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Archbishops: It is not too late to stop this shambolic Bill

By and on Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Left, Archbishop Smith; centre, Archbishop Nichols (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Left, Archbishop Smith; centre, Archbishop Nichols (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The Church in England and Wales has criticised Government plans to push ahead with same-sex marriage next year, after the Culture Secretary announced a timetable for the historic change.

In a statement released on Tuesday Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster and Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark said: “The Government has chosen to ignore the views of over 600,000 people who signed a petition calling for the current definition of marriage to stay, and we are told legislation to change the definition of marriage will now come to Parliament.”

The bishops were responding after Culture Secretary Maria Miller announced Government proposals for the Bill, which allows same-sex civil and religious marriages for religious groups that choose to conduct them, which is expected to be introduced in January, with the first gay weddings likely in early 2014. The Methodist Church of Great Britain, as well as Quakers and Unitarians, are expected to conduct gay weddings, although the Church of England would be banned from holding such weddings, with Catholic churches, synagogues and mosques having “watertight” protections, according to Miss Miller.

The archbishops said: “We strongly oppose such a Bill. Furthermore, the process by which this has happened can only be described as shambolic. There was no electoral mandate in any manifesto; no mention in the Queen’s speech; no serious or thorough consultation through a Green or White Paper, and a constant shifting of policy before even the Government response to the consultation was published today.

“We urge everyone who cares about upholding the meaning of marriage in civil law to make their views known to their MPs clearly, calmly and forcefully, and without impugning the motives of others. It is not too late to stop this Bill.”

Speaking ahead of the publication of the proposals, Prime Minister David Cameron said churches would not be coerced into holding weddings for homosexuals.

He said: “I’m in favour of gay marriage because I’m a massive supporter of marriage and I don’t want gay people to be excluded from a great institution.

“But let me be absolutely, 100 per cent clear – if there is any church or any synagogue or any mosque that doesn’t want to have a gay marriage, it will not – it absolutely must not – be forced to hold it. That is absolutely clear in the legislation,” Mr Cameron added.

The Government has been saying it would push for same-sex marriage in civil offices and hotels, but including churches widens the scope of the legislation. The proposals to re-define marriage have been opposed by the Catholic and Anglican churches and by Jewish, Sikh and Muslim leaders.

The Catholic Church has consistently argued that the Government is not able to offer guarantees of religious freedom because such legislation is susceptible to amendments in Parliament and to challenges under equality laws in the European Court of Human Rights.

A spokesman for the bishops’ conference said: “They’re positioning it as an issue of religious freedom, but the secondary issue is what is taught in school. What’s taught in the classroom is not protected. In sex education and citizen classes will it become compulsory for Catholic teachers to say there is equivalence between same-sex marriage? The goalposts shift all the time. The guarantees we’ll take with a pinch of salt.”

The Coalition for Marriage called the Government proposals a “sham”. Campaign director Colin Hart said: “The decision to ignore a petition of half a million people is disgraceful and undemocratic and goes against assurances from civil servants that all submissions would be treated equally and fairly.”

Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth spoke of the “catastrophic consequences”, saying that the Prime Minister was “luring the people of England away from their common Christian values and Christian patrimony, and forcing upon us a brave new world, artificially engineered”.

Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury called it “a tragic moment for British society with serious implications for religious freedom”. Bishop Joseph Devine of Motherwell, in a letter to Mr Cameron, wrote: “You vacillate, ambivalent about the role you wish to perform – the disciple of David or Nero. With such a contradiction between your statements and actions, on what basis can you expect anyone – Christians in particular – to trust or respect you?”

Catholic lawyer Neil Addison, director of the Thomas More Legal Centre, said the legal changes would have a significant impact on the Church of England.

“A marriage of the Church of England is automatically a lawful marriage. In all other religious services they register separately. If they’re allowing same-sex marriage, I don’t know how legally an organisation registered to do marriage can refuse to do so.”

He said it is likely the Catholic Church would move towards the system it has on the continent, where the civil marriage is performed separately before the church blessing.

“The Catholic Church could remove itself from marriages. That is one of the reasons why there hasn’t been a problem. The real problem will be the Church of England. Any safeguards will not be relied upon in the long term.”

The Labour Party has announced it will hold a free vote on the issue. Eight Labour MPs have confirmed they will oppose the change, among them Catholics Joe Benton, Jim Dobbin, Paul Murphy and Stephen Pound.

