Archbishop Peter Smith categorically states Church’s opposition to government plans for ‘gay marriage’ but…

Peter Smith, the Archbishop of Southwark, has stated categorically that the Catholic Church will not only not allow the registration of civil partnerships in her churches but will also challenge the government’s authority and competence to create pseudo-marriages for homosexuals.

On the government’s plans to allow civil partnerships to be contracted in religious premises Archbishop Smith stated:

‘The Equality Act was amended to permit Civil Partnerships on religious premises, which unhelpfully blurs the distinction previously upheld by Parliament and the Courts between marriage and civil partnerships. A consenting Minister is perfectly free to hold a religious ceremony either before or after a Civil Partnership. That is a matter of religious freedom, but it requires no legislation by the State.  We do not believe it is either necessary or desirable to allow the registration of civil partnerships on religious premises.  These will not take place in Catholic churches.’

On challenging the government’s authority to create pseudo marriages for homosexuals Archbishop Smith stated:

‘Marriage does not belong to the State any more than it belongs to the Church. It is a fundamental human institution rooted in human nature itself. It is a lifelong commitment of a man and a woman to each other, publicly entered into, for their mutual well-being and for the procreation and upbringing of children.  No authority – civil or religious – has the power to modify the fundamental nature of marriage.  We will be opposing such a change in the strongest terms.’

Protect the Pope comment: Archbishop Peter Smith has set out the Church’s position on the government’s misguided policy regarding so called ‘gay marriages’ in a succinct and forceful manner. It’s a shame it didn’t come out when this issue was making headlines, but now the news cycle has moved on to other things so it will not get much coverage. The Bishops’ Conference must have known that this policy was going to be announced last week so why wasn’t the statement ready then?

The one disturbing thing about Archbishop Smith’s statement is his reference to the right of Ministers ‘to hold a religious ceremony either before or after a Civil Partnership. That is a matter of religious freedom…’ Surely the Archbishop didn’t mean to imply that Catholic priests or deacons can hold a ‘religious service’,  before or after the registration of a civil partnership? What kind of religious service? A blessing of the couple?  He can’t mean this can he? Am I missing something here? My understanding is that Catholic clergy cannot condone a homosexual union.

http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=17707

5 comments to Archbishop Peter Smith categorically states Church’s opposition to government plans for ‘gay marriage’ but…

  • Karla

    The Catholic Church is not going to accept homosexual marriages. I agree with you, it does not like he is saying that, I hope we are mistaken.

  • “Surely the Archbishop didn’t mean to imply that Catholic priests or deacons can hold a ‘religious service’, before or after the registration of a civil partnership?”

    I think he is being tactful here with regard to some peculiar sects lihe the Quakers who go in for this sort of thing.

    • Deacon Nick

      Thanks Patricius, I think you’re right. Though I wish the Archbishop had referred to other ‘churches’or ‘religious institutions’ rather than refer to individual ‘consenting Ministers.

  • Terry

    I don’t he meant anything untoward. The key term is ‘minister’. If he said priests or religious, then I would be worried.

    • Deacon Nick

      The trouble is that in the context of government policy, which the Archbishop’s statement is addressing, the term they use for all representatives of religions, including priests, religious and deacons, is Minister of religion. Civil servants and politicians may assume that the Archbishop is saying that individual consenting priests, deacons and religious have the religious freedom to hold such services. It would have been much better if he’d referred to other religious bodies rather than individual Ministers.

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