Bp. Davies (D. Shrewsbury) defends marriage: politicians who give lips service to the family must now act

Pres. Obama, The First Gay President, is not the only one undermining our first freedoms.

We have been keeping an eye His Excellency Most Rev. Mark Davies, Bishop of Shrewsbury (south of the River Mersey next to Liverpool, the southern parts of Greater Manchester, parts of Derbyshire, almost all of the county of Cheshire and all of Shropshire).

Here is a Press Release from the Diocese of Shrewsbury

Sunday 3rd June 2012

Embargoed for internet use until 00.01am on Monday 4th June 2012

‘The future of humanity passes by way of the family’

The Rt Rev. Mark Davies, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Shrewsbury, has made a robust defence of the traditional definition of marriage and has urged politicians to protect the institution rather than undermine it.

Directly addressing the remarks of Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, about the justifiable concerns of Christians, the Bishop explained that the Coalition Government’s proposals to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples did not just create new fears about religious liberty but about the well-being of society in general.

Bishop Davies said in a homily during the National Association of Catholic Families annual pilgrimage to the Marian Shrine at Walsingham, Norfolk, on Monday June 4 that politicians who pay lip service to the value of the family urgently needed to act in concrete terms to ensure its protection from attacks against marriage, which, he reminded the congregation, lies at the very foundation of the family.

Bishop Davies said: “The Deputy Prime Minister was recently reported as saying he could not understand why Christians and other people of faith saw a legal redefinition of marriage as a matter of conscience: it would not, he claimed, impinge on religious freedoms. [HAH!  Just wait a few days.  They'll throw priests in jail for refusing to do same-sex "weddings" in Catholic churches.] Experience, of course, might make us cautious of such assurances, even those given by a Deputy Prime Minister, that this agenda will not threaten religious freedom.

“However, our concern is not only with religious freedom but also the enormous good which marriage represents as foundational to family-life. Today we see a government, without mandate, disposing of any credible consultation, seeking to impose one of the greatest acts of ‘social engineering’ in our history in uprooting the legal definition of marriage. Marriage lies at the very foundation of the family.

“For all generations to come one generation of politicians sets out to demolish in the name of an ‘equality agenda’ the understanding of marriage that has served as the timeless foundation for the family. The Government is seeking to do this at the very moment when marriage as an institution has been more weakened than ever before. Yet it asks: why are people of faith concerned?”

Bishop Davies added: “So far from weakening and confusing the foundation of the family we invite our political leaders to give back to the institution of marriage and the family the recognition and confidence it deserves.”

For further information

Please contact Simon Caldwell, communications officer for the Diocese of Shrewsbury, on either 07730 526847 or at simon.caldwell@dioceseofshrewsbury.org

Website: www.dioceseofshrewsbury.org
Twitter: @ShrewsRCnews
Pictures of Bishop Davies are available at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/catholicism/sets/72157629375480068/

(Please credit: Mazur/CatholicChurch.org.uk)

Bishop Davies’s homily in full:

Homily for the National Association of Catholic Families

National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham

“The future of humanity passes by way of the family”

We gather during this celebration of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee. We rejoice with many today not only in the Queen’s constitutional role carried out with unfailing dedication but also in her Christian witness of faith and prayer. However, it is significant that a family stands always at the centre of our constitution, at the heart of our national life. The Crown passes by way of a family! It was, of course, in this Norfolk countryside almost a millennium ago that a simple house was built to remind all generations of the centrality and holiness of the family revealed by God’s plan in the Holy Family of Nazareth. True, it was a monarch, King Henry VIII, not noted for his reverence for marriage, who saw both house and shrine destroyed four centuries ago. Yet Walsingham has now visibly returned in its Catholic and Anglican witness. Here we will always be reminded in Blessed John Paul II’s unforgettable words that, “the future of humanity passes by way of the family” (Familaris Consortio n. 86). It is a self-evident truth which too often is obscured in our consciousness today that the future of humanity, the future of society, depends on the family.

