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Catholic Education Service defends marriage petition in schools

By on Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Catholic Education Service of England and Wales has defended its decision to circulate the archbishops’ letter on marriage to almost 400 schools.

The CESEW responded after one pupil complained that pupils were being encouraged to sign the Coalition for Marriage’s petition against Government plans to legalise same-sex marriage.

In a statement they said: “The letter is a positive affirmation of marriage, as is the Coalition for Marriage’s online petition. As the letter says, Catholics believe that ‘marriage is a high and noble vocation’.

“We reject the suggestion that Catholic schools have acted illegally. The Equality Act 2010 applies to all schools and we are fully supportive of the Act. It is central to Catholic teaching that all individuals should be treated with respect and dignity.”

The Church was defending itself against accusations that it had used “political indoctrination” by promoting the letter, penned by Archbishops Vincent Nichols of Westminster and Peter Smith of Southwark, which defended traditional marriages. Secularist groups said the schools and the CES may have been breaking equality laws.

But the CES said: “Catholic state schools have always been permitted by law to teach matters relating to sex and relationships education, including the importance of marriage, in accordance with the teaching of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church’s view on the importance of marriage is a religious view, not a political one.

“The online petition itself makes it clear that people under the age of 16 cannot sign it. We will issue new guidance for our schools to ensure that they are aware of this.

Over 470,000 people have now signed the Coalition for Marriage petition.

  • scary goat

    I am not sure that arguing with the secular world about gay marriage is the best way to go.  Bearing in mind that already secular marriage is far removed from Catholic marriage, I think we might as well accept that we are talking two different languages.  I think the best thing we can do as Catholics is to teach by example.  I used to fret about my aggressively atheist mother’s influence on my children, until I realised that actually she is the best advertisement FOR religion ever!  In chaos people start to look for meaning and sense.  I think we have a right to our views and a responsibility to be “visible” and each person is free to make their own choice. We live in difficult times.  Henry VIII has a lot to answer for.  So do clergy who abuse their positions of trust.  Collectively we need to be a light to the world which means starting with the man (or woman) in the mirror. 

  • JabbaPapa

    The moronic suggestion, held as strongly as any other religious tenet, that Nazism and Catholicism are the same is the sure sign of an atheistic bigotry that is invincible to the injection of facts, and that you are dealing with someone who prefers propaganda to reality.

  • JabbaPapa

    cripes, give yourself a pat on the back.

    Congratulate yourself, point out to one and all how brainy you are, perpetuate the fantasy that atheism might be intellectually superior, remind everyone of your superiority.

  • JabbaPapa

    Aah I see — your latest gimmick is that it’s somehohow “unchristian” to be opposed to “gay marriage” ?

    Whereas in fact marriage is a sacrament, and is not defined by sexual intercourse.

  • JabbaPapa

    This isn’t a game, and I would normally think that people can look at the newspapers and decide for themselves who’s doing the manipulative lobbying (ie the homosexualists).

    Your unhappiness with my analysis of the news and your clear desire to attack Catholicism combine with your atheism to provide the false notion that comments about the news require any other evidence than the news itself.

    I understand that you interpret that news otherwise ; that is to say, according to the contents of your atheistic prejudice.

    There is very little real difference between the views of one atheist and the next — as evidence that most online atheists are a bunch of indoctrinated servants of a religiously organised belief system, with its maxims, tenets, creeds, and dogmas, one need look no further than this one fact of their consistent sameness.

  • Acleron

    I had already realised you cannot handle facts or arguments but I hadn’t realised you couldn’t read either.

  • Acleron

    You do seem hung up on the sexualcongress bit, havinga problem there are you?

  • Acleron

    Your opinion or your ability to read are pretty irrelevant without being able to back up your statements. You clearly have no evidence so your statement is just a personal opinion that discloses two pertinent facts.
    1) You are quite willing to pass off your opinion as fact in the hope that no-one can challenge it. That is called deceit but as your comprehension appears low it is also called a lie. 
    2) You are unchristian in that respect.
    Exodus 20:16 - Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour

    These are the rules that you rabbit on about as making you such a cut above non-believers, perhaps you should try to get someone to read them to you.

  • buckingham88

     AC to the top

  • Patrick_Hadley

    Rachel stick the faith you have been taught, and ignore the un-Christian comments. The leaders of the Church have often been gravely in error in their teaching about morals, but with the help of the Holy Spirit eventually the truth conquers. Read the gospels and you will find that Jesus was not interested in condemning people.” (John 13:34-35) A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.””

