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Welsh Government tells Catholic schools to give a ‘balanced perspective’ on same-sex marriage

By on Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Welsh Government has told Catholic schools that they must give a “balanced perspective” when discussing same-sex marriage with their pupils.

Leighton Andrews, the Welsh Education Minister, claims that the Catholic Education Service for England and Wales (CESEW) may have breached the 1996 Education Act for promoting a petition in schools against the legalisation of same-sex marriage.

The CESEW came under criticism last month when it distributed Archbishop Nichols of Westminster’s pastoral letter on marriage to almost 400 schools.

The CESEW declined to comment on the Education Minister’s letter and reiterated an earlier statement concerning its distribution of the archbishop’s letter, which 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.”

  • teigitur

    …..and here we go…..! I hope the Bishops have the guts to stand up to this bullying. I doubt it though.

  • Jae

    In other words the government is asking people to violate their moral conscience if not they will be send to prison. Thugs with badges.

  • Gavin Wheeler

     Well, only if they are receiving public funds. If you can’t accept giving a balanced view on certain topics, don’t accept the funds. Or get someone else in to give the other side of the story. Schools shouldn’t be scared of open debate.

    I thought the biggest issue would be the thinly veiled instruction that students had a ‘duty’ to sign the petition. That is clearly campaigning on a publicly funded platform.

  • Greg

    Two issues:

    So called egalitarians believe in equality only when promoiting their beliefs. They are outright dictatorial regarding others’ beliefs; the government should stay out of the school’s business.

    However, the schools are morally compromised by taking government money; U.S. Catholic schools do quite well without government money; it just requires good business skills to manage finances.

  • Recusant

    The usual bogus appeal to “public funds” as if they are something to which we have to say please and thank you, rather than something that exists because they have been appropriated from individuals. I have half my income taken from me, and so I feel no shame in taking it back, on my own terms. If I cannot be free to send my children to schools that teach what I believe, and have so much taken from me that I cannot send them elsewhere I consider that a tyranny.

  • Honeybadger

    Leighton Andrews can go do the macarena with pink underpants and a feather boa if he thinks Roman Catholic schools will go ‘moderate’ on teaching about that oxymoron called ‘same-sex marriage’!

    Has he approached any Welsh Jewish or Moslem schools? No.

    Quelle surprise!

  • Parasum

    “The CESEW came under criticism last month when it distributed Archbishop Nichols of Westminster’s pastoral letter on marriage to almost 400 schools.”

    That is why “[he] [may not have] approached any Welsh[,] Jewish[,] or Moslem schools…”  – because the CESEW is a Catholic organisation.

    If Jedi Knights, Raelians, or Scientologists were the ones making the fuss, he would be addressing them. It is a Catholic organisation that is a making a a fuss – so it is Catholics that he addresses himself to. Seems entirely reasonable to me.

    What is wrong with asking for a “balanced perspective” ? The state has no duty to allow  gay-bashing propaganda,whether Catholic or any other kind. The animosity of many Catholics to gay people – even regardless of  the gay marriage issue – is a very good reason for the “Welsh Government [*sic*]” to tell “Catholic schools that they must give a “balanced perspective” when discussing same-sex marriage with their pupils.” To expect Catholics to keep the law is entirely right. If the CESEW has not broken the law – then good for them.

  • buckingham88

     Good on you.Some here are in the Dark Ages when it comes to the efficient use of our money paid in tax and the prior rights of parents to be supported by any other organisation, including government.The more parental will is heard, the better for nation building instead of the “we know best attitude” of some in politics.

  • JabbaPapa

    Horrendous, shameful abuse of power !!!

  • TheBlueWarrior

    Explain to your readers how making a statement that institution of marriage should be remain as a unique relationship between one man and one woman bashes anybody.  Or perhaps you also believe that promoting the dignity of work bashes people on the dole.

    The real propaganda (in the usually understood use of the word these days) comes not from the people trying to uphold a position that has served western civilization for 2,000 years, but from activist groups with political influence trying to turn society on its head in hyper-speed fashion.

  • nytor

    Catholics pay taxes too. This statement from the Welsh government is bullying, and it should be ignored. It’s a religious view, not a political one, and the idea that a Catholic school should apprise children of arguments for gay “marriage” is monstrous. Archbishop Stack, why haven’t you yet made a statement denouncing the actions of your country’s government and instructing your schools to ignore the faux outrage of the Assembly’s totalitarian “liberals”?

  • Adam Thomson

    I have long believed that in teaching the 10 Commandments it is
    important for schools to give a balanced view. When teaching the fourth
    commandment, they should certainly get a delinquent who has never obeyed
    his parents and
    has got himself expelled from school to present an alternative point of
    view. For the fifth commandment they should invite a convicted
    murder, for the sixth, a known philanderer, for the seventh, a
    convicted bank-robber. If a school isn’t prepared to to that, there
    should be absolutely no question of its receiving public funds. 

