Scottish Catholic priests' letter condemns gay marriage

Cardinal Keith O'Brien Cardinal O'Brien appears to be stepping up the Catholic Church's campaign against gay marriage

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Roman Catholic priests have read out a letter in each of the Church's parishes in Scotland criticising the Scottish government for plans to introduce gay marriage.

Last week the leader of the Church in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, broke off personal discussions on the issue with the First Minister, Alex Salmond.

The Church has declared 26 August as National Marriage Sunday.

The Scottish government says it is right to introduce same-sex marriage.

But it has stressed no clergy would be forced to carry out the ceremonies.

The letter criticises the Scottish government for trying to change what Cardinal O'Brien considers to be the only legitimate definition of marriage - the lifelong union of a man and a woman.

'Grotesque subversion'

The letter also announces the launch of a National Commission for Marriage and the Family to co-ordinate a campaign against gay marriage.

It says: "We reaffirm before you all the common wisdom of humanity and the revealed faith of the Church that marriage is a unique life-long union of a man and a woman."

And it asks the Church's congregation to "pray for our elected leaders, invoking the Holy Spirit on them, that they may be moved to safeguard marriage as it has always been understood, for the good of Scotland and of our society".

Tom French, Equality Network: "The letter... is part of a wider anti-gay agenda"

In March, Cardinal O'Brien described gay marriage as a "grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right".

The Scottish government has pledged to bring forward a bill on the issue later this year, and has indicated the earliest ceremonies could take place by the start of 2015.

Same-sex couples in Scotland can already enter into civil partnerships. The Scottish government has promised to protect religious freedoms, and says any changes would not see churches forced to take part in same-sex ceremonies.

A Scottish government spokesperson said: "We intend to proceed with plans to allow same sex marriage and religious ceremonies for civil partnerships because we believe it is the right thing to do.

"We are equally committed to protecting religious freedom and freedom of expression, and ensuring that religious celebrants opposed to same sex marriage do not have to solemnise same sex ceremonies."

The Equality Network, which is campaigning in support of same-sex marriage in Scotland, said politicians should stand firm over the plans.

'Sad day'

Tom French, the charity's policy co-ordinator, said: "It is increasingly clear that the Church has an anti-gay agenda that it wants to impose on the rest of society.

"We urge the Scottish government to stand firm on plans to introduce equal marriage and not give in to demands that would discriminate against LGBT people."

John Deighanm, Catholic Church of Scotland: "This about a cultural issue"

Other Churches in Scotland have also expressed concern about the same-sex marraige plans. The Church of Scotland has said it is concerned the Scottish government is "rushing ahead on something that affects all the people of Scotland without adequate debate and reflection".

And the Free Church of Scotland described the decision to introduce gay marriage as a "truly sad day for Scotland" and urged the Scottish government to reconsider its plans.

The UK government's consultation on allowing civil marriages for gay and lesbian couples in England and Wales closed in June.

The coalition is analysing the results before publishing its formal response, but Prime Minster David Cameron has promised legislation before the next election.

There are currently no plans for similar legislation in Northern Ireland.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 259.

    Religion is outdated and should be ignored....there is no better rule!

  • rate this

    Comment number 258.

    157.Global Yawning
    "Gays moaning about religion again, yet they all seem so keen to get married in a church.
    Oh these people are so confused."

    Are you saying only hetrosexuals can believe in a god?
    Let people of whatever sexual proclivity, with religious beliefs, marry in a religious setting if they feel it necessary.
    The RC church wishes to forbid but they should not dictate to others.

  • rate this

    Comment number 257.

    Who is the government to say that the Church cannot offer people a traditional view & morality. The Church is not compulsory, you can take it or leave it, as long as it doesn't threaten or encourage physical harm

    The Government, Courts, media, public sector etc seem to be taking us down a route where it will soon be a crime to disagree with gay marriage, multiculturalism, immigration etc

  • rate this

    Comment number 256.

    I would like to remind any homosexuals who can't stand the thought of anyone disagreeing with them that the "report this comment" link is in the bottom right hand corner.

  • rate this

    Comment number 255.

    The Church has declared 26 August as National Marriage Sunday.