    If someone if full of hate for other people, then you know that they are not speaking in the name of Our Lord.

  • buckingham88

    Conversation with Acleron .Having been brought up by the secular press to believe that the Pope did nothing to help the Jews I started to make my own investigation about the Nazis.It started by hearing the stories of those who fled central and occupied western  Europe after the war.Also I found ‘Hitler’s Mistakes”by Ronald Lewin useful in this.Hitler,in his rhetoric,said he was acting on behalf of God.
    He substituted The Leader, himself,for Christ.

  • Acleron

    It is hard to judge the behaviour of people who were under pressures the like of which we will hopefully never experience again. The pope would have had to make a decision on whether to go along with the Nazis or suffer. The konkordat between the catholics and the Nazis signed by the future pope in 1933 was very generous to the church. The ‘with burning concern’ encyclical of 1937 did appear to criticise the Nazis and Hitler but seemed to be mostly about the paganism of the Nazis and breaking of the Konkordat.

    I’ve read heart warming stories of catholic priests who risked themselves to get jews to safety but then there were the infamous rat-lines organised by catholics to help Nazi war criminals escape.And I’m sure you are right about Hitler, he used the trappings of religion to move the mobs. But at the time, those mobs must have believed they were acting in that god’s name otherwise why deploy that tactic. Hitler also relied on the anti-semitism of the catholic church as a rallying call, a point that was made by Wojtyla in 2000.I have no problem with an individual’s belief in a personal god, it is organised religion that becomes so dangerous because it allows demagogues to rule too easily. 

  • Robin Leslie

    The threat to heterosexual marriage, an institution at least two thousand years old, arises from
    circumstances of ideological tyranny.
    Neo-liberalism (market Capitalism) the dominant, indeed sole, ideology since 1980 in the UK
    is a Utopian ideology that has sought to implant itself by force not only in Britain but worldwide (viz. globalisation). In order to achieve its ends it has used the traditional shibboleth of ‘liberal democracy’
    as a cover and disguise for anti-democratic and tyrannical purposes.
    The means by which this ideology of plutocratic Corporatism has sought absolute power, in the same way that other Utopian ideologies of the modern period has, have been driven by a transformation and
    reinvention of the State and civil society.
    This Utopian transformation has included the reinvention and implantation of new sexual identities
    and institutions viz. gay marriage, transvestism, transgender etc. aided by policies of State intervention
    in the practices of ecclesiastical institutions, attempts to intervene in forms of priesthood. In addition to this reinvention and reconstruction of identities and institutions the new elites have misused organized science to drive through their ideological values under the guise of ‘scientific neutrality’ in diverse
    areas of medical practice, stem cell research, cloning, etc. that lay bare an underlying and covert desire to take the place of God.
    If anyone doubts the tyrannical thrust of this entire neo-liberal enterprise some reading of
    Susam Greenfield on the neuro-scientific dangers of these new identities, and John Gray on the
    the Big Lie of globalisation and ‘liberal democracy’.
    Oppose gay marriage and nourish the traditional family and marriage, but above all else resist
    market Capitalism and the tyranny it is imposing on our own society! 

  • Johno

    Point proven, thank you very much.

  • JByrne24

    Your ugly, pompous, ignorant bigotry is unworthy of a reasoned Catholic response.

  • JByrne24

    This is one of the dangers of religions, and other similar movements, in general – and even of Catholicism. They can attract some of the least desirable characters, and, sadly those too who suffer from (often) undiagnosed mental and psychological disorders. There is really no point in discussing their warped understanding of the teachings of Jesus with such people (although, of course, they must be forgiven as their conditions are usually beyond their own capacities to correct).  I’m quite certain that this website is of interest to quite a few academic psychologists, who simply read the comments and do not themselves post.  