  • Gavin Wheeler

     Well, as far as I know there is no real controversy over whether murder and robbery are morally OK, but if there were any directive to give a right to reply on these matters, are you really worried about the Catholic schools’ ability to give a winning argument as to why these things are objectively wrong?

    Are you so scared of open debate that you have to resort to distorting and mocking your opponent’s argument?

  • Honeybadger

    Well said, as always!
    With the exception of Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury - who DOES speak up (and courageously, too!) - if the English, Welsh and Scottish Bishops grew a pair each and stand up to these politicians in the same way as the US Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops are doing against Obama – we’d all be strengthened, galvanised and encouraged to do the same… instead of the way things are presently!

  • Gavin Wheeler

     Everyone pays taxes, and the majority view so far has been that money provided to fund schools should not be used to fund political campaigning – which telling students to sign a petition to influence legislation clearly is.

    The only ‘bullying’ I see in this story is the attempt of certain religions to force their religious view that gay marriage is not OK on those religions and individuals who do not share that view.

  • Gavin Wheeler

     Seriously, you feel tax is wrong but still want publicly funded schools (and roads and emergency services etc.?) AND feel that you have a moral right to commit fraud?

    In the UK, if you have anything like half your income taken from you you are making far too much for me to feel sorry for your financial situation. You CAN send your children to schools that teach what you believe, but if you accept public funding then you also accept certain conditions, such as either giving certain controversial topics an even handed treatment or leaving them for a forum that has not received such funding.

    If you pretend to accept the conditions to get the money, then ignore them, you are being dishonest.

  • Honeybadger

    The 10 Commandments! They never went away… though some would like them to be called the 10 Suggestions!

    Great idea, re the 10 Commandments ‘balanced view’ – but I would make it tough and uncompromising complete with graphic images of the consequences of breaking the commandments … with real people, not actors!

    Now, I can hear the wooly liberals whinge … it’s a pitiful sound.

  • buckingham88

     You miss the point Gavin.Parents are all members of the taxpaying Public.As for control of curricula this is the real issue.In Australia, still a democratic state, there are agreed core curricula.
    If parents don’t like the curricula that is otherwise taught at the school they are free to go to one that teaches a non core curricula to their liking.We call that educational freedom.
    We think this is an honest path.So if you believe in Thetans you can set up a school.Surprisingly no one does.Ditto for atheist schools.
     As far as the politics goes those who do not support parental rights use a divisive tactics and change the issue.Parents vote with their feet, and at elections.

  • JByrne24

    It is not simply the money.

    Children have the right to be given balanced views about matters which are not known facts. Even among the Catholic laity and clergy there are differing views about Gay marriage. 

    As Recusant well knows, tax receipts are spent according to the will of government, and not individuals. 
    He is free to consider this a “tyranny”, but if he wishes the situation changed in order to suit his opinion, he should stand for parliament.


  • JByrne24

    That 5th is about killing, not murdering. However it suits many to change it.

  • JByrne24


  • JByrne24

    “It bashes them” because it says “unique”.
    That is to say it is discriminatory, and denies a Human Right to Gay people.

  • baige867

  • Gavin Wheeler

     You are actually arguing against, not for, absolute democracy.

    In the UK the democratically established law is that :
    “The local education authority, governing body and head teacher shall take such steps as are reasonably practicable to secure that where political issues are brought to the attention of pupils while they are—
    (a) in attendance at a maintained school, or
    (b) taking part in extra-curricular activities which are provided or organised for registered pupils at the school by or on behalf of the school,

    they are offered a balanced presentation of opposing views.”

    (Education Act 1996)

    That is for Maintained schools – although I would argue that even if parents educates entirely at their own expense, the state still has a valid case for asserting a right (and a duty) to impose some minimal standards, as Ofsted does. Would you claim that parents have the right to deny their daughters literacy on the grounds that they personally don’t believe girls have any need to read and right?

    However there are undoubtedly cases where absolute democracy is wrong, and the majority do not have the right to impose their opinion on a minority.

    I don’t think education is one of those cases. The majority ARE effected if you try to raise your children without a good basic education. Publicly funded schools are even more clearly a valid case for state intervention.

    Marriage, on the other hand, IS one of those cases, in my opinion. As long as priests are not forced to carry out gay marriages against their will, what business is it of yours whether a gay couple are officially referred to as ‘married’ or ‘civilly partnered’, or whether they have prayers and hymns at the ceremony, or whether a priest who IS willing to marry them is allowed to do so legally?

  • theroadmaster

    Of course one is entitled to their own “private” opinion on a topic such as “same-sex” marriage, but there is only one official Catholic teaching which schools operating on behalf of the Church must reflect in their ethos.  if people want an establishment that favors the contrary, then they are free to attend them.