The Deputy Prime Minister was recently reported as saying he could not understand why Christians and other people of faith saw a legal redefinition of marriage as a matter of conscience: it would not he claimed impinge on religious freedoms. Experience, of course, might make us cautious of such assurances, even those given by a Deputy Prime Minister, that this agenda will not threaten religious freedom. However, our concern is not only with religious freedom but also with the enormous good which marriage represents as foundational to family-life. Today we see a government, without mandate, disposing of any credible consultation, seeking to impose one of the greatest acts of “social engineering” in our history by uprooting the legal definition of marriage. [That should sound familiar to US citizens.] Marriage lies at the very foundation of the family. For all generations to follow one generation of politicians is setting out to demolish in the name of an “equality agenda” the understanding of marriage that has served as the timeless foundation for the family. The government is seeking to do this at the very moment when marriage as an institution has been more weakened than ever before. Yet it asks: why are people of faith concerned?

One of England’s greatest and clearest thinkers the now Blessed John Henry Newman famously distinguished what he called “notional assent” from “real assent.” It seems that most people in public life give a notional assent to the value of the family as that first and vital cell of society – and never more so than in those moments of social disturbance such as the riots of last summer. However, what is needed is not just a notional agreement to the importance of family but a real assent to the place of the family in our society as securing the well-being of generations to come. This involves the recognition of what marriage uniquely is. A recognition comes not only from faith but from reason which clearly sees that it is from the family that “citizens come to birth and it is with within the family that they find the first school of the social virtues which are the animating principle of the existence and development of society itself” (Familaris Consortio n 42). In this way it is in the family that the future of society will be decided. So far from weakening and confusing the foundation of the family we invite our political leaders to give back to the institution of marriage and the family the recognition and confidence it deserves.

Here in Walsingham where across so many centuries of our history the sacredness of marriage and family were recognised in the example of the Holy Family of Nazareth, we wish to affirm in the words of Blessed John Paul II that “the Creator of all things has established marriage as the beginning and basis of human society” (Familaris Consortio 42)). May the gift of marriage and the family be held sacred by us all for the sake of every generation to come. Amen.

Do I hear an “Amen!”?

WDTPRS kudos to Bp. Davies.

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28 Responses to Bp. Davies (D. Shrewsbury) defends marriage: politicians who give lips service to the family must now act

  1. ContraMundum says:

    Have you never read in the Scriptures: The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? By the Lord this has been done; and it is wonderful in our eyes. Therefore I say to you that the kingdom of God shall be taken from you and shall be given to a nation yielding the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it shall grind him to powder.

    I sometimes think that when we talk about the defense of marriage, it is almost as silly as talking about the defense of the aforementioned stone.

    Of course, the stone directly refers to Christ, but it is not surprising that human nature shares some of these attributes. We are not trying to protect marriage, which is beyond our ability to save or destroy. We are trying to save the foolish people who stand in real danger of being broken or ground into powder, and we are hoping to prevent the kingdom of God from being taken from us and given to a nation yielding the fruits thereof.

  2. BaedaBenedictus says:

    Good for His Excellency! I hear good things are happening in that diocese.

    BTW, Father, the town of Shrewsbury is a wondrous place; chock-full of Tudor buildings (not just the odd one here or there, but whole streets). Not on the international tourist track, but Shropshire and bordering Herefordshire are a lovely area.

  3. Kathleen10 says:

    Not only an Amen, but a HALLELUJAH! I long to hear numerous and enthusiastic defense of marriage right here in the states. No one need fear being redundant, it bears repeating, often!
    Tell it preacher!

    Contramundum, a question. You say that marriage is beyond our ability to save or destroy, much like the cornerstone which was rejected by the builders (Christ). Maybe you are not in the states, and so there may be a precise political reason why addressing this problem may be quite different, but in the U.S., we do have a way to protect marriage. There is here a political solution to the challenge, as has been demonstrated positively in 32 out of 32 states, and this in anticipation of the likely scenario of a future Supreme Court decision, which, please God, will retain the definition of marriage as one man and one woman. Are there no such remedies where you are? It is really important for all Americans to consistently defend marriage and the traditional family, especially in November when the elections will be held.