  • paulpriest

    Sorry but Neil Addison and their Graces [incidentally - ABOUT BLOODY TIME!!!] seem to be missing something quite crucial to all this and the earth-shattering Canonical repercussions.

    Civil marriages – with all their intrinsic contracts-of-union and physical consummation confirming that union – are being eradicated – abolished!

    No longer will baptised non-Catholics be going through a form of marriage ceremony which can be recognised canonically as valid – the promises and consummating actuation of that promise – are GONE!!!

    And there can no longer be the provision of dispensations to Catholics to marry elsewhere or go through a Non-Catholic service – because any other form of marriage contract won’t be a marriage contract!

    The New Civil Marriage – won’t be marriage in any way shape or form – it’s a universalised civil partnership where the inherent unifying aspect of marriage is not present.

    The Church will not be able to recognise these contracts in any way as a marriage at all – and therefore will be utterly unable to continue to have them as part of their ceremony – for they will have to introduce the commitment and obligations contract themselves – maintainng that which was present in previous civil marriage but is now absent.

    Where previously it had been discussed as to whether the Church had to remove itself from the Civil Marriage procedure and adopt what it performs in other countries [two separate ceremonies]

    That option is now no longer debatable – it has become mandatory as the Government is about to abolish marriage!

    The canonical ramifications are immense – valid marriage will become dependant upoin the actual marriage vows rather than an arbitrary civil contract.

    Don’t our Church hierarchy and ‘experts’ understand that the roof is about to cave in and they are going to have to rebuild what has been destroyed?

  • AnthonyPatrick

     Paul, what is to stop believing Catholics having a full, sacramental nuptial Mass, and following this up with a visit to the local registrar for their civil rights?

  • paulpriest

     Nothing – but what about the recognition of the validity of other marriages among non-Catholic baptised?

    Previously by going through a civil marriage they would be validly married.
    The moment the law is passed they won’t be!
    And as for other Christian denominations the very form of their ceremonies will become determinant of validity – whether or not they expressly supplement with that which forms a valid matrimonial contract which the civil aspect no longer provides…

    ….and there is one big elephant in the room which hasn’t been clarified yet:

    WILL THE VATICAN PERMIT CATHOLICS TO ENTER INTO THE “NEW CIVIL MARRIAGE” ? Even after they have gone through a full Nuptial mass?


    ..bearing in mind that it will be a Civil Partnership which scandalises the very nature of marriage in exactly the same way homosexual civil partnerships were condemned on those grounds in 2003 [CDF] & 2004 [Our own Bishops' Conference] – not merely civically-recognised same-sex unions.

    I don’t see why this is not being discussed or even considered.
    Because technically this new civil marriage will be identical to civil partnerships which are already condemned [the heterosexual/homosexual aspects of it do not remove the big arguments against civil partnerships by their very nature]

    Is it formal or proximate material co-operation with an intrinsic evil?

    We seriously need the Vatican to answer this question!!!!

  • AnthonyPatrick

    Yes, it is the State re-definition of ‘marriage’ which is the problem, leaving believing Catholics and other orthodox Christians potentially (or, as you reasonably fear, inevitably) caught between a rock and a hard place: damned if they do, ‘damned’ by the State if they don’t.

    In that case, what would there be left to do but opt out of any state-sanctioned arrangement?  This, presumably, would then entail the consequent loss of civil entitlements historically accorded to married Catholics via State registration.

    However, such potential erosion of their civil rights would not only affect true Christians: orthodox Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and other traditionalists would face the same dilemma, bringing them into direct conflict with the ruling minority elite.

    A committed broad alliance of such groups would surely constitute a majority: one that even the self-interested liberal fascists that seemingly hold sway among the Westminster/liberal media/celebrity axis would be unwise to ignore.

  • GulliverUK

    Nothing is changing for heterosexual couples, not the names used on the forms, not where and how you can get married, there will be zero change for heterosexual catholics.   This is all just another sign of the hysterical nature of a few catholics who haven’t the grace god gave then.  Neil Addison doesn’t know didly squat, you have the entire legal arm of the United Kingdom government making sure that the protections are there.  If you don’t want to accept them, that’s up to you, but your non-belief in their assurances is like an atheists non-believe in an imaginary friend.

    Have some Camomile tea and calm down dear.

  • paulpriest

     You do realise you’re talking out your bahookey?!