  • Robin Leslie

    Rachel in a personal capacity I would not say that homosexuality is an illness so we need to
    pinpoint what we mean by the form of homosexual behaviour that is criticised and arraigned by the Catholic Church, rightly in my view, though I am certainly not homophobic as I offer the same, I hope, selfless love to gays as to others.
    What the Church judges ‘sinful’ is ‘sexual intercourse between two persons of the same sex’.
    It is not saying that homophilia, non-coital love between persons of the same sex is sinful, for that is required of us as Christians, and the Church maintains that homosexual intercourse is ‘against nature’, contrary to natural order, against the order GIVEN in nature. Whilst there have been homosexuals for centuries, it has not hitherto been confronted as it is now by either
    the constructionists of gay identity nor by its critics.
    In fact homosexual intercourse is regarded by the Church as a behaviour not dissimilar to other forms of  sinfulness such as heterosexual adultery, prostitution, rape, etc. all of which
    are misuses of the sacred gift of human sexuality.
    Attempts to blur the difference between the sexes and to reduce them to a single undifferentiated polyglot as has happened in the circumstances of neo-liberal rivalry where,
    for example, women have simply become ‘better men than men’ but not come fully into their
    feminine inheritance, have failed miserably.
    Gay marriage is an invented identity that is being forcibly imposed on us all. My simple response is it is simply unreasonable and unnecessary as well as being thoroughly unnatural.
    I do hope Rachel that you will not think that all Catholics are loveless towards those whose behaviour they find unacceptable.

  • Maccabeus2

    Well as they say, it takes one to know one…

  • Maccabeus2

    Would you describe your own comment as that of a ‘reasonable’ Catholic?

  • Acleron

    ‘and the Church maintains that homosexual intercourse is ‘against nature’, contrary to natural order, against the order GIVEN in nature’

    But why does the church think this way? Is it in the bible somewhere?

  • JByrne24

    To be a Catholic, you [must] accept all the Church’s teaching on faith & morals as defined and delineated by Mr Carter

  • whytheworldisending

    This highlights the incoherent nature of the “Equality” agenda. If teaching in support of marriage is political indoctrination, then why isn’t brainwashing children into thinking homosexual activity is normal also political indoctrination? Are we all supposed to believe that there is no political opposition to this rubbish or do the deviants who would impose their atheistic political views on our children imagine that the masses will accept that some really are more equal than others?  

  • whytheworldisending

    It is important not to mix up the fact that there are sinners who behave badly towards others while calling themselves Catholic – or Christian for that matter – with the central issue of how to view homosexuality, and with the way we use language. It is unfortunate that some people regard any sickness – and particularly mental illness – as something which we should be ashamed of. That is a manifestation of stupid pride – the same type of pride that makes people feel small because they are unemployed, or just not very well off. Consumerism teaches us to respect riches, youth and beauty etc and to look down on the poor, the aged and the sick, for the same reason that the temple authorities looked down on the sick, blind, lame and disturbed – all were treated as lepers and excluded from the temple BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T HAVE MONEY TO SPEND. The whole corrupt system was based on worship of money and the high priests were the super-rich. The Pharisees used the law to keep ordinary people feeling like they had to throw money at the Temple authorities and that kept the Saducees rich and the Pharisees in control. That didn’t mean that the Ten Commandments were nonsense – just that the leaders were corrupt and didn’t care about the people. Jesus never said to the adulterous woman you haven’t sinned. He forgave her and said “Sin no more.” Today we may not have to buy oxen to slaughter in order to offer sacrifice for sin – as long as GDP is growing we are welcome in the temple of mammon. The only outcasts are those who have no earning power, or who put God first. That includes for example women who wish to be housewives and mothers to their children, the sick and elderly and young people who do not succeed in jumping through all of the “educational” hoops put in front of them from the age of 2. What does the politically correct pharisaical dogma tell these people? Women ignore your duties as mother and get out into the workplace; and abort the child in your womb if it will stop you earning as much money as you should be earning. Old people can agree to be killed along with the sick since they are a drain on our finances and caring for them only stops people doing “real” work. What’s all this got to do with marriage? Well the 2 enemies of today’s Saducees (The Rich) and Pharisees (Corrupt lawmakers) are Religion and Family. Why? Because they both espouse valuing people before profit. This is why successive governments have attacked and undermined both Faith and Family – the 2 institutions that free ordinary people from the slavery of the consumerist treadmill. What’s that got to do with homosexuality? The controllers of wealth don’t give a damn about whether the sexually confused need help – or what kind of help. They just want your money – and your vote. Jesus didn’t just cure lepers  - he showed that he loved them when they were still lepers, by reaching out and touching them. The one who returned to thank him did so because he still wasn’t welcome in the temple – even though he was cured. He was a Samaritan. There used to be another institution that was on the side of humanity, but it discovered that if it got enough money it would also be welcome in the temple of Mammon, making money and sacrificing peoples’ lives. It was called the Labour Party. I’d rather be a lifelong Gay Samaritan than vote for Labour now. They are just as corrupt as the other 2. This society is suffering from a sick political system which encourages sin and ruins society in order to make money, in the false belief that we can buy our way out of any problem. Many people who think they are gay are just like people from broken marriages whose families have broken down, and people in prison whose lives have gone off the rails. They have corrupt policies to thank for it. You cannot serve God and Money.