  • theroadmaster

    Tax-paying citizens as of right should be entitled to setup or favor schools which reflect their religious or non-religious view-points.  The ethos of those schools should not be interfered with by an overweening, bureaucratic state pushing it’s own statist ideologies on it.  This leads to a situation where totalitarianism takes over.

  • theroadmaster

    Catholic educational establishments by virtue, of their foundational faith, would not be neutral in regard to such issues as “gay” marriage. This is more than a “political” issue to them, as marriage as properly understood i.e a sacred union between one man and one woman which is open to procreation, is the statement of a deeply-felt religious tenet.  One must grasp this fact, before commenting on this matter.

  • Gavin Wheeler

     I didn’t realise I needed your permission to comment on this, or any other topic.

    However noone is requiring Catholic schools to be neutral on this topic, or even to hide their opinion on this topic, but if they accept public funds they must give a balanced presentation of opposing views on political issues and to refrain from “the promotion of partisan political views in the teaching of any subject in the school.”

    You may see ‘gay marriage’ as a religious issue, and for some reason believe that you have the right to force your religious viewpoint on others, but instructing students to sign a petition to influence legislation on gay marriage is clearly also a political action. So you have a choice between accepting public funds and eschewing political lobbying in the classroom or refusing the funds and only being subject to OFSTED.

  • JabbaPapa

    rubbish — you’re confusing Religion with politics

  • theroadmaster

    I think that you need to think deeply about the implications of what you said there.  How can one separate politics from religion in the public square when government policy has moral ramifications concerning the understanding of marriage.  Refrain from such illogical statements.

  • theroadmaster

    Catholic parents, school-teachers etc are tax-payers and by virtue of this are fully entitled to have the Catholic Faith presented in it’s fullness in relation to it’s ethos.  Besides the standard curriculum, Catholic schools are driven by a moral vision which informs their formation of their pupils.  
    When political issues cross over into the realm of religious concerns, as in the current topic concerning the Cameron administrations plans in relation to pro-”same-sex” religious legislation, then Catholic schools are within their rights to reaffirm the Church’s age old teaching on marriage.   

  • theroadmaster

    Well it is unique and it has been that way for thousands of years in various global societies, both religious and non-religious.  To support the age-old understanding of marriage, as consisting of the blessed  union between one man and one woman, which is open to procreation, discriminates against no-one.  There is no automatic, universal. constitutional human right anywhere in world which stipulates that marriage has to include couplings other than the traditional one.

  • JabbaPapa

    erm, responding to a comment suggesting you’re confusing religion and politics by saying the person posting that is doing the same does not support your views.

  • JabbaPapa

    You can’t seem to stop spouting rubbish JB24

  • theroadmaster

    If you read  my original comments, you would notice I put the word “political” in commas to emphasize that the topic of extending marriage to same-sex couples is much more than that.  Thus my statement stands that one cannot simplistically separate politics from religion.  You responded by stating that I was confusing politics with religion and my point was in relation to the fallacy of making sharp distinctions between them in the context that I was discussing.

  • Recusant

    I do apologise that my income doesn’t fall in to your approved bracket, but you have ignored the central point, maybe on purpose. Where for example do I say that tax is wrong? I don’t believe that. I believe that when I pay tax, the money does not stop belonging to me and start belonging to the state, which then decides what a balanced way to educate my children is. That would be a tyranny. 

    To temper the fact that the state takes my money by force, the state recognises that I am perfectly entitled to a Catholic education for my children, and therefore this pretendy Welsh parliament is completely beyond its authority in telling Catholic schools what to do. I do not need you to feel sorry for me in order to be entitled to a Catholic education for my children. I do not need the approval of the Welsh Assembly to get a Catholic education for my children. I have paid handsomely through my taxes for a Catholic education for my children, and I am quite entitled to expect them to teach my children that marriage is defined as the lifelong union between a man and a woman, of the kind my children experience at home.And by the way, you are completely out of order suggesting that I approve of committing fraud. You have no grounds for it at all and I think you should apologise.

  • Fr.Thomas Poovathinkal


  • Fr.Thomas Poovathinkal

    “However, the schools are morally compromised by taking government money;
    U.S. Catholic schools do quite well without government money; it just
    requires good business skills to manage finances.”


  • Fr.Thomas Poovathinkal


  • Gavin Wheeler

     You say that you disapprove of tax in the same place that I say that I don’t approve of your income bracket.

    I of course don’t say anything of the sort, I just point out that if you are earning enough to have half your income taken from you then I don’t feel very sorry for you – given that you only pay 50% tax on what you earn above £150k, after deductions, that seems pretty reasonable.