    Marriage is being abolished, civil partnerships are being universalised and renamed ‘marriage’ and the legally unifying commitment previously inherent within any civil legal marriage vow – is being eliminated.

    Marriages will cease to exist!

    Worrying about whether Churches will be ordered to perform them is frankly now a side-issue; given that what the Church recognises as marriage won’t exist – and the big question is can Catholics have anything to do with this new ‘Marriage’ which in the eyes of the Church demeans and scandalises the very nature of marriage?

    Will Catholics be forced to simply marry in Church but be considered unmarried in the eyes of the State because they cannot sign up to a civil partnership?

    That’s the main issue – and frankly I haven’t heard a word from anyone in our hierarchy about it….

    I repeat – will contracting this civil partnership amount to formal or proximate material co-operation in an intrinsically unjust law?

    From what Evangelium Vitae 73:2  says – and the later CDF comentary on such legislative co-operation – it seems that Catholics very well may be forbidden from getting a Civil Marriage in this country….

  • J-m Arden

    French marriages are civil marriages first and then those that want to can go and get married sacramentally in the local Catholic Church.
    The State wouldn’t consider the couple married if they simply married sacramentally.
    Clearly, if Catholics marry outside the Church they are not married.
    The case you raise here and elsewhere is whether non-Catholics are validly married in the eyes of the Church by their civil marriage.I don’t know the content of the contractual promises made in the town hall in front of the Mayor – but I suspect they’ll be more like a civil partnership than a valid matrimonial contract.I’ll look into it.

  • whytheworldisending

    “Nothing is changing for heterosexual couples?” You need to clean your crystal ball. That’s like Hitler saying nothing is changing for Britain as he invades Poland. Marriage and Family life belongs to heterosexuals. It is their territory, and they will repel any attempt to invade it.

  • JabbaPapa

    Except that there is (still) no such thing as “gay marriage” in French Law.

    The State wouldn’t consider the couple married if they simply married sacramentally.

    This would be illegal in France…

  • Sweetjae

    Sir, are you even a catholic? If not, I do understand where you’re coming from but if yes, then why bother being a catholic, since you refuse the Teachings of the Faith and just listen to yours anyways?

  • GulliverUK

    That’s strange whytheworldisending, I thought you were going to say Marriage and Family life belongs to Catholics — but both are arrogant, and not what the UK law majority of the public believe.  What the majority believe is more important to me.

    What business is it of yours what gay couples do, whether they raise children or not?  It’s none of your business.  Paul said in Corinthians “what business is it of mind?” when talking about Christians poking their noses in to the business of those outside the church.  And Jesus gave you an ultimate command, love thy neighbour, but you seem to have spent your life not doing so.  How could you possibly imagine you will ever get in to heaven, or perhaps you’re one of the many Christians who doesn’t even believe in heaven?   There is nothing closer to Nazism than Catholicism, ironically Hitler was a Catholic, he spoke about it publically, many time, about how his faith directed his plans —- so your “Hitler” quote is very ill-advised.

  • GulliverUK

    You’re being hysterical, nothing you say is true.  I thought lying was a sin – clearly not much of a Christian are you.  Catholics have “invented” their style of marriage, which is fine, so the state law is changing to include people who are gay, but nothing else is changing.  You will get married as usual …. what exactly is it you are objecting to?  What do you claim is changing?  I think you need a reality check because you seem to be seeing shadows where there are none.

  • Keep taking the pills

    So according to you:

    we must love our neighbour who is none of our business; and

    we must follow Jesus’ command because Hitler was a Catholic.

  • Tridentinus

     I think I understand what you are saying.

    The registration of marriage is carried out by the ‘priest’ in the C of
    E. In other churches the presence of a civil registrar is required.

    Because the State’s definition of marriage has changed so that it now includes ‘marriage’ between members of the same sex. To contract a civil marriage implies that the contractors accept the State’s redefinition and therefore assent to the belief that members of the same sex may ‘marry’ and that this acceptance may be sinful.

    Is this a correct interpretation?

