In accompanying letter Archbishop Smith urges priests to 'do all you can' to oppose Bill

The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales is sending out a million postcards calling on MPs to oppose the Government’s redefinition of marriage.

The postcards will be sent to parishes next week. Each card will have a space for people to sign their name so they can post it to their MP.

The text says that marriage is the “foundation of the family” and upholds the common good. It does not say anything about same-sex relationships.

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Accompanying the cards will be a letter to all parish priests signed by Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark, chairman of the bishops’ Department of Christian Responsibility and Citizenship.

In it, the archbishop says: “My purpose in writing is to ask you to urge the members of your congregation to make their own views known to their MP.

“To assist them in doing that we have printed postcards ‘speak out for marriage’ and a bundle of these are with this letter.

“Parishioners simply need to add the name of their own local MP to the address on the front of the card, and their own name and address below the text on the back. Please can you put up the enclosed posters, let your parishioners know the name(s) of your local MP, and strongly encourage your parishioners to send the cards and to give them to their friends to send in as well.”

Archbishop Smith added: “The first key vote is likely to take place in early February so the time to act is now. We need to encourage as many people as possible to get involved. Please do all you can.”

The postcard campaign follows a letter to the Daily Telegraph signed by more than 1,000 priests arguing that the Government Bill, expected to be published this month, will restrict the freedom of Catholics to teach the truth about marriage.

The text on the postcards

Dear member of Parliament
As a concerned constituent I urge you to vote against the Marriage (same sex couples) Bill.
· Marriage between a man and a woman is the foundation of the family and provides the best circumstances in which to raise the next generation.

· This is why society has recognised marriage as having an identity distinct form any other relationship, however much love or commitment may be involved; marriage is about the common good.

· No mainstream political party promised such a radical change in its last election manifesto. There is therefore no mandate for it.

Please vote against it and let me know your views.

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