news-2


Sunday 2 September 2012

Cardinal O'Brien raises "fears and concerns" on Same Sex Marriage

In an opinion article in today's Mail on Sunday newspaper, Cardinal Keith O'Brien will raise a range of "fears and concerns" over the Scottish Government's proposed Same Sex Marriage legislation.

The Cardinal will argue that previously mentioned concerns have been widely ignored and have not formed part of the political or public debate which should have taken place before the Government's decision.

He will cite the recent case in Brazil, where a civil partnership between three people has been officially recognised in the state of Sao Paolo, the vote in the Danish Parliament in June to force churches in the established Evangelical Lutheran Church to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies and a proposed new law in the State of Kansas, which would mean that if a church has a parish hall that they rent out to the general public, they could not discriminate against a gay couple who want to rent the building for a party.

Cardinal O'Brien will argue that all these developments vindicate fears raised by the Catholic Church and others and undermine assurances proposed by the Scottish Government.

The full text of the Cardinal's article is shown below.

ENDS


Peter Kearney  
Director  
Catholic Media Office  
5 St. Vincent Place  
Glasgow  
G1 2DH  
0141 221 1168
07968 122291  
pk@scmo.org  
www.scmo.org



Cardinal O'Brien - Mail on Sunday - Sunday 2 September 2012


In the course of recent months the debate on Same Sex Marriage has ebbed and flowed to little real effect. The Scottish Government set itself on a course to redefine marriage and notwithstanding the inconvenient truth of a public consultation on the matter, which returned a 65% no vote; it remains set on that course.
 
We are told that the parliamentary process involved will require action by both the Scottish and UK parliaments and a raft of new guidance for employers and others. This is because the administration actually promised two things: legislation permitting same sex marriage and protection from compulsion for those opposed.  
 
Amongst the most overused replies to the Catholic Church s opposition to marriage redefinition is the hackneyed; no church will be forced to carry out same sex marriages Incredibly, proponents of the change seem to think that by simple repetition this empty phrase will somehow develop meaning. The Church opposed the Abortion Act passed in 1967, and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act passed in 1990, even although none of these legislative acts imposed any requirement or burden on the church it opposed them vigorously and completely. Why? Simply because it cares for society and humanity. This includes a deep concern for the vast majority of our fellow human beings who are not Catholics
 
The religious identity of the tens of thousands of women who have had abortions over the past 45 years is irrelevant to the church as is the religious affiliations which countless thousands of embryos might have enjoyed had they been allowed to survive into child and adulthood rather than ending up in laboratory waste. The Church addresses the great human suffering they all represent. It is motivated by compassion for life, all human life.
 
The Catholic Church cares that across the Western world young men and women, but especially men, who are coming to terms with same sex attraction, are being prematurely locked into what may be a passing phase in their sexual identity, and are being encouraged and even urged into potentially harmful patterns of behaviour, which even our own NHS Scotland admit leave them, disproportionately affected by HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
 
Earlier this year I suggested that the disingenuous attempt to marginalise church concerns by repeating the mantra you won t have to take part was a bit like Government legalising slavery with the words you won t need to keep a slave It would be hypocritical. Many, then and since chose to mischievously and maliciously misquote my comments and suggest I had equated homosexuality with slavery “ which I demonstrably hadn t. This deceitful dissembling however did cause me to draw a very serious conclusion; many of those who support Same Sex Marriage do not want to engage in detailed debate on the subject, rather they prefer to attack, to marginalise and to misrepresent.
 
I take this opportunity to restate some of the concerns of the Church, concerns which have previously been ridiculed or ignored.  
 
Along with others, we have asked what can stop further erosion and destruction of the meaning of marriage once it ceases to be the relationship between a man and a woman and becomes the recognition of a commitment made by adults who love one another? Such redefinition must surely, logically allow for multiple partners to enter into marriage we have warned.  
 
Our warnings have been dismissed. Yet, earlier this week we read reports from Brazil, where a civil partnership between three people has been officially recognised in the state of Sao Paolo. The relationship between one man and two women was passed by public notary Claudia do Nascimento Domingues, who said the trio were entitled to family rights adding "What we considered a family before isn't necessarily what we would consider a family today," The notary said in granting the wishes of the man and two women, that there was nothing in law that prevents such an arrangement.  The trio have lived together in Rio de Janeiro for three years, and have a common bank account and share bills and expenses.
 
Along with others, we have warned that opt outs from legislation can easily be overturned. If Parliament votes to protect religious celebrants from being compelled to conduct Same Sex Marriages it can just as easily vote to overturn that protection.
Earlier this summer the Danish Parliament voted to force churches in the established Evangelical Lutheran Church to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies inside their sanctuaries, although one-third of all the denomination s priests say they will not participate in such rituals.  
 
Denmark s Parliament voted by an overwhelming 85-24 margin to compel churches to carry out unions for same-sex couples that are identical to heterosexual marriage celebrations. The law took effect in June, overturning the previous decision to allow churches to opt out. Interestingly and worryingly, in this context the Scottish Government s rhetoric has focussed on protecting religious celebrants rather than churches.
 