    So I was, as you presumably know perfectly well, trying to understand your point – hence the fact that I phrased that as a question. Whereas as you just put words into my mouth.

    When you say that the money does not stop belonging to you when you pay tax – well, yes it does. That’s pretty much central to the meaning of ‘paying’ money. From that point on it is Government money, and if you get some back with conditions attached and then deliberately breach those conditions because you feel entitled, you are committing fraud just as much as any benefit cheat.

    Again, NOONE is even trying to stop your kids having a Catholic education, but if their school accepts state funding, there are conditions attached, including even handed treatment of certain topics and no promotion of partisan political views in class.

    Why is this so scary? Are you convinced that catholic views will inevitably be defeated in any open debate?

  • Gavin Wheeler

     Nobody is stopping the Catholic schools from stating their opinion on any topic. But if that topic is political in nature, the law requires an ‘even handed’ treatment in state-funded schools.

    No-one has yet accepted the challenge of explaining why that would scare or offend catholics.

    And political lobbying by a maintained school, such as instructing kids to sign a petition about upcoming legislation, is not allowed, but is hardly central to being a Catholic school, is it?

  • CM

    And parents have a right to ensure that impressionable young children are taught the truth, not some politically correct falsehood that secularists insist on pushing like witches with a poisened apple.

  • Charles209

    Unfortunately, members of the Bilderberg group, council on Forum Relations, and World Economic Forum have convinced many leaders around the world of impending doom due to increasing population  growth and increasing life spans. Promoting homosexuality as well as discouraging traditional marriage has been one of their silly strategies to see if we can reduce the rate of population growth.

  • theroadmaster

    Catholic schools, if they are true to their foundational Faith, would never betray their calling, by promoting any ideas that would undermine the Judeo-Christian view of it.  Indeed, people are fully entitled to express a contrary view but Catholic education bodies and institutions cannot be neutral, regarding this.
    Perhaps it was naive of the promoters of the long-standing view of marriage, to organize a petition which involved young kids.  But their hearts were in the right place and Catholic schools should not hold back in proclaiming the fullness of Catholic teaching, regarding the uniqueness of marriage, 

  • Kukku

    “only if they are receiving public funds” – so is this bribery?? In other words, you either do as I say or I withdraw your monies!!!

  • whytheworldisending

    This goes back to the so-called European Court of
    Human Rights, whose recent decisions have reflected the fact that it has been
    hi-jacked by atheists promoting their permissive agenda under the guise of
    promoting equality. They effectively redefined “Family” to include
    anyone who wants access to other people’s children, so now there is a conflict
    between the right to family life, which includes the freedom to bring up your
    own children according to your own beliefs, and the right of homosexuals to
    have their “life-style choice” promoted in the classroom as if it
    were normal. Parents have a right under Article 8 of the Convention to have
    their children educated in accordance with their wishes, and that right has no
    meaning if the Government can impose on children in the classroom, an
    alien set of values which their parents have strong moral objections
    to. Bad law creates more problems than it solves and if the law on Equality
    leads to conflicts like this there must be something wrong with it. What is the
    Government going to do when Christian parents and other faith groups walk their
    children out of school en masse and educate them at home in protest? Are they
    going to prosecute half the nation? Certainly not – and don’t forget that the
    Convention guarantees a right to avail oneself of such educational facilities
    as exist, so constructive exclusion  -
    take it or leave it – as a way of saving money in the Education budget wouldn’t
    be an option either. What a mess these corrupt politicians are making of

  • whytheworldisending

    You said, “Even among the Catholic laity and clergy there are differing views about Gay marriage,” but that with respect, means nothing. There are so-called “laity and clergy” who have differing views on paedophilia – they are called fifth columnists. You cannot be a disciple of anyone without accepting and following their teachings, and it makes no sense to refer to someone who does not accept Church teachings on Homosexuality or anything else, as Catholic or for that matter Christian – whatever they call themselves. There is one Word, and one Church. If you do not accept the Word, how can you be part of God’s Church?

  • Isabel Wood

    Can you all help me understand why it would be such an awful idea to present a balanced view to children? Surely this would be beneficial to Catholic education? Look at it this way:
    - There are a few moral issues which general society views differently from the Catholic Church
    - Same sex marriage is one of these
    - Children are going to hear both points of view anyway. 
    - If the school refuses to acknowledge that the “other side” has arguments, it’s just going to make the school look bad and the children are going to call bullshit on their whole education. 

    Where is the harm in saying “This is what some people believe, and here are their reasons. This is what we believe and here are our reasons”?

  • Gavin Wheeler

     There are conditions attached to receiving public funding, yes. If you see that as ‘bribery’, so be it.

  • Charles Martel

    The Catholic view of homosexual ‘marriage’ is the balanced view. Thank you for your advice, Mr Andrews, now kindly sod off.