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Push for same-sex marriage is led by a minority, says bishop

By on Thursday, 25 October 2012

Bishop Kieran Conry © Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk

Bishop Kieran Conry © Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk

The push for gay marriage rights is being driven by politicians who are following their personal agendas rather than the actual demands or expectations of the gay community, Bishop Kieran Conroy of Arundel and Brighton has said.

“Very often” some social policies, such as requiring church-run adoption agencies to consider same-sex couples as potential adoptive parents or proposals to legalize same-sex marriage, “are politically motivated in terms of vote-catching and representation of politicians as standing up for human rights,” he said.

Such proposals are not necessarily coming from the gay community, he said during a briefing with journalists at the Vatican press office. Bishop Conry is one of hundreds of bishops attending the world Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization.

People advocating such policies seem to be “some other small group” that is not personally invested in the issue, but rather is motivated by defending human rights in very general, broadly sweeping way, the English bishop said.

Brighton “is regarded as the gay capital of the United Kingdom”, and the bishop said members of the gay community he has spoken to “respect the right of the churches to have their own rules” on issues.

The Equality Act 2006 prohibited discrimination against homosexuals in the provision of goods and services. It required all adoption agencies, including Church-run groups, to not discriminate against and to assess same-sex couples as potential adopters and foster caregivers.

Almost all of the 13 Catholic adoption agencies in Britain were forced to either sever ties with their dioceses or close down because of the laws.

One Catholic adoption agency, which covers three dioceses in northern England, fought the regulations through the courts. However, in 2010, the Charity Commission for England and Wales refused the agency permission to amend its constitution so it could turn away gay and unmarried couples.

Scotland, which has its own legislature, allowed its Catholic adoption agencies a loophole to carry out their work in accordance with church teaching, Ann Widdecombe, a former Conservative Party minister, told US Catholic News Service in 2010.

Bishop Conry said, however, that the agency his diocese helps run went along with the law because it did not want to deny children needed services and “we knew very well that [gay couples requesting to adopt from a Catholic charity] would not be an issue.”

They had seen that when other British dioceses were “virtually forced” to close down their adoption agencies by local authorities rather than be forced to comply with the law, it was the children who paid the price, he said.

“We wanted to make sure that the interests of the children in that case were served first” by keeping the agency open, operated and funded by the church. “We simply withdrew the name ‘Catholic’” from the agency’s title, he said.

As a result, each year “there are 30 children who are taken out of institutions and put into families,” he said.

Also, since the legislation has been enacted, the diocesan adoption agency “has not had a single request from a gay couple to adopt or foster a child.”

When asked what the agency would do if a same-sex couple did request to adopt or provide foster care, he said, that decision “is not in the hands of a few people” and is always based on what’s best for the child.

“We’re not going to have a public fight that we’re going to lose possibly and come out of it with everyone suffering,” he said. “We work on the principle: you only fight battles you can win.”

Currently, the bishops are fighting British government proposals to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples.

The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has said Government assurances that churches would not be compelled to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies were meaningless because the law could be amended at any time.

Civil partnerships introduced by the government in 2004 already conferred many of the rights of marriage on homosexual couples.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland, said in March that the drive to legalise gay marriage represented “an attempt to redefine marriage for the whole of society at the behest of a small minority of activists.”

  • Acleron

    No you didn’t. You used a label that specifically indicated that you were concerned with facts. 

    But in fact, your Gish gallop did not contain the facts to back your opinion.

  • Catherine

    And not just disabled children but seriously damaged and disaffected children…. So called “no hopers” local authorities could not place. @aea621904049b214856b9890685a9f03:disqus  shame on you.

  • JabbaPapa

    No you didn’t

    I quite obviously have a better understanding of my own reasoning than you do, mister smarty-atheist.

    If I thought that it were an indisputable fact that churches as such have been sued by gays, I would be defending that notion.

    Have you noticed yet the clear lack of my doing so ???

    You’re just kicking up a great big silly fuss over something out of your own imagination.

  • nytor

    Have you read “Hadrian VII”?

  • Acleron

    You do keep digging the hole deeper.

    This is what you said

    ‘some US churches have, de facto, been sued by homosexuals after refusals to host their “marriage” ceremonies.’

    You then produced a list of references to prove your point.

    None of those references backed up your opinion.

    If you want to indulge in homophobia, then do so. It is useful to have the record. But if you try to claim some credence for your position, try using facts.

  • scary goat

     LOL :-D

  • JabbaPapa

    You do keep digging the hole deeper.

    You’re the one in your stupid ideological hole.

    Meanwhile, I continue NOT to claim nor believe whatever rubbish that you wish to dump in my lap.

  • JabbaPapa

    Benedictus sis, carissime Dlflanagani, ambulat tecum Dominus.

  • Acleron

    You don’t believe your own words?

    Now that doesn’t surprise me at all. 

  • Neil Addison

     The Article says ”
    “Scotland, which has its own legislature, allowed its Catholic adoption
    agencies a loophole to carry out their work in accordance with church
    teaching, Ann Widdecombe, a former Conservative Party minister, told US
    Catholic News Service in 2010.”

