your noses out. Do not try to corrupt or
    destroy what is beautifully and meaningfully designed in our nature – for our

  • Mark Castilano

    I would like to understand your reasoning that this is a catholic website, and you suggest that anyone who is not a catholic should not use it. Is it not better to consider and hopefully understand differing opinions. Imagine if all the texts were singing similar praises of the wonderment of the Catholic Church. That would not further the progress of the church. Your reasoning and consideration on this issue would be deeply appreciated. May I respectfull request that do not be abrupt.

  • Nat_ons

    That sinners teach even in Catholic schools – whether married in sacrament or not – is no great surprise, or should not be. Yet when a Cardinal of the Catholic Church says he has no problem with such wrongdoing, publicly celebrated, inside or outside marriage, it is surprising – to say the least (although I guess it should not be, not really, I mean: today). Whether stupidity, hypocrisy or petty duplicity lurk as the reason for such confusion is beyond me; still the private contracts entered by teachers need not be a great concern to the informed Catholic – or any soul – a breach of trust must be; thus, the public contract of employment for a teacher in a Catholic school may not stipulate sacramental marriage or the presence of actual grace only an expectation of fidelity to the contract and a respect for the school’s ethos.

    A wonderful teacher who happens to have a particular disorder to cope with – amid all the other stresses of life – is certainly a better candidate for a Catholic school than the mediocre teacher without it; and that, I suspect, is the point that the Cardinal sought to make (perhaps, as usual, I am being far too charitable). Were that the point being made – not simple, wanton and obdurate ignorance of the Faith – then I for one would agree with the Cardinal, insisting of course on the honesty of the candidate and the due pastoral/ legal care being put in place to protect the teacher as well as his/ her charges. Here the guidelines on the protection of the young and vulnerable are a double-edged sword, slicing between the bone and marrow - like our Faith, as the living and active word of God; in this instance, through all the duplicity that a Cardinal might need to cover some bare-faced stupidity.

    Sadly, and all too often, Christians use the term ‘disorder’ as a weapon with which to beat some other soul, a sinner, as they are, in need of penitence, grace and reconciliation – it is not. That there are moral consequences to some disorders does need careful consideration (Tourette Syndrome, alcohol dependency etc), these need not be insurmountable .. even where some might (reasonably if ungraciously) object. And there we have the good pastor’s difficulty, exclude the wonderful teacher (who is dealing as best he may with a perceived disorder) to evade the concerns, and place a ban on all such candidates .. facing the full rigour of employment law .. or face those concerns and employ the teacher – it would seem His Eminence has decided on neither course, rather his choice is to ride rough-shod over the just concerns simply to allay the prevailing attitudes of the media-politico-hostility toward Roman Catholicism (which expedience is treachery not mere duplicity, hypocrisy or stupidity).

  • Mal

    In line with this guy’s silly reasoning, cardiologists who have not experienced heart problems should refrain from giving advice.

  • Cjkeeffe

    In reply to Mark’s reply to my earlier comment 1) teh PC brigade are similiy those who would seek to unilaterally change the definition of words to suit their political asiprations, i.e gay now means sodomite relationships instead of being happy, 2) we i assume are catholics and other of similiar beliefs, 3) simply you can challenge this by wrting to your mp or the PM or expressing a view to the forthcoming consultation.
    I note that you have failed to make any comment on my reference to the two international HR instruments or to the 2010 Euro Rights crt judgement in respect to Austria. You are right that talk is cheap and making facile commentary is useless – perhaps you should cease making such facile comments and contribute thoughtfully to debate. And finally, I have a life that is not bound to being commected to a computer to make flippant and pointless commets as per your second comment.
    You could have mentioned why there has been no call for this from homosexual rights groups or why both coalition parties manifestos at the 2010 election or their coalition agreement. So i would suggest lose the rhetroic and make sensianle comments.

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com/ EditorCT

    I’m on record as recently as this very morning on our own Catholic Truth blog emphasising that attending a Traditional Latin Mass, even in an SSPX chapel, is no guarantee that someone (in this case, you) is a traditional Catholic.
    If you are one of those SSPX attendees who has put his or head down, ignores your Confirmation duty to defend the faith (which, admittedly, does not seem to be the case or you would not, I presume, be here at all)  and thinks “outside the SSPX there is no salvation” you are not only NOT a traditional Catholic but you are as confused a Catholic as any Modernist.

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com/ EditorCT

    If words mean anything, Nat_ons, then the Cardinal means what he says.  He has no problem with a man or woman in a same sex partnership, teaching the pupils entrusted to the care of Catholic educationalists.

    In other words, being an actively homosexual person is no big deal.  If you want to protect your children from “gay” propaganda, keep them OUT of Catholic schools.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=697126564 Paul Halsall


  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com/ EditorCT


    Your comment came to me via the Disquis alerts and I can tell you that we have reported all of what you say in the Catholic Truth newsletter.  It is a total scandal – that and much more.  Pity your comment appears to have been removed.  Nobody should ever be afraid of the truth.

  • John Byrne

    When you say “gender”, I think you mean “sex” ( I know it’s not a word that many Catholics of the “cradle” type find easy to use).

    You say that “[gender] is the one significant feature that clearly subdivides us” as human beings. This is not so. There are many people (a minority, granted) who are trans-gender or/and bisexual. This year’s Olympic Games will see several investigations of athletes whose “gender” is a topic of some debate, uncertainty and argument.  

    The suggestion that marriage is a natural phenomenon, such as gravity, is risible and absurd.

