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Letter signed by 1,000 priests: same-sex marriage will restrict freedom of Catholics

By on Monday, 14 January 2013

Mgr Keith Newton celebrated mass at the church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory(Photo: Mazur/

Mgr Keith Newton celebrated mass at the church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory(Photo: Mazur/

More than 1,000 priests have signed a letter to the Daily Telegraph arguing that same-sex marriage will restrict the freedom of Catholics to teach the truth about marriage.

The letter, signed by eight bishops, four abbots, the leader of the ordinariate, and 1,000 priests, warned MPs that proposed legislation would signal a return to penal times in that it would erode the ability of Catholics to “participate fully in the life of this country”.

It said the legislation would “have many legal consequences, severely restricting the ability of Catholics to teach the truth about marriage in their schools, charitable institutions or places of worship”.

The letter also suggested the safeguards of the law would be “meaningless”. It ended with a call to MPs “not to be afraid to reject this legislation now that its consequences are more clear”.

The full text of the letter is available here.

  • Charles Martel

     Is this the same Patrick Hadley who supports the ‘unspeakable crime of abortion’ (Vatican II)? If so, you are not a Catholic, Patrick, and that is clear anyway from your wrongheaded views on homosexuality.

  • JabbaPapa

    I think that the murder of the elderly people in hospital is more important.

    I agree — but that does not make this “gay marriage” issue unimportant…

  • Kudos

    Well said Liquafruta!  I suspect that the clergy’s preoccupation with same-sex marriage is not shared by the majority of lay Catholics who have better things to get worked up about.

  • Kudos

    Well said Liquafruta!

  • Kudos

    Well said liquafruta!

  • knight templar

    Slightly ironic, given the amount of closeted homosexual priests within the church.

    From my understanding of Christianity and the teachings of Jesus Christ I imagine that he might not entirely approve of the contemporary church’s position on a human beings right to commit to love for life, and be accepted by the community?

    Somehow, through the building of this great enterprise (the church) something has been lost. A common touch. The spark of humble, genuine love for all humanity…

    To speak through the heart. To promote love, kindness and tolerance. There are too many riches and not enough shared. There is too much incitement to negative thinking that can lead to prejudice and evil thoughts.

    Shame on these thousand priests… They should know better.

  • Danny

    It’s so easy to sit back and let others do your thinking for you; they will tell you what to believe and obey, all you have to do is obey.   To take your faith in God in both hands and say ‘Jesus I trust You’  That takes a certain kind of bravery. The Spirit blows in the modern world.

  • Theophilus

    In my own parish, in which those who run the show are very traditionalist, petitions on same-sex marriage and other issues of sexuality always receive a derisory number of signatories. so probably most lay Catholics and 3/4 of priests do not support the ‘Telegraph’ letter. Perhaps they don’t like the confrontational stance of the letter and prefer the way of dialogue and reconciliation. They may think this is more truly the way of Christ, whom we are supposed to be following.

  • liquafruta

    Then let’s end our discussion with mutual respect if you feel that it is getting nowhere..
     Like many others I feel that this issue is further polarising the Church into what looks, from the outside, to be one consuming issue above all  others – viz the postcards – and it is alienating people especially the young and the unchurched. It is signifcant that this and the Ordinariate are the two matters which have received the most publicity for the Church in recent months and I am afraid to say that both of these are very low down in most lay Catholics’ agendas. I fully respect all the deeply held feelings expressed here but felt that I must speak for myself and I know that I am not alone in feeling as I do. In nomine Patris…..

  • liquafruta

    More use of the word rubbish. Surely Our Lord would teach us to be reconciled with one other and definitely not to use harsh language. See. Romans Chapter 12 verses 6-16a. Blessings. 

  • JabbaPapa

    Your analysis appears to be incoherent.

    Traditionalists are by nature unlikely to be in favour of unnecessary changes.

  • JabbaPapa

    Why on EARTH should the Church be “polarised” concerning an issue that is EXTREMELY clearly explicited in our doctrines ???

  • JabbaPapa

    I am a convert to Catholicism pursuant to a personal revelation from God.

    As such, I will quite clearly be listening to God rather than to your heresies.

    Your so-called “bravery” is just an apostasy — and you would do well to pray to our God for help, guidance, and Grace — instead of leading your brethren into Error and Modernism.

  • Rich

    He may or may not be fella, but his logic remains robust!

  • Alan Nixon

    “On the one hand you talk about doctrines being imposed by group A upon group B as a bad thing, but then you deny that the imposition of doctrines by group C upon group D can be viewed as bad ?”
    In what way does giving people the right to marriage impose on any other group?

    Exclusion of a group from the right to marriage is an imposition on that group.

    Allowing a group to marry (when between consenting human adults) imposes nothing on any other group. It is a private matter between those people. 

    I find many Catholic doctrines offensive, but I will not attempt to exclude Catholics from any right due to those feelings.

    Please explain how allowing homosexuals to marry interferes with your rights (or the rights of Catholics) in any way?

  • JabbaPapa

    In what way does giving people the right to marriage impose on any other group?

    You haven’t answered my question.

    Why is it OK to force upon Catholics, for example, the doctrine that marriage is independent of heterosexuality, by committing such doctrine into Law, and necessarily criminalising any and all actions taken contrary to such a doctrine ?