    This is highly misleading.  The Scottish Parliament does not have jurisdiction in Equality matters. The “loophole” mentioned in the article is a part of the Equality Act 2010 and applies to England and Wales just as much as it applies in Scotland. The “Loophole” could have been used by the English Catholic Adoption Agencies in exactly the same way as it has been successfully used Scotland but they chose not to use it.  I have blogged on the subject at http://religionlaw.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/catholic-care-v-charity-commission.html

  • http://twitter.com/tsavogadfly Marcella Carmen C.

    I did not read a rant from Michael Harris.  He succinctly described my immediate thought as I read the remark by Bishop Conroy.  And I shook my head in despair.

  • JabbaPapa

    Your lack of comprehension is characteristic of past performance.

  • JabbaPapa

    “homophobia”

    your attacks against me are both clichéd and irrational.

  • Acleron

    Your responses, speak for themselves. (Well those that aren’t deleted, anyway. But don’t worry, the internet forgets nothing, even those are preserved for posterity)

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    CCC 2032:

    ‘The Church, the “pillar and bulwark of the truth,” “has received this solemn command of Christ from the apostles to announce the saving truth.” “To the Church belongs the right always and everywhere to announce moral principles, including those pertaining to the social order, and to make judgments on any human affairs to the extent that they are required by the fundamental rights of the human person or the salvation of souls.”‘

    Guiding all humanity on the content of the natural law is part of the duty of the Church. It is very much its business.

  • 2_Armpits_4_Sister_Sarah

    Every time a camera is thrust in front of him, he seems lo lose it.

  • TheFaithfulofAandB

    A group of the “faithful of A&B” received a ruling from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2010, concerning the hypocritical stance of Bishop Conry, and thus the Diocese, in its continuing support of the Cabrini Society.  If the Society were ever to place a child with a homosexual couple, it would be violating Catholic teaching, and MUST NOT be supported by the Bishop.  The Bishop is skating on very thin ice here

    Is it any wonder that with such lack of witness to Catholic teaching, we are now facing the civil marriage legislative proposals?

  • whytheworldisending

    No. Your method of substituting the word “Catholicism” in place of “Homosexuality” in order to suggest that because some people would not like to see Catholicism referred to as an evil, the proposition, that Homosexuality is an evil, must be unsound, is flawed. It is flawed because it depends on the false proposition that if someone doesn’t like a statement then the statement must be untrue. Smoking is an evil but there are plenty of smokers who would resent you saying that. Homosexuality has killed more people than smoking. Although homosexuals are just as much commercial propaganda victims as cigarette smokers, as a society, we’ve got over cigarette smoking and no longer think its cool. One day we’ll realise that promiscuity isn’t cool either. Meanwhile Catholicism opposes the culture of death based on love of money. Good opposes evil.

  • Acleron

    ‘Homosexuality has killed more people than smoking.’

    You are surely joking. 

    Presumably your logic is ‘I think homosexuality is evil, therefore I can repeat any made up nonsense I like’.

  • Gavin Wheeler

     So, to be explicit, no this has not happened – only cases of catholic businesses being sued (which I had found).

    I can see why you would find these distressing, just as I would hope you would see why gays would be distressed by the actions that led to these lawsuits, but surely you can also see that these are a totally different kettle of fish from a church, or more personally a priest, being forced to marry gay couples against their will and conscience?

    Unless anyone knows of an example of a Church (Catholic or otherwise) being legally forced to marry a gay couple?

  • Xtopep

     he won’t wear the zucchetto… ?
    Well stone him as Leviticus demands

  • JabbaPapa

    Well thanks for the more sensible reply than the other one — the Lutheran Church in Denmark is forced by Law to do so, though I’m unaware of any related court cases, as this change in Denmark’s Laws on the matter are very recent.

  • Gavin Wheeler

     Well, the Lutheran Church in Denmark is the State Church, and the head of the Church is the Queen who signed this into law, so that is very much like the Pope ‘forcing’ a policy on Roman Catholics. It parallels the Church of England’s (legally enforceable) policy that anyone has the right to be married by their local CoE parish. This is ‘forced’ on the Church by the Church itself, not by gay militants or other external forces.

    As far as I know only one Bishop in the Danish Church even objected (I would be very interested in how this has worked out for her) and again no individual Priest, even in the State Church, is forced to marry gay couples. The other Bishops were supportive.

  • DevilWorshipFTW

    this is so utterly stupid, it’s like saying we should have slave people to death because “not all slaves want to be free”. What an idiot.

  • DevilWorshipFTW

    no more a fantasy than theworldisending’s. Although probably less so as many people would like to see jimmy’s vision and not so much world’s.

  • RuariJM

    Canada, Gavin.
    The government there is so shaven that it does not legislate directly, it simply allows local courts to enforce ‘equality legislation’ to force churches to conduct marriage ‘ceremonies’ or close down.

    Something I suspect you welcome; why, I dunno…