Along with others, we have warned that even if religious ceremonies are not forced on churches allowing the use of their premises may well be. In April of this year - The city council of Hutchinson, Kansas, considered enacting a new statute adding sexual orientation and sexual identity to the city s non-discrimination policy in all public accommodations. The measure would specifically include churches that rent their property to the public.  
 
According to a city spokesman; If a church has a parish hall that they rent out to the general public, they could not discriminate against a gay couple who want to rent the building for a party, such as a same-sex ceremony or reception.
Religious facilities, including churches, would not be able to discriminate against gay and lesbian or transgender individuals, Meryl Dye, a spokeswoman for the Hutchinson Human Relations Commission, confirmed. Unless the city council includes an exemption for churches, it would generate a discrimination complaint for the gay couple and it would be investigated “ and possibly lead to a fine.
 
Each of these cases confirms and expands on the fears and concerns we have expressed. They show where this debate is going and our media and our politicians have almost universally ignored them.
 
Launching a National Marriage Sunday in the Catholic Church last week, I said that
the Church's teaching on marriage was unequivocal; it is uniquely, the union of a man and a woman and it is wrong that Governments, politicians or Parliaments should seek to alter or destroy that reality.

While I pray that our elected leaders will sustain rather than subvert marriage, I can assure the Scottish Government that together with Scotland s silent majority, we will continue to do everything we can to convince them that redefining marriage would be wrong for society.

Subscribe to Updates

Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 156 times   Liked 0 times

Subscribe to Updates

If you enjoyed this, why not subscribe to free email updates ?

I've already subscribed / don't show me this again

Recent Posts

Bishops welcome Review Group’s Annual report

| 7 days ago | Blogging

Bishops welcome Review Group’s Annual report Friday 26 June 2020   The Second Annual Report of the Independent Review Group (IRG) monitoring the implementation of the recommendations of the McLellan Commission by the Catholic Church in Scotland has been welcomed by the Bishops’ Conference. The report, published on 26 June is available at: https://www.bcos.org.uk/Portals/0/Documents/IRG%20Report%20June%202020.pdf   Commenting on the publication, Bishop Joseph Toal, President of the Commission for Pastoral and Social Care said;“On behalf of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, I thank the IRG for their work and welcome the publication of their second annual report, which will be given careful consideration.”   Bishop Toal added;   “Safeguarding remains at the heart of the church’s mission and the maintenance of high standards is only possible through independent scrutiny of an autonomous body like the IRG that works separately from the Catholic Church.”   ENDS Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org      ...

Bishops appoint new Vice Rector for Scots College

| 12th June 2020 | Blogging

Bishops appoint new Vice Rector for Scots College 12 June 2020   A new Vice Rector has been announced for the Pontifical Scots College in Rome. Fr Nick Welsh (36) was chosen for the post by the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland and is expected to begin the role in September.   He is currently parish priest at Our Lady and St Andrew, covering Galashiels, Melrose and Selkirk, and Vicar Episcopal for Education for the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh.   Commenting on the appointment, Archbishop Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh said: “The Bishops thank Fr Nick for accepting this role and acknowledge the big change in having to leave his parish to move to Rome. “I am confident he will do an excellent job in forming our seminarians. It’s both challenging and rewarding and, when he returns, our diocese will greatly benefit from his experience.”   Fr Nick attended the college as a seminarian between 2007-14 and has a licence in Theology.   Reacting to his appointment, Fr Nick said: “To go back to Rome is certainly an exciting thing for me. I love being a priest and it is life-giving to be around people who want to be priests. I look forward to contributing to the formation of the seminarians and helping them become good priests. But I will also leave the Borders with a heavy heart and wish to thank all parishioners there.”   College rector Fr Daniel Fitzpatrick said: “We look forward to welcoming Fr Nick who will have a key role in the day-to-day running of the seminary and accompanying students as part of their formation. He succeeds Fr Stuart Parkes who gave us three years of service and enjoyed contributing to the life of the college. We wish him all the best on his return to the diocese of Motherwell.”   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org   Note to Editors:   An image of Fr. Nick Welsh is available to download here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/139632090@N07/albums/72157714673928877  ...

Catholic Bishops say Immigration Bill will “drastically alter opportunities” for migrants