    Civil Unions are a way of excluding people from having the same status as others

    Rubbish — and besides, I asked you to provide a case of MATERIAL discrimination currently existing, and you have so far not provided any such example.

    I can only conclude that no such examples actually exist in reality — and therefore, that homosexuals are in fact NOT being “discriminated” against in the UK.

    By forcing homosexuals to partake of another ritual, you are denying them a ritual available to all other members of society

    As I pointed out, the *only* differences between the civil unions and civil marriage are religious in nature — and given that homosexuals *cannot* marry each other in a Catholic Church regardless of whatever happens, this new law will therefore only achieve extra divisions and Briton vs Briton conflicts in society ; and it will address no so-called “discrimination” against homosexuals whatsoever.

    What if someone decided Catholics could not get married because their
    ideas on children do not fit with another group, say Atheists

    Some atheists do in fact come up with such ridiculous notions, that are representative of a category error.

    Positions based on the biological reality that children require a father and a mother for their very existence (even when via test-tube proxy) are not comparable to ethnic, religious, or cultural differences.

  • Rondre

    Most Catholics are not concerned about same sex marriage. Another prooccupation by the church. So many other issues that they should be concerned about.

  • Rondre

    Whay evils are you talking about?  My wife and I are waiting for your reponse.

  • Rondre

    Think of how many bishops, abbots priest who  are gay. All hate themselves because of the way God made them so they hate on others. Sad.

  • Rondre

    Please list what else Leviticus states. lol

  • Rondre

    Does this alsoe apply to clergy failing to live the gospels?

  • Tridentinus

    ” Many people are not Catholics and many do not agree with the barbaric
    notion that 2 people of the same sex are wrong for loving each other.”

    Homosexuals like heterosexuals can be understood and forgiven for indulging themselves in sinful, sexual activity, after all none of us is perfect. The notion, however, that two people of the same sex can live together in exactly the same sort of relationship as a man and his wife is completely absurd.

    Regardless of whether the legislation becomes law or not, marriage will always be understood by the overwhelming majority as the norm. “Gay marriage” will always be just that, “gay marriage”, something different, a novelty and an aberration.

  • Tridentinus

    And why seest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye; and seest not the beam that is in thy own eye?

  • Rondre


  • Tridentinus

     Ha-ha very clever but methinks you are doing the criticising not me.

  • Tridentinus


  • Tridentinus

      I posted this reply to Liquafruta some days ago. Here it is again in case you didn’t see it. I hope it helps to answer your question as to how this legislation will affect ordinary Catholics.

    Catholic marriage will no longer be the same as civil marriage; in as much as both Church and State presenty recognise it to be a contract between a man and a woman primarily for the founding of a family and for the mutual well-being of the spouses. As such, the Catholic Church recognises civil marriages between baptised non-Catholics as valid and therefore indissoluble.
    When or if the State changes its definition of marriage to include same-sex unions then civil marriages cannot under any circumstances be considered by the Church as valid as such unions will only be simply ‘legalising’ sinful sexual activity for its own sake. Neither can the
    State recognise Catholic Church alone marriages as they won’t be registered thus excluding Catholic spouses from the civil benefits of the marital status; taxation, pension rights, inheritance, etc. It would also render their offspring illegitimate as far as the State is concerned.
    Can the Catholic Church, if it is to remain true to its Founder allow the civil Registrar to register a marriage in Church when the type of union he, as the State’s representative, is registering is one which open to anyone regardless of sex and specifically condemned by the Church as gravely sinful.
    If the Catholic couple marry in the Church and then again in the Registry Office as has been suggested in separate ceremonies in order to avail themselves of the civil benefits of matrimony this would imply tacit acceptance of the State’s re-definition of marriage and that in itself would be mortally sinful and also a scandal.
    Civil marriages between baptised non-Catholics would no longer be valid according to Canon Law as again it would imply that the ‘spouses’ accepted a spurious re-definition of marriage by going through the same civil procedure as same-sex couples.

  • Rondre

    I hope you can do the same.

  • Liamfarrell12

    In a country like the UK that has law in place to discriminate against Catholics marrying monarchs or succeeding to the throne, is it not time the entire parliament was brought before the European court for discrimination.
    You can’t force a church to allow same sex marriage (which is against its beliefs) and at the same time not give members of that church equal rights.
    The equality laws need to be applied universally.

  • Danny

    Thank you for sending me your thought’s on marriage.
    The church, as you will no doubt agree is going through an upheaval, not experienced since the reformation in the 15-16 century; the solution is Vatican ll; but unfortunately the hierarchy since John Paul ll, wants to suppress this sacred council, (I will point out not even the Pope has that authority) maybe because of this the Spirit is working among the people of God.
    As a cradle catholic, and born before Vatican ll, it’s not easy to make a stand against what I believe is wrong; but in the spirit of the council I must.   The hierarchy need’s to go back to Vatican ll, listen and see what is happening with the children of God, and work with us for the good of all God’s people;unfortunately there is no dialogue between hierarchy and people, I hope this changes and soon.   It must re examine it’s theology, in particular the “fall/redemption.”

  • Parasum

    Mgr Newton needs to cut down on the fine dining.