Remarks of prelates concerning marriage.

Biretta tip   o{]:¬)  to my friend the great Fr. Blake, parish priest of St. Mary Magdalen in Brighton.  He picked up something from the site of John Smeaton, director of Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), which Fr. Finigan told me during my last visit is the oldest pro-life organization around.

These excerpts speak for themselves.

The Pope received the Hungarian ambassador during the week, he had some very important things to say on marriage.

“Marriage and the family constitute the decisive foundation for a healthy development of the civil society of countries and peoples,” the Pontiff affirmed.

He noted that “marriage as a basic form of ordering the relationship between man and woman and, at the same time, as basic cell of the state community, has also been molded by biblical faith.””Thus marriage has given Europe its particular aspect and its humanism, also and precisely because it has had to learn to acquire continually the characteristic of fidelity and of renunciation traced by it,” the Holy Father said.

On the other hand, the Pope added, it is “because of the different types of union which have no foundation in the history of the culture and of law in Europe.”

“The Church cannot approve legislative initiatives that imply a valuation of alternative models of the life of the couple and the family,” he stated.

“These contribute to the weakening of the principles of the natural law and, hence, to the relativization of the whole of legislation, in addition to the awareness of values in society,” the Pontiff said.Thus he affirmed that “the Holy See notes with interest of the efforts of the political authorities to elaborate a change in the constitution,” which would “make reference in the preamble to the legacy of Christianity.”

The Holy Father added, “Also desirable is that the new constitution be inspired by Christian values, particularly in what concerns the position of marriage and the family in society and the protection of life.”He asserted, “Europe will no longer be Europe if this basic cell of the social construction disappears or is substantially transformed.””We all know how much risk marriage and the family run today,” Benedict XVI acknowledged.
He explained that on one hand, these are at risk “because of the erosion of its most profound values of stability and indissolubility, because of a growing liberalization of the right of divorce and of the custom, increasingly widespread, of man and woman living together without the juridical form and protection of marriage.”John Smeaton contrasts his words with the EngCath presentation:

•Archbishop Nichols, the archbishop of Westminster, who said on BBC TV that he did not know “whether the Catholic church should one day accept the reality of gay partnerships”

•Archbishop Nichols who said on BBC TV, the day after Pope Benedict left Britain for Rome, that the Catholic Bishops of Conference of England and Wales “did NOT oppose gay civil partnerships, we recognised that in English law there might be a case for those. We persistently said that these are not the same as marriage”

•Bishop McMahon, the bishop of Nottingham, who is open to headteachers of Catholic schools being in same sex unions and who says the Church is not opposed to civil partnerships (Bishop McMahon is chairman of the Catholic Education Service of England and Wales)

•Archbishop Nichols who, questioned about his support for the provision of Masses for homosexuals who openly dissent from Catholic teaching, told those who oppose what’s going on to “hold their tongue”.Ummm….

Curious difference in approach, no?

That last part needs greater explication.  From the site of SPUC.

Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster – and Bishops McMahon’s predecessor as CES chairman – was also interviewed by Mr Dowd. Archbishop Nichols was asked about the regular provision of Masses for a homosexual group in a central London parish, and the equally regular protests by faithful pro-life/pro-family Catholics against that provision.

Archbishop Nichols said:

“anybody from the outside who is trying to cast a judgement on the people who come forward for Communion [there], really ought to learn to hold their tongue.”Yet this totally ignores the evidence that the Soho Masses are organised by and for Catholics who dissent from the Church’s teaching on homosexuality,….

John Smeaton added on the SPUC blog:

Cardinal Raymond Burke, the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, gave strong support to Catholics who refuse to hold their tongues about such matters. He said:

“Lying or failing to tell the truth, however, is never a sign of charity. A unity … not founded on the truth of the moral law is not the unity of the Church. The Church’s unity is founded on speaking the truth with love … “

You decide.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. digdigby says:

    “Lying or failing to tell the truth, however, is never a sign of charity…”
    Cardinal-Elect Burke
    Ubi caritas est, claritas est.

  2. Magpie says:

    It’s a popular idea in the Church – ‘unity’ that is not based on truth. It is based on an idea that everything is just fine on the surface, but underneath is a multitude of sin and division between right and wrong. Unity not based on truth is not unity, obviously. But I’ve been told off by a priest for promoting disunity by pointing out or highlighting error and dissent.

  3. Interesting to see…The Bishops’ should be echoing the words of the Holy Father!

  4. Brad says:

    Purposefully holding one’s tongue by not rebuking a sinner (or accepting being rebuked!) is itself a supreme act of uncharity because we abandon a brother to sin and thus possible damnation. Thus our own uncharity will be judged.

    What is wrong with this world nowadays when it is politically incorrect to offer the sick some medicine? Doubly so from within the Church. Woe, woe!

    But I guess my question is rhetorical: “what is wrong” is clearly we are being given trials of faith by both God and the devil in a way that previous ages were not.

  5. Supertradmum says:

    But the Church IS against civil unions, so I do not know where Nichols is getting his information. It is time for the Pope to issue a world-wide declaration, again, on this so that there is not a doubt in British Catholic minds on this. I detest how weaselly the above bishops seem to be. God bless them, but how many people are they leading astray by their cowardice? Cormac came out against the adoption bill, abortion, embryonic research, and contraception, head-to-head with Blair’s government on such things. Nichols does not seem up to the task. (I know Cormac wasn’t perfect, especially regarding the EF, but he did make a scene and go public on some key issues).

  6. JMody says:

    AND, to pile on after Supertradmum, he should issue a VERY SHORT, CONCISE, maybe even BLUNT declaration. And he should use the royal We of all but his most recent predecessors!

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