Catholic World News

Cardinal O’Brien: same-sex marriage a ‘grotesque subversion,’ a ‘great wrong’

March 05, 2012

Cardinal Keith O’Brien has issued a strong warning against same-sex marriage as the British government contemplates its legalization.

“Civil partnerships have been in place for several years now, allowing same-sex couples to register their relationship and enjoy a variety of legal protections,” he began. “Those of us who were not in favour of civil partnership, believing that such relationships are harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of those involved, warned that in time marriage would be demanded too. We were accused of scaremongering then, yet exactly such demands are upon us now.”

“Redefining marriage will have huge implications for what is taught in our schools, and for wider society,” he continued. “It will redefine society since the institution of marriage is one of the fundamental building blocks of society. The repercussions of enacting same-sex marriage into law will be immense.”

“If same-sex marriage is enacted into law what will happen to the teacher who wants to tell pupils that marriage can only mean – and has only ever meant – the union of a man and a woman? Will that teacher’s right to hold and teach this view be respected or will it be removed? Will both teacher and pupils simply become the next victims of the tyranny of tolerance, heretics, whose dissent from state-imposed orthodoxy must be crushed at all costs?”

Cardinal O’Brien continued:

When our politicians suggest jettisoning the established understanding of marriage and subverting its meaning they aren’t derided. Instead, their attempt to redefine reality is given a polite hearing, their madness is indulged. Their proposal represents a grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right …

Same-sex marriage would eliminate entirely in law the basic idea of a mother and a father for every child. It would create a society which deliberately chooses to deprive a child of either a mother or a father.

Other dangers exist. If marriage can be redefined so that it no longer means a man and a woman but two men or two women, why stop there? Why not allow three men or a woman and two men to constitute a marriage, if they pledge their fidelity to one another? …

Disingenuously, the Government has suggested that same-sex marriage wouldn’t be compulsory and churches could choose to opt out. This is staggeringly arrogant. No Government has the moral authority to dismantle the universally understood meaning of marriage.

Imagine for a moment that the Government had decided to legalise slavery but assured us that “no one will be forced to keep a slave”. Would such worthless assurances calm our fury? Would they justify dismantling a fundamental human right? Or would they simply amount to weasel words masking a great wrong?


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  • Posted by: - Mar. 05, 2012 7:41 PM ET USA

    As the itigator in the only case in the United States where Plaintiff's prevailed (of which there were 25 nationwide at the time according to Peter Jennings when reporting it), and the case being in the S.F.Bay Area, I know first hand what it is to have adversaries so powerful, there is no end to what tactics might be used. My life and family were threatened. As speaker at local events on these issues I never hesitated to make the same argument as this brave bishop doing so out of love.

  • Posted by: Justin8110 - Mar. 05, 2012 8:49 AM ET USA

    The answer to this crisis is for bishops and priests to start making sure the Faith is taught in its entirety regardless of the consequences. Also what is needed at least for awhile is lots of homeschooling and a return to the Catholic ghetto where we can raise our families in peace and support each other in the Faith. We lost the culture war and need to regroup somehow. Most Americans favor gay "marriage", abortion, contraception etc. We can't win in the courts here.