  • J-m Arden

    Yes – illegal, you’re right. And, more to the point, they have to marry in the Town Hall FIRST and only then can they marry in Church. 
    However, the fact that “gay marriage” is not yet in French Law is a bit of a red herring, since Paul Priest’s argument is that marriage per se is being re-defined to mean something else in order to accommodate homosexuals. Clearly, gay marriage can never be recognised by the Church – the issue is what happens to marriage between non-Catholics if they “marry” with this new marriage that’s on the books. The Church has always recognised the validity of their marriages up until now – and holds them to it – because there is, so to speak, enough natural law in those civil marriages to make them binding before God (whether they believe in Him or not). 
    The re-defined marriage, according to Paul Priest, will have that natural law content excised. It will retain the name and the label “marriage” but will no longer have the substantial reality of what marriage has always been understood to be.
    I suspect that Paul Priest is right in this – hence my question about whether the French civil marriage has enough natural law in it to make it a real marriage (for non-Catholics) in the eyes of the Church or whether it resembles the new “marriage” that Paul Priest is worrying about.
    If it does resemble the new “marriage” well then we (only) need look to the French Bishops’ Conference to see how they’ve dealt with the canonical issues arising from that. If, however, it resembles civil marriages in the UK – well, then, the French Church will have the same problems as the Church in the UK – and in roughly the same timetable: the Socialists are really pushing for gay marriage in France, presumably with the redefinition of marriage to accommodate that. 
    Oddly enough, the US Supreme Court is also considering the constitutionality of gay marriage also at this time. It will be interesting to see how the American Bishops’ Conference weighs in on this question.
    A global effort, then to legalise gay marriage – or, if Paul Priest is to be believed, to change the nature of marriage for EVERYONE – and therefore make the Church’s position effectively sectarian – with all the attendant consequences.
    Anyone would think it was a conspiracy.
    Oh, hang on…

  • paulpriest

    Now you’re being wilfully obtuse.

    Marriage with consummation and an obligatory unifying character [and legally recognisable adultery] is being abolished.

    Rather than homosexuals being allowed to marry; instead heterosexuals will only be permitted to enter into an equivalent civil partnership – this universalised CP will be renamed ‘marriage’ but it will have nothing to do with the previously recognised Civil marriage.

    You’re not seeing shadows because you’ve either closed your eyes or turned the lights out.

    Lying is a sin – but I’m not lying to you – you’re either sincerely misinformed or you’re being wilfully misrepresentative of the reality of the situation.

    Either way it’s not my problem.

  • paulpriest

     Yes but not merely that – heterosexuals will be ‘partnered’ under a contract which has no obligatory unifying aspect – therefore it scandalises the very nature of marriage itself – it’s something which is supposed to be an exclusive mutual bond that is both consummated physically and bound by specific obligations due to that union – once that’s eradicated it becomes an affront to marriage itself

  • paulpriest

     That’s downright untrue about Hitler – do you need the litany of citations where he considers the Catholic Church his worst [most contemptible and formidable] enemy?
    Michael Coren wrote an excellent chapter about it in his latest book…

  • Paul

    When I was about six years old my all consuming desire was to be allowed to wear long pants and so be recognized as a big boy.  So desperate was my desire for this that I sometimes went out wearing the bottom half of my pyjamas, this being the nearest I could get to realizing my dream.  The sight of me so clad, however, together with the reasons, drew so much derision that the cure turned out to be a lot more mortifying than the disease.
      I am reminded of this when I hear demands for homosexual activity to be equated with marriage.  If our leaders succeed in enacting the legal changes they want, history will judge them as far greater fools than any six year old appearing on the street in the pants of his pyjamas.

  • Kevin

    “It is not too late to stop this shambolic Bill”

    And what do the Archbishops plan to do when it is passed (either under this Government or the next Labour one)?

    This is where we should be directing our energies: organising Catholic life independently of the state.

    We should not keep giving our enemies a goal – the passage of yet another Bill – that will mark the latest point of Catholic surrender.

  • AnthonyPatrick

    How were the common people of this island ‘persuaded’ to give up the public profession of their Catholic faith in the sixteenth century?

    Because of their indigenous Protestant zeal for reform?

    Yes, according to the self-interested calculations of land-grabbing beneficiaries of Elizabeth I’s spy-state elite, followed by four centuries of propagandist ‘whig’ versions of history, and the subsequent generations taught to think that way in Britain’s schools and universities.

    Or were they were ‘encouraged’ to fall away from the practice of their faith through a combination of corporal, capital and financial penalties.

    For the lay people, a couple of generations of crippling financial disincentives did the trick, ‘enabling’ them to acquiesce in the political spin that the re-defined State Church was the real thing, in which their beliefs were safe… (Of course, priests and their active protectors and assistants among the nobilty and common people were dealt with far more gruesomely… Nowadays we have the Media…)

    So, what do you think?