    However you rightly say, with reference to marriage: “Nobody owns this phenomenon”
    (although this, and other, countries impose legal rights and restrictions pertaining to marriage which the homosexual community also wish to enjoy).
    Your “nobody owns” applies too, to the Church.

  • John Byrne

    Leading Tory Cabinet Minister, Francis Maude, says today in a speech (7 March 2012) that the Conservative party will always be seen as the nasty party if it fails to support gay marriage. Of course the PM Cameron sees this coming change in the Law on marriage as the high point [some might say the "cardinal point"] of his Premiership. 

    Francis Maude is obviously, here, talking to a minority of [mainly elderly] Tory MPs – and giving them due warning that this matter is of the highest importance and that the Party will suffer no nonsense on the issue.

    Maude goes on to warn that anyone failing to support David Cameron’s drive for equal homosexual rights risks leaving the Party viewed, by the great majority of British citizens, as “unacceptable and unelectable”.

    How “odd” this must seem to the wooden-headed cradle Catholics who post vitriolic missives on this website.

  • John Byrne

    So there you are Issac Lazarus – a pearl lands at your unworthy feet.

    Write it down and learn it, lest its metaphorical lustre should dim.


  • M Rimmer


    Sorry if this is a daft question, but, if the bill goes ahead, will there be exemptions for Catholic Churches / Priests to ‘opt out’ in preforming same sex marriages and if they do so is there a risk legal action can be brought against them / the Church for discrimination subsequently forcing them to preform them (or the Priest risks loosing his license) to marry people?

  • Parasum

    “Changing the legal definition of marriage would be a profoundly radical step.”

    ## But that is not an objection. The Christianisation of the Roman Empire was a “profoundly radical” thing – but how is that an *objection* to it ?

     “Its consequences should be taken seriously now.”

    ## Unfortunately, life is not able to be lived in advance – we cannot live in the future while it is still future. A point which Jesus Himself had something to say about (Matthew 6.20 ff.)

    “There would be no recognition of the complementarity of male and female
    or that marriage is intended for the procreation and education of

    ## There are are all sorts of details about Catholic teaching on marriage that the state does not bother with or support – why pick out these two details, and no others ? The state does not help to support the indissolubility of a sacramental marriage: so where are all the episcopal complaints against the Government for its not doing so ? Where were the Catholic bishops in 1857, when Parliament made it possible for people to obtain divorces without having to apply for individual Acts of Parliament to allow them to do so ?

    The bishops are very selective in what they complain about – and this selectivity deprives what they say of any claim to be derived from moral or theological or doctrinal principle. If they were relying on a coherent & intelligible set of moral or theological or doctrinal principles, they would be consistent, instead of seeming to be purely opportunistic. To be consistent, they should attack the governments of the last 150 or so years for doing so much to undermine the Divinely-instituted sacrament of matrimony. That they did not, but do so now, exposes their present position as a sham.

  • Mal

    Of course, it does apply to the Church. This is why the Church will not try to re-define it. And, of course, not all of us have two arms or legs, but this does not stop us from saying that humans have two legs and two arms. Those who have these shortcommings accept them, they do not ask for human nature to be re-defined. Marriage universally, except in a few decadant communities, is so defined beciase the two sexual organs merge – as our nature has it. And this marriage is usually beautiful and meaningful. It has provided the community with stability and, more importantly, continuity. Yes!

  • Mal

    But before then it should take the gloss of your opinion.

  • John Byrne

    Pray do not butt-in with impertinent observations Mal old bean (which will undoubtedly damn you to Hell for all eternity), I am endeavouring to illuminate the teachings of Her Holiness Editor CT.

  • Anonymous

    70% of this letter is superfluous, obfuscating tautology.

    The allegedly ‘rather abstract’ words of the Catechism are the clearest point made in the whole thing.

    Please: Somebody: Tell His Grace that he needs a scriptwriter.

    A strong message needed to be delivered – it’s been lost in unquotable, meandering irrelevancies.

    The Gospel needed to be preached; not suffocated with peripheral patronising platitudes.

  • Chris Morley

    There is no Bill yet and the Government hasn’t even published its proposals for the public to comment on. The consultation proposals will appear shortly.
    However the Equalities Minister has made it clear in earlier statements that this proposal is only for CIVIL gay marriages, i.e. in Registrar’s Offices, Town Halls, hotels and other licensed secular places. The Minister has said their proposals will completely exclude civil gay marriages from any Christian church, even though some Christian congregations have publicly said they want to perform gay marriages, such as the Society of Friends (Quakers).
    The Minister has also made it plain that civil gay marriages cannot be conducted by Christian ministers of any Church, including Catholic Priests. 

    The European Human Rights Convention protects the freedom of religious belief and the Equalities Act does the same.

    Despite the extreme anxiety / paranoia of some Christians that an unwilling Church or Priest could be forced to host a gay marriage, marry a gay couple, or be prosecuted for discrimination in refusing this, no Court could do this when the Human Rights Convention / Equalities law protects the freedom of belief. The sacrament of marriage is clearly a matter of belief; it is not remotely like (say) a Catholic B&B owner refusing to provide a double bedded room to a gay couple, because that is providing a service to the whole public, not performing or hosting a specifically religious ceremony.

  • Jane Brady

    She goes on, and on, and on, and on about everything and everybody that she disagrees with ad nausea. She is annoyed because Glasgow Rangers are defunct.

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com/ EditorCT

    I’m totally DEVASTATED at the poor old Rangers football team going out of business. How can I go on?

  • Issac Lazarus

    I do not care one iota because I’m Jewish. I just like the SSPX mass.