  • Acleron

    But it is not teaching in support of marriage, it is teaching that it is ok to discriminate against a group who offer you no harm whatsoever and unlike theists demand nothing more than equal rights. 

    It is also pretty arrogant for you to call everyone who disagrees with you, deviants. It demonstrates yet again that you are not a tolerant sect and with that list of rules of behaviour you are  unfit for modern society.

  • Adam Thomson

     “But why does the church think this way? Is it in the bible somewhere?”

    I would be surprised if you genuinely did not know the answer, at least to your second question. In case you really don’t know, the answer is ‘Yes, it is in the Bible.’

  • whytheworldisending

    Part of the problem is the way that those who are trying to high jack and subvert the Anglican church in England and America try to blur Gospel teachings to give the false impression that sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman isn’t sinful. I’m not going to point out the relevant passages since these are obvious to any genuine disciple. All I want to do is highlight the EFFECT which the disorientation in the Anglican mind set has on the political outlook for family values, traditional morality and freedom of worship (that is free to live without the scourge of totalitarian atheism).

    There is a battle between militant hedonists and Christians. Part of the militant hedonist agenda is the undermining of family and part of that is the promotion of homosexuality among the young – grooming in other words. It is plainly wrong, and contrary to the gospels, however the hedonists have managed to OBSCURE the fact that it is contrary to the gospels and therefore antagonistic to Christianity, by fooling some influential Anglicans into going along with their agenda.

    The important thing to note is that this muddying of the waters makes it SEEM as if the battle lines are not drawn between Christianity (and religion generally) and militant homosexuals. Once the schism in the Church of England is complete and the genuine disciples have left, it will be clear that the Law has been discriminating against religion in favour of homosexuals. The sooner the better that happens and the British people will have to decide what they want – a depraved godless godforsaken mess of a country with no faith which is a haven for vice, or the England we used to think of in terms of the New Jerusalem.

    There is light at the end of the tunnel though – Archbishop Rowan Williams, who had been holding things together is leaving them for greener pastures so that nature can take its course.

  • JabbaPapa

    Fr Thomas Poovathinkal makes some spiritually deep remarks concerning the nature of Christian love.

    It is desirable, in my opinion, to respond to those remarks insofar as they concern not just the failure of that love, but also the motivation for that failure.

    A few people have, in past weeks especially, been setting forth claims that orthodox Catholic teachings somehow constitute bigotry, hatred, homophobia, sexism, and all sorts of other malicious exaggerations.

    It is important to understand that any such statements of anti-religiously motivated anti-Catholic hatred are liable to elicit reactions of powerful anger against the proponents of such hate speech.

    Nevertheless, dear Fr Thomas, we are in the face of a concerted effort to destroy the Catholic Faith, and our only possible response must be to either face up to this unbelief, or to deny the Credo.

    It is uncatholic to allow the propagation of atheistic lies to be unopposed.

    They are lies ; and they lead to damnation.

  • JabbaPapa

    He has NOT in fact called “everyone who disagrees with him ‘deviants’” …

    He has instead pointed out a clear logical fallacy in the homosexualist position.

  • JabbaPapa

    The konkordat between the catholics and the Nazis signed by the future pope in 1933

    In fact, the Nazis were in a coalition Government with the Conservative party at the time.

    The Concordat was a Conservative initiative against the Nazis. And a dismal, utter, complete failure…

  • Anto

    Homosexuality is a sin and we must condemn sin, not sinners. Jesus can heal everybody because he came to cure sinners. We do not hate sinners but sin. 

  • Anto

    I forgot to say that we are all sinners but some of us do not want to be recognized so and rather than condemning sin they condemn sinners. I think gay activists are going too far, we are not allowed anymore to express our faith.  Secularism, in the name of freedom of speech and in the name of freedom of expression of that speech, has brought forth this insane thinking today…Liberals HAVE freedom of speech and freedom of expression, but, ANY oppossing views are NOT FREE to express themselves….
    This is evident

  • Parasum

    As for being “against nature”, it could be argued that same-sex attraction, far from being against nature, is within nature & the created order as a variation within it, & not as something against it. That it has not been approved in the Church is not very persuasive, given how the Church has changed its position on (say) religious liberty. If the unambiguous & very vigorous rejection of religious liberty by a line of Popes counts for nothing – to say nothing of the antagonism of the Church to the free exercise of Protestantism in Catholic countries, & the severe measures taken against it by the Popes of the 16th century – can trasmogrify, no-one seems to know how, into a document like “*Dignitatis Humanae*”; then it is not clear how the use of natural law argument against same-sex attraction can be relied on. For the rejection of religious liberty was, in part, based on natural law arguments. 