  4. tecumseh says:

    We travelled down to New Brighton for the blessing of the new traditionalist parish with Bishop Mark . .impresive chap . .come on my Lords . .catch up.

    When the SSPX are liberated . .we will expect a stream of Bishops going on retreat . .and corrective therapy . . Followed by priests . . And permanent deacons . . If not . . .we’clearly see whose . . Swimming without their trunks on . ..as it were . .as that old fraud Warren Buffet put it . .!!!!

    Come on Mark . . You lead and we will certainly follow.

  5. AnnAsher says:

    Amen!
    Everyone should go see For Greater Glory. Mexico’s past – Our future.

  6. frjim4321 says:

    Honestly I think it is a quantum leap from extending equal civil rights to same-sex couples and “forcing priests to marry same-sex couples in church.” That would be like the government forcing priests today to marry straight couples who are not free to marry in the canonical sense. It would never happen. That is Henny Penny logic.

  7. MKR says:

    Kathleen10, I assume ContraMundum’s point was that marriage is what it is and not another thing, and so can no more be changed, even by the most viciously anti-marriage and anti-family forces in the world, than Christ can be changed. What can be changed, though–this, I take it, is the continuation of CM’s point–is the culture’s understanding of marriage. We can have the right understanding of it and reap its many benefits, or we can have the wrong understanding of it and suffer accordingly.

  8. MKR says:

    Oh, frjim4321, please read this:

    http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/proposed-law-would-force-churches-to-host-gay-weddings.html

    This is, of course, not the same as the government’s requiring priests themselves to “marry” same-sex couples. But it’s close enough to such a requirement to demonstrate that any eye-rolling confidence that the government would never ever ever institute such a requirement, yours included, is hopelessly naive and empirically groundless.

  9. Johnno says:

    frjim4321

    You mean it’ll never happen just like it’ll never happen that Church Institutions should pay for contraceptives and abortive pills? Just like it’ll never happen that Churches and Church institutions and Catholic Schools will never have lawsuits brought against them for refusing to lend their facilities to accommodate homosexuals? Just like it’ll never happen that Catholic Orphanages will be shut down for refusing to comply with giving children to homosexuals? Just like Christian parents will never be disallowed adoption due to their beliefs or threatened to have their children taken away by the state for not raising them to be tolerant and accepting of homosexuals? Do you live on another planet where none of this is happening? You’re deluded! Your support of homosexuality blinds you to the obvious truth and you will personally share responsibility for the persecution of Christians and the continued suffering of homosexuals as well as the eternal fate of all who find themselves in Hell because of it if you do not turn back now.

  10. RichardC says:

    On the one hand, they are running out of insane ideas to foist upon us. On the other hand, we are all growing older. Maybe this same-sex marriage mandate controversy is a way to bide time until the country clearly goes bankrupt.

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  12. frjim4321 says:

    On the one hand, they are running out of insane ideas to foist upon us. On the other hand, we are all growing older. Maybe this same-sex marriage mandate controversy is a way to bide time until the country clearly goes bankrupt. – RichardC

    I’m inclined to agree with Richard to the extend that the marriage rights discussion, both pro and con, and the various associated ballot issues, have indeed been used both as a wedge and a distraction from other much more important matters. The example of the economy is apt.

  13. ContraMundum says:

    Yeah. “Nothing is more important than money.” — J. Iscariot, businessman

  14. irishgirl says:

    Bravo and HALLELUJAH to Bishop Davies! Hear, hear, Your Excellency!
    I can just picture him confronting Nick Clegg as St. John Fisher did Henry VIII.
    @ MKR & Johnno: Exactly on both counts!

  15. Supertradmum says:

    I made it here, but missed the Mass. His talk is the talk of the town, literally.

    God bless him. I hope he is the next Head of the Church in England, in Westminster.

  16. Hidden One says:

    I hope His Excellency’s good for vocations.

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  18. RichardC says:

    @ ContraMundum

    One thing I like about Jesus, is that He isn’t afraid or ashamed to talk about money.

