One-fourth of Britain’s Catholic priests join in warning that same-sex marriage could trigger new persecution
Catholic World News - January 14, 2013
More than 1,000 Catholic priests have signed an open letter warning that legal acceptance of same-sex marriage could prompt a revival of persecution against Catholics in Britain.
Nearly one-fourth of the country’s Catholic priests, joined by bishops and other Church leaders, signed a letter to the Daily Telegraph urging opposition to the government’s plan to recognize same-sex marriages. They warned that the effects of the legislation would include “severely restricting the ability of Catholics to teach the truth about marriage in their schools, charitable institutions or places of worship.”
Reminding the people of Great Britain that Catholics had been barred from public offices for centuries, the priests’ letter said that the government’s plans raised ominous echoes of the persecution begun under King Henry VIII, and reassurances offered by Prime Minister David Cameron would be “meaningless” if Catholics were required to assent to same-sex unions.
Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth admitted that the comparison to Henry VIII was “dramatic,” but said that such urgent concern is warranted. “It is quite Orwellian to try to redefine marriage,” he said.
Father Andrew Pinsent, an Oxford theologian, said that the priests’ fears are based on historical precedent, and on the recognition “that a network of laws are being put in place which would violate our freedom of conscience.” He suggested that the country’s most prominent Catholic leaders—in what he termed “the Westminster bubble”—have “underestimated the level of concern in the country” over the proposed change to the definition of marriage.
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