    I'm sorry, remind me again what gives the church the right to determine our national days? That should be a decision of the fairly elected state. The Catholic Church means nothing to me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 254.

    This from a church that protected peadophiles! The irony is laughable. Also from a church that forbids it's own ministers from having any form of sexual relationship. A church that subjects a vast number of people in poor countries to starvation, as it will not let them use birth control, so they live in over populated countries, as nearly all Catholic countries are. Shame on them!

  • rate this

    Comment number 253.

    Given the history of the catholic church they`re hardly in a position to dictate to others about morality. They lost all moral high ground when they attempted to cover up child abuse in their ranks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 252.

    "This is a cultural issue". So was slavery, and the church except in VERY recent times has not covered itself in glory in this issue. The bottom line is, to use morality that has it basis in laws and customs from over 3 millennia ago, is unconscionable. If any belief structure is to remain relevant, then it has to reinterpret its scriptures - not choose what it does and does not like.

  • rate this

    Comment number 251.

    I have been in a civil partnership for over two years and, as far as I am concerned, he is my husband and I am his. Neither of us are religious and have no interest in getting married in a church. I do find it hypocritical though when the Cardinal describes gay marriage as "grotesque subversion". Just wondering what his views on institutionalised child abuse are. Is that a perk of the job?

  • rate this

    Comment number 250.

    Strange how catholic Church speaks out more loudly against gay marriage than about the abuse of children by their priests!
    If two people love each other they why not let them get 'married' - where is the 'love' in the views of the Church.
    The Church is an irrelevance and trying to defend the indefensible - they should be ignored!

  • rate this

    Comment number 249.

    The problem is that the Scottish government seem happy to force whatever policies they favour on the Scottish people even if there is clear opposition amoung the electorate. When the government takes decisions for you because they think they know better than the people who elected them then as a voter you are nothing more than a serf being ruled by your betters and masters.

  • rate this

    Comment number 248.

    Once again the SNP goose-step a minority agenda over the majority. For once in a very long time the state are very much in danger of making the church look like an instrument of the people. 60+ plus said no, the people of Scotland don't want this it's time the government in Scotland with there minority noise makers accept that NO MEANS NO.

  • rate this

    Comment number 247.

    Government "No plan to extend this to religious".
    Government "No plans to extend Sunday opening past the olympics"
    Government "We are looking to make permanent the change in Sunday trading"

    No wonder no-one beleives a word they say on promises they will weasel out at the first sniff of a vote.

    Gay marriage - Don't conflate passive indifference to gay relationships as suppor for marriage.

  • rate this

    Comment number 246.

    All churches and all religions should be made to comply with all anti-discrimination & anti-vilifcation laws - & if they don't like it they can pack up their vile outmoded views and go else where.

    The sort of nonsense that the Catholic Church and parts of the Church of England involve themselves in is uncivilised and wastes the time of all thinking people.

    Discrimination of all types is abuse.

  • rate this

    Comment number 245.

    Numbers 31:17

    Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.

    This refers to the treatment of prisoners of war and was decreed by God to Moses (apparently)

    Do we still believe this to be right and inviolable?

  • rate this

    Comment number 244.

    its all heterosexual peoples faults anyway, if they did not keep having gay children then there would not be a problem. I love the term minority on here..LGBT community is between 5 and 7% of the UK population as a whole, if you dont like the idea of a same sex marriage dont have one..simple as

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

    I love watching atheists get all excited about stuff they don't understand :op

  • rate this

    Comment number 242.

    Where exactly in the Bible does it state that marriage is for one man, one woman?

    It doesn't need to. It's plain on homosexuality. Look up Leviticus 18v22
    or Lev 20v13 "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them

  • rate this

    Comment number 241.

    Just for your information there are more Humanist weddings in Scotland than Catholic ones. Marriage is not just a Christian thing, it was around well before and it will be around long after.

    A homosexual couple marrying is no different to an infertile straight couple marrying. If there's love and commitment there then why shouldn't they marry? Note that those who say it's wrong don't give reasons

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    Good grief. it's not "gay marriage" it is "marriage"!

    Get a grip, and for that matter, get a life that doesn't involve pontificating ad nauseum about the personal lives.of others.

    Is gay sex only ok as long as it is between consenting clergy and underage boys? You lot are disgusting.


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