    @ the readership at large

    My advise to homosexuals is to be wary of same sex marriage. One day same sex marriage could be used to identify and and kill homosexuals. Homosexuals, remember, the state may be your friend today, but tomorrow is another story.

  19. ContraMundum says:

    @RichardC

    I have no idea what you intended in your comment. Did Jesus talk about money? Yes: He said in numerous ways and on numerous occasions not to worry about it too much. If you have trouble finding the references, just ask.

    My comment was in response to Fr. Jim’s statement that the economy is a more important concern than “gay marriage”. Sarcasm aside, the problem with Fr. Jim’s take on this is that poverty is a physical evil, whereas encouraging sin is a moral evil. Moral evils are always more serious than physical evils.

  20. RichardC says:

    @ ContraMundum

    Well, it is true that encouraging or ratifying moral evil is a moral evil. Imo, the insane size and never-ending spending of Western governments is also a moral evil.

  21. Indulgentiam says:

    @ Richard C–”My advise to homosexuals is to be wary of same sex marriage. One day same sex marriage could be used to identify and and kill homosexuals. Homosexuals, remember, the state may be your friend today, but tomorrow is another story.”
    I believe that people who engage in homosexuality have a bigger problem at the moment than worrying about the “State” killing them. From the CDC—-
    “Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) represent approximately 2% of the US population, yet are the population most severely affected by HIV and are the only risk group in which new HIV infections have been increasing steadilysince the early 1990s. In 2006, MSM accounted for more than half (53%) of all new HIV infections in the United States.” http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/msm/index.htm

    They are their own worst enemy. What these poor souls need is the Truth, just as The Church teaches it, presented to them in charity. And of course our prayers and penances for the salvation of their souls.

  22. ContraMundum says:

    @RichardC

    The problem of out-of-control spending is a problem, but (1) it really *is* a problem, meaning all potential solutions have drawbacks and there is no single solution that is obviously “best”, and (2) it is a bipartisan product which neither side is serious about addressing.

    So saying that we need to solve that problem first, while having absolutely no intention of actually solving it, means that the speaker has no interest in avoiding the moral evil.

  23. RichardC says:

    @ Indulgentiam

    I humbly agree.

    @Contramundum

    If the by ‘the speaker’ you mean me, then I differ. Men can come to their sense, even presidents and congressmen.

  24. ContraMundum says:

    Actually, I meant both you and Fr. Jim, along with anyone else who thinks it is more important how wealthy we are than what kind of people we are. The economy is a mess: I’ll grant that. Part of the reason for that, as well as being a problem in its own right, is the reckless spending by politicians of both parties: I’ll grant that. Using that as an excuse not to defend what’s left of a sane understanding of marriage, however, simply dishonest.

    It is like a president saying he would work to fix the economy or bring the fighting in Afghanistan to an end, but first he needs to make sure there is a playoff system in college football that everyone agrees to and get the American League and the National League on the same page wrt designated hitters. For all the ink that has been spilled over these last two controversies, they’re really not that important, and they make for exceedingly lame excuses for inaction.

  25. Rachel K says:

    I was on the pilgrimage and at the Mass and the sermon was amazing- quite unlike anything we have heard in a long time. At least one person was in tears- of joy and surprise! To our great delight(we are still on a high) our seven year old daughter received her First Holy Communion from the Bishop at this Mass! We also live in his diocese- how privileged we feel!
    Please keep Bishop Davies in your prayers as we do here- you will all realise how much his words and actions upset the opposition.

  26. Torch of The Faith says:

    We were blessed to be at the Mass in Walsingham for our Goddaughter’s First Holy Communion when Bishop Mark Davies gave this very encouraging sermon.

    Given the weightiness of this moment for the future of our nation and the place of Walsingham in England’s Catholic heritage, the delivery of this homily on Monday is of no small historical importance.

    Bishop Mark consistently gives courageous and joyful witness to the truths of our Faith whilst clearly demonstrating the essential harmony of faith and reason.

    Please do pray for Bishop Mark Davies and for all the Catholics in our land in these challenging days.