    A couple of generations’ acquiescence in the State re-definition of ‘marriage’ – or opt out and be disentitled by profession of faith from legal and financial benefits which are the civil rights of conforming citizens.

    I wouldn’t grace it with accusations of conspiracy… but it is does have all the hallmarks of the long-term default projects of the minions of mammon.

  • Alba

    The Church surely would not regard many (most?) civil marriages contracted these days as valid even before any change in the law, because the intentions of the couple are so frequently out of step with what the Church would regard as essential. For instance, the couple might take the view that they’ll “give it a try and see if it works out; after all, if it doesn’t divorce is always a possibility”. Whatever the couple actually said in the ceremony, that would be enough to invalidate the marriage in the Church’s view, if not the state’s.

  • GulliverUK

    Perhaps you should be asking yourself why very few people have chosen the Catholic faith in the UK verse Anglicanism.   Then, ponder on why numbers of congregants in most religions here has been dropping for at least 50 years, why 70% of people married in church when my mother got married, and over 70% of people (all heterosexuals btw) don’t want religion as part of their “special day”.   Religion’s time has come and gone, it’s very much a minority support, the number of real Christians is small, maybe 10%, maybe 20%.  Most of the 50% who say they’re Christian don’t know one end of the Bible from another, let alone all the silly rituals that each denomination have added in their various made-up rituals and rules.

    But most of all, and Ekklisia said it best yesterday, religions are putting people off because they are too prious, too right-wing, too hostile and hateful towards various groups.  Nobody likes a bully, and nothing speaks bully more than Catholicism.  Sorry to have to break that to you, but you all come across as bullies — as least most of the Anglicans come across as cuddly cadigan wearing befuddled old men (women seem to be younger).

    You cannot ever preech the word of Jesus whilst you come across as bullies and intolerant and hateful and …. just plain weird.  I really don’t know what’s happened to Catholicism over the last 50 years, it’s got real nasty and real authoritarian, and that’s a shame.   As shambolic as religion might be in its authenticity to the actual events and teachings of that time — we don’t know how true the Bible actually is, because we only have copies of copies of copies of copies of the manuscripts, and there are clear alterations which can be seen, it can provide a helping hand to those who need it, support for people in their daily lives, and help bring local communities together – but what we have now is a highly politicised denomination, just like the Anglicans, which seems to have completely forgotten the actual root of Christianity —- and I hate to tell you this, the emperor has no clothes — the public can see !!!   However you try to conceal you hatefulness towards others — they see right through you, for what you are, for what you have become.   Enough said.  You look in the mirror and tell yourself this isn’t true.

  • GulliverUK

    I’m an expert in the changes compared to you - you are not.  You get your info from the Daily Mail or some other inaccurate place, I get mine direct from the speeches made in parliament, and copies of the proposals and explanations given by ministers, and by commentators who are experts in law, or in these matters.

    If you don’t like something, don’t do it.  If you don’t want to share the same bus as people who are gay, then ask each person who gets on what their sexual orientation is, and what they do in bed, and if they are celibate or not.  If anyone says they are gay and have sex, you get off that bus.  Nobody gives a damn except you.  If you don’t like equal marriage rights, then you don’t get married, simples.

    Never met such a spoilt brat as you before, you need to take a good look at yourself in the mirror, and I’m not joking, real mirror, you in front of it, talk to yourself about why you are so nasty and so horrible to other people.  And you have the audacity to call yourself a Catholic, supposed following of Jesus, even Paul would kick your butt for the way you’re behaving.

    The fact is you don’t give a stuff about ‘legal’ marriage, only the ceremony in church, which won’t change for you.  And other people don’t give a stuff about the religious ceremony, because it has no legal bearing or basis in law, they only care about the Civil part, which won’t be changing for any heterosexuals, it’ll just allow couples who are gay to show their love and commitment publically in front of their friends and family, and to use the same universally recognised term as everyone else — which is fairness.   

    Please remember that you don’t speak for Catholics — you absolutely don’t.  60% of Catholics in the US, as an example, fully support equal marriage rights,  just like a majority support abortion, 56% don’t even thing being gay is a sin.