    So which is it ? Either  the natural law is a safe guide to the intentions of God, or it is not. It is the fault of the Magisterium, and of no else, if the arguments it uses are incoherent. If it does not know its own mind, how can it expect anyone else to do so ? The CC in the US did not collapse, nor did the US, when the natural law was violated by abolishing slavery – a thoroughly Biblical institution never abolished by the Church; the Bible never criticises it, but at most ameliorates it. One would hope that Christian morality has improved since Bible times.

    If it can improve despite the Biblical endorsement of slavery, it can improve on other issues also endorsed by the Bible. War is one. Religious liberty is another. The treatment of women is another. And the treatment of gay people is another. Equally, the Bible directly commands, as the Will of God, the extermination of entire urban populations. That the Book of Joshua contains such things, like some of the other OT books, makes the use of Leviticus as a moral guide for Christians extremely unsafe.

  • MDK66

    Everyone must study Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.  It is eye-opening.  It will give you a firm foundation to counter all arguments for the normalization of all forms of ungodly sexual practices, from contraception to homosexual marriage.  Find out why it’s all wrong.  Just search for it on Amazon or at any Catholic book store (online or brick-and-mortar).  Sexual anarchy is not what society needs.

  • Simon Ho

    Of course there is an effect. For one thing, gay “marriages” cheapen what authentic marriages are, and they confuse the younger generation. Furthermore, the European court has ruled that governments may not legalise gay “marriages” without requiring that religious institutions that perform marriages also offer them, so there is a dimension on violation of religious freedom as well.

    There are many aspects of human living that is part of culture, but these also point to deeper truths. For people to call gay unions “marriage” cheapens something that many human cultures and societies hold special for the purposes of procreation and being a stabilising force in society. Even the ancient societies that were tolerant of homosexual practices did not redefine these relationships as marriages.

  • JByrne24

    One of your more profound comments.

  • aearon43

    To admonish the sinner is acknowledged by the Church as a spiritual work of MERCY because it saves them from sin.

    And isn’t your critique “so much in conflict with the Catholic Church” exactly the same as what you are supposedly condemning? You are just as judgmental yourself, aren’t you?

  • aearon43

    You’re a Protestant, Rachel, if you don’t accept the authority of the Church. Not “teachers and guides,” authority. Looks like you wandered into the wrong neighborhood.

  • aearon43

    Who are these men and women who decide how ‘my faith’ ought to be defined?”

    The Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. There is no “my faith” it’s just The Faith. If you want “my faith,” you should probably be going to a Protestant church.

  • aearon43

    Just to clarify homosexuality isn’t a sin, sodomy is.

  • James

    God doesn’t hate anyone.

  • Mal

    Marriage is not a political issue – though politicians would like to think so. Marriage only occurs when two people from the two genders designed in human nature commit themselves to each other. In fact, this is why this particular union is called a marriage. There are many other loving relationships in society but there is no marriage of the genders in them. Over two thousand years ago the Chinese believed that only in uncivilised societies would this marriage not be considered important and nurtured. Others also believed the same. Only decadent, permissive societies would interefere with this natural human phenomenon.

  • Jrwalker

    How hypocrytical of Cardinal O’Brien and other Catholics to take the stance they are on same sex marriage.  What a pity you didn’t exert the same time and effort to make a stance against peodphile priests, which was much worse.  At least gays and lesbians are consenting adults, unlike the poor children who would have been forced to have sex with a priest.
    @Brien:disqus For the record I am hetrosexual.

  • Laurette

    I have no problem with gay people as I believe we must love all people as Jesus Christ loves us and not judge! 
    People must understand that God created Adam and Eve NOT Adam and Steve or Eve and Shiela. If the government wants to legalize same sex marriage then fine but don’t try force it upon all religion and I don’t think it is right for same sex marriage to be allowed to wed in any church. Muslims, Jews and any other religion will not allow it and that is OK none get attack only the Catholic!Getting married in a church is about two people uniting as one and getting Blessings from God, it is a religious ceremony. A church is a Holy place not a circus playground!P.s Since majority of this country does not even believe in God and so against the Catholic church then why would you want to get married in the Catholic church and why should Christians change their beliefs?! My faith is my faith, I believe what I have chosen to believe and that will never be same sex marriage!