| 09th June 2020 | Blogging

Catholic Bishops say Immigration Bill will “drastically alter opportunities” for migrants. Tuesday 9 June 2020   In a strongly worded joint statement sent to opposition party leaders at Westminster, Catholic Bishops from Scotland and England & Wales have encouraged the UK Government to consider amendments to the Immigration Bill currently before parliament.   The Bishops’ call for; a time limit on detention, together with “a significant permanent reduction in the use of detention will allow us to properly protect people’s health and human dignity”, they also propose, that the minimum income threshold for family visas should be reduced and for repeal of the offence of illegal working, since “fear of prosecution currently deters people from escaping abusive employment practices or presenting themselves to the police”.   The statement also calls for changes to the clergy visa system. Scotland’s lead Bishop for migrants and refugees, Bishop William Nolan, said; “Most Catholic dioceses previously used Tier 5 Religious Worker visas for priests to come here on essential supply placements, allowing Catholics to continue attending Mass, the new Tier 2 visas have more than doubled the costs incurred by parishes arranging supply cover.” “Furthermore, seminaries that conduct formation in English are not necessarily recognised by the Home Office as meeting the English language requirement under the Tier 2 route, meaning that many priests who have been educated to post-graduate level in English are nevertheless required to take a language test with extra logistical and cost implications.” Bishop Nolan concluded; “We strongly urge the Government to accept amendments addressing these important issues and hope that MPs from all parties will take this opportunity to help create a more just and humane immigration system.”   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org     Note to Editors:   The full text of the statement is shown below: Catholic Church statement on amendments to the Immigration Bill The Immigration Bill currently before parliament will drastically alter people’s opportunities to build their lives here and contribute to our society. The UK’s Catholic population is made up of people from across the world including a significant number of European citizens. Around 60% of Europeans living in the UK are Catholics. We therefore recognise the profound impact that ending free movement will have on so many families and communities. While we do not agree with the principle of making European citizens apply for their existing rights in the UK, the Church is working to raise awareness of the Settlement Scheme and help those who are at risk of losing their status. However, no scheme will reach all European citizens in the UK. Even if a small proportion do not make an application by the June 2021 deadline, this could leave thousands of people without legal status. We encourage amendments to the bill that will create a meaningful safety-net including options to extend the deadline. At the same time this bill and the development of new rules present a chance to make several positive changes to our immigration system: Introducing a time limit on immigration detention The UK remains the only European country without a time limit on detention. This has devastating consequences for the wellbeing of vulnerable individuals who find themselves detained including some victims of torture, survivors of trafficking and people fleeing religious persecution in their home countries. It also has a significant impact on families who are separated with no indication of when they might be reunited. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted serious health risks in crowded detention centres. While we are grateful for the emergency steps that were taken to reduce infection and save lives, only a significant permanent reduction in t...

Scotland’s Bishops Publish Parish Reopening Guidance

| 06th June 2020 | Blogging

Scotland’s Bishops Publish Parish Reopening Guidance 6 June 2020   In a Pastoral Letter sent to Scotland’s 600 Catholic Priests, the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland have issued a series of guidance documents, which will govern moves “towards the reopening of churches and the resumption of public worship”. In a Pastoral Letter which accompanies the guidance, the bishops explain that their aim “is to act in harmony with the guidance of the Government and the health authorities, with whom we are in conversation, and to return to our normal liturgical and devotional practice in a safe and phased way.”   The letter signed by all eight of Scotland’s Catholic bishops, stresses that “it is important that we act together as the Catholic Church in Scotland, in step with one another, and clear about what is legitimate and prudent at each stage of the process.”   The bishops conclude with encouragement to the Catholic community, “to remain united in faith, hope and love and to keep responding to our current circumstances with confidence and creativity, assured by the promise of the risen Christ, “I am with you always to the end of the world” (Mt 28:20).”   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org   Notes to Editors: The full text of the letter is shown below.   Together with the letter, the church has also published seven guidance documents which can be downloaded here: https://www.bcos.org.uk/COVID19/tabid/127/Default.aspx       COVID-19 Infection Control for Churches Advice on COVID-19 and Infection control protocol for parishes Preparing for re-opening of churches Guidance on how clergy and parishioners can prepare for a phased re-opening of churches Embracing Hope - a route map for pastoral ministry a route map for pastoral ministry in parishes during the COVIOD-19 pandemic How ready is your church to re-open? This is not a document but a simple on-line assessment tool which parishes can use to assess their readiness for re-opening. Safeguarding guidance for recruiting volunteers Guidance for parishes on Safeguarding requirements when recruiting volunteers as stewards Volunteer Application Form A Form to be completed by current volunteers who will act as stewards Volunteer Application Form B Form to be completed by new volunteers who will act as stewards                 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Peace be with you! For several weeks now, we have all been living through something we did not expect and for which we had no time to prepare ourselves, no real precedents to guide us, no previous experience to reassure us. A microscopic virus has thrown the whole world into disarray, including our normal Catholic life. In these circumstances we, the Bishops of Scotland, want to address you as we are reminded that Jesus alone is our great Hope. First of all, we want to express our closeness to those of you who have lost friends or family to Covid-19 and have not been able to grieve for them in our accustomed ways. We think, too, of those who have been unwell or have felt the pain of isolation in recent weeks, of their loved ones who have not been able to tend to them because of restrictions and also those whose treatment for other conditions has been delayed. We are mindful especially of those of you who are alone, or in care homes, or in hospitals. We hope you have found comfort and consolation. Though public worship has been suspended, the sacrifice of the Mass has still been offered, and Jesus our High Priest “is always living to make intercession” for us (Heb 7:25). God does not abandon his people. So, even in the midst of all this, we can thank the Lord and you for so many good things. We think of the clergy and religious who have been so assiduous and innovative in keepi...