  • AnthonyPatrick

    I appreciate the openness of the reply, GulliverUK, and the fact that you say you are not aiming most of what you say at me personally.  (As we do not know one another, I’m not sure you are qualified to apply any of it to me personally, but in the spirit of goodwill, it’s probably best to let that pass.) 

    if what you express above are sincerely held understandings, proven by your own lived and long-tested experience, I can only say it saddens me that your thinking could be representative of so much socially acceptable antipathy towards Catholics, Christianity in general and Catholic Christianity in particular.

    Speaking for myself, I do not recognize the general picture you paint of practising Catholics at any time in the last fifty years, be they of the pre- or post- Vatican II generations.  I, too, am a citizen of the UK, and in every place that I have lived the overwhelming majority of devout Catholics have in my experience (and regardless of their level of adherence to devotional pieties) been amongst the most down-to-earth, charitable and socially responsible people in the community.

    Contrary to the stereotypes perennially beloved of neo-secular social commentators,  ‘entertainers’, populist historians/scientists and news manufacturers, it is not the sign of a healthy society to indulge itself in selective bear-baiting of those minorities deemed socially acceptable to disparage, whilst displaying outward shows of poltical correctness towards those fashionably or expediently in favour.

    I feel no hatred towards the secular world into which I was born by the grace of God.  And certainly none towards those of different beliefs in the society in which I live.  At fifty-two years of age I am no stranger to the trials and tribulations of living a ‘real’ life, either, being a father who has raised two children as a widower for most of their lives. 

    Sadly, on the other hand, casual cruelty and hatred is something they and I have indeed witnessed in the world around us, usually in widely disseminated forms of mediated news, broadcasting, literature and cinema.  You suggest looking in the mirror to see one’s true image.  Personally, I do not think that mirrors are a defence against the vanity that is pride, if for no other reason than what one sees depends upon the choice of mirror and the pre-disposition of the viewer.

  • Nesbyth

    I think you paint a false picture of practising Catholics. All the parishes I have attended in my 66 years have been full of community spirit, reaching out to the wider community in good works and charitable fund raising. There is always a huge mix of ages, nationalities and of income levels which enhance the community spirit.

    I have never seen “hatefulness towards others” as you put it.

    But it is true that many have left the Church, both Catholic and Cof E. Our Lord predicted that there would be “a great falling away” and asked if He would “find faith on earth” when He returned. I believe we may be living in the end times.

  • Rkm624

    I doubt that gay couples would ask to married in a RC church that is not welcoming, How ironic that the archbishops are speaking out once again for all religions. They have lost their credibility with most RC.

  • Sweetjae

    1.) Your first paragraph is, prophesied that preceding before the Second Coming of Our Lord (End of Time) that large number of people will lost their faith in God. Due mainly to the effects of atheistic Communism to materialism, lust for money, sex and prestige. So we know it already, no surprise.

    2.) Your second paragraph is, just a plain misconception based on fabrications, malicious lies and hatred towards people of faith. One sentence demolishes your assertion, THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS THE LARGEST CHARITABLE INSTITUTION IN THE WORLD, SECOND TO NONE! Google it! It has done more than you could ever imagine (fed and brainwashed by hollywood media hooligans). Largest provider of Health Care facilities, Hospitals, Community Centers, School, Invented University system when all Europe was under the Barbarians, Orphanages, Rehabilitation houses, Mission Care and Soup Kitchens that serve the poorest of the poor that you and people like you dont even want to see nor smell.

    3.) Your third paragraph is, just plain diatribe well include complains (without doing anything for the good of mankind). You have no idea of what you are talking about the Holy Bible. For a start, read some ancient christianity, the ORIGINAL WRITINGS (they are existing) of Early Christian Fathers, these people have seen and heard the original 12 Apostles themselves so at least you have some dress before you put your rant in here.

  • Sweetjae

    Did you also read that Jesus warned about ETERNAL FIRE for those who continue deliberately to sin? Why do think all pleasure without justice?

    Nazism versus catholicism? Genocide versus Saving life? Abortion versus Life?

    Maybe the similarity is more of Nazism and Secularism that you so admired. Adolf Hitler just happened to be baptized in his infancy but that didn’t mean he was a TRUE Catholic, it takes more than that. Same with Dawkins and Carl Sagan, famous atheists baptized when they were infants, are they considered as christians too? Check your logic first.

  • Tridentinus

    Thank you. However, there are many ways whereby Catholics ‘buy into’ the ethos of the supremacy of the Law of the Land over religious belief and conscience. Catholics are compelled to contribute financially towards abortions, the nation-wide, free distribution of contraceptives, trans-gender surgery and other practices which are explicitly proscribed by the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, there is no way, other than to become a martyr to avoid being complicit in all this. Most Catholics, alas, do not choose martyrdom as their forefathers did under the penal laws.

  • John McCarthy

    The Roman Catholic Hierarchy are right to hold the line. The Government, like all politicians are just trying to be popular. They have no moral backbone.

  • Michael Turner

    The position this proposal places our great churches in must be ranked as the greatest catch 22
    situation of modern times. What does the government expect the church to do. ?  Because the very
    basis of church teaching surrounds the unity of one man and one women in marriage,  for the purpose of procreation and survival of the species. It cannot move, it is impossible for the church to take the governments line, its only option is that of opposition and for this it is vilified and criticised. The government must know this, does it indicate long term thinking to deny the church its place in society ?
    I  see this action by the state as an iniquitous and wholly repugnant attack on the very heart of the church, one which must be halted by any means, inside the law.

    Michael Turner

  • Michael Turner

    The government have said they will not compel any church or religious organisation to perform same sex marriage. I have to say, ( if such damaging legislation is passed )  they will not compel me to accept gay marriage as legitimate either,  and I suspect that will be the case with the overwhelming majority. If the worst comes to the worst, though I suspect it will not. and this country is subjected to the tyranny of mis-guided politics and poor legislation, then we will fight them. We will fight them on the net. We will fight them in the media at large. We will fight them’ On the air ‘ and in the church. We will fight them in the courts, we will fight them on principle and common sense. We will fight them by any means until sanity prevails. We will never surrender.

    Michael Turner

  • Tridentinus

    Were the Catholic Church to cease to participate with the State, i.e. marry couples without the presence of a Registrar then the couples married in the Church would not be regarded as married according to the Law of the Land and therefore not entitled to the benefits which the State confers upon those who marry according to the civil law.
    It is said that the problem could easily be solved by having two weddings, one civil and one in church. However, when the law changes and marriage is redefined as between two people regardless of their sex, this solution becomes complicated.
    Would undergoing a civil ceremony be regarded as acquiescence in the State’s new definition of marriage and therefore gravely sinful?
    Let us bear in mind that the only reason for this civil ceremony  will be to avail the Catholic couple of the same civil rights those as enjoyed by an homosexual couple insofar as their civil entitlements are concerned. If so then, Catholics will be required to disavow their beliefs,

  • Cjm1957

    What is to stop Catholics having a full sacramental nuptial Mass and ignoring the civil side altogether? This nearly happened to us 26 years ago when the registrar initially refused to come out on Easter Monday. We were prepared to go ahead without a civil registrar but they relented inthe end!

  • whytheworldisending

    Hitler was an Atheist. It is not a matter of what one calls oneself. If it were then Cameron would be a conservative, and Blair would be a socialist. The prevention of crime is everybody’s business – indeed anybody can prosecute where a crime has been committed, but prevention is better than cure – especially where vulnerable children are concerned. You say that you care about the majority, but you do not accept that the majority are heterosexual and that none of them want their children brought up by homosexuals. You do not love your neighbour by giving them everything that they demand. You give people what they have need of, and that includes moral guidance. 


    The usual mishmash of twaddling rubbish from a trendy little PC servant of the social engineering elites. The tone and content of your message makes it clear you are a hypocrite. At least have the guts to state what you really think. And cut the pompous crap, you’re fooling no one but yourself. 

  • Alan

    While totally opposing “gay marriage”, I hope this does not cause us to take our eyes off the ball of the infinitely more vital (literally) issue, namely abortion.  I would be happy to accept “gay marriage” in exchange for the repeal of the Abortion Act.  So let us not be distracted from that.

  • Alan

    “Perhaps you should be asking yourself why very few people have chosen the Catholic faith in the UK verse Anglicanism.”  Really? I thought church attendance was highest in the Catholic Church.  As for your patronising attitude towards the 6 in 10 people identifying as Christian, what makes you think they don’t know one end of the Bible from another?  I would have thought this more likely of the remaining 4 in 10.
    Christian identification has gone in waves throughout history.  There have been many “revivals” which have resulted in upward trends, and this is bound to happen again sooner or later.  And your comment about the Catholic Church being authoritarian: this may still be so, but far, far less so than before Vatican II (deo gratias, in my opinion).

  • Mtturner

    Your quite right Alan, once this issue is out of the way I am sure the focus will return quickly to the matter of abortion and the need for deep and continued debate, until satisfaction on the issue is achieved.

    This issue however, is very pressing. Government are trying to slip this bill in whilst most of the population are not looking. Once legislation  is passed as looks quite possible at this moment
    there will be no return. The impact on our church, on our families, on our culture, will be immense. It has nothing to do with being anti gay, there is a good number of gay people in our catholic community who pray with us and enjoy the spiritual benefits of the church.

    Marriage however is not for re-definition. It is to do with the union of man and women, for the purposes of procreation and survival of the species. It is a total affront to the church and to ordinary decent people in this country that any group should seek to rip it apart. We must fight
    with all the tools at our disposal to reject such folly.

    Michael Turner

  • Rkm624

    How does the church allow couples who cannot bear children get married then if marriage is for procreation? Your argument doesn’t stand. I am str8 but support gay marriage so that makes me a non decent person as you say. Please!!! Thank God you are not our judge.

  • Ninoinoz

     There is a bit difference between a married couple not having children (due to infertility, for instance) and same sex couples who can never, ever, in a million years have children.

    There is a reason it’s called matrimony.

  • Rkm624

    As always you don’t get it. A man and a woman want to get married but they know they are not able to bear children either because of old age or whatever. The church allows them to marry but you as you say marriage is only for pro creation. They should not be allowed to marry according to you.

    Sad when poeple try to argue and they sound like a recording. So many left and right wing to this.

  • Bill Hardman

    I believe Mr Cameron himself to have been married ‘According to the Rites of the Established Church’ i.e. the Church of England.  It has been pointed out in other comments that this needs no civil endorsement to be a lawful marriage.  That service would have commenced with ‘Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this congregation, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony…..’.

    Given that Mr Cameron now seemingly regards this form of marriage as old-fashioned, outmoded and even discriminatory, will his conscience allow him to still regard himself as validly married under the new system he proposes?  Surely he will need to set an example by paying his £100 and having his existing ‘marriage’ converted to his new definition.

  • greysurfer

    There is no person on this Earth who is fit and proper to redefine marriage. Only God could do so and I doubt that He has even thought about it.
    I do think however that even if this law is forced through, it is not irreversible. Nothing is irreversible if there is sufficient willpower from the people.

  • greysurfer

     Marriage between male and female is complete in itself and they become as one. God gives children as additional blessings, although a few couples do not benefit. As compensation, these couples often become deeply involved in other good causes and work together to achieve great things, including deep spiritual satisfaction derived from that work. It is the norm, however, to have children since it is the natural biological function of male-female relationships.
    “Gay” marriage is an unnatural coupling that cannot produce children, However, the spiritual basis of the act of marriage is concerned with man, woman and God…..NOT man, man and God nor any other permutation.

  • Rkm624

    You didn’t respond to my comment, because you can’t.

  • Tridentinus

     From what I understand, the Church makes the presumption of validity of all marriages between non-Catholics provided that they are free to marry. In fact it does this with regard to Catholics who marry according to the Rites of the SRC.

  • Tridentinus

    Marriage is a simple act: two people, a man and a woman pledging to live together for the remainder of their lives and to co-operate with God’s invitation to “increase and multiply” through a sexual relationship. This fundamental definition of marriage has existed from time immemorial until the present day.

    I understand that the Church regards most marriages between baptised non-Catholics as valid unless there is an impediment. In fact your argument could be used against Catholics married in church. The bride and groom are the ordinary ministers of Marriage, the cleric being an ecclesiastical witness. Their innermost beliefs of what matrimony means to them can never be known by anyone, save themselves at the time and this what determines the validity of their marriage. In reality it is in heaven.

    The presumption is that in a marriage between Catholics the intention of a life-long relationship and to attempt to procreate is that of both parties. Those baptised, non-Catholic, Christians who marry outside the Catholic Church are presumed to have the same intention and probably all do at the time (unless the ceremony explicitly excludes it). The innermost intention of the spouses whether Catholic or non-Catholic can never be known absolutely  by the Church so any judgement on the state of their unions is conditional.

    The Church can never deliver an absolute judgement on the validity or invalidity of a marriage between Christians unless absolute evidence is furnished.

  • Tridentinus

     They would not  be regarded by the State as ‘married’ but merely co-habiting.