ENGLAND: 1000 priests and bishops sign letter against redefinition of marriage

Today the UK’s daily The Telegraph published a letter to the editor signed by some 1000 priests and bishops about the Tory party’s attempts to redefine marriage.

One quarter of the priests in England.

I am proud of my brethren across the way for standing up and saying “No!”

My friend Fr. Blake writes about the letter HERE and HERE.

Mr friend Fr. Finigan writes HERE.

The site of the Latin Mass Society provides a copy HERE.

I was pleased to see the names of Bishops Peter Brignall (Wrexham), Terence Drainey (Middlesbrough), Philip Egan (Portsmouth), Malcolm McMahon (Nottingham), Mgr Keith Newton (Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham) as well as Abbots from all parts of Ol’Blighty.

I’ll bet the list of the fairly recently formed Confraternity of Catholic Clergy lines up well with the subscribers.  I recognize the names of many friends, including the the great Fr. Finigan,  the aforementioned Fr. Blake, Frs. Marcus Holden, Ian Ker, Aidan Nichols OP, Alexander Sherbrooke, and Charles Briggs.

I hope there is a mechanism by which late-comers who were perhaps impeded from signing will be able to join their names to the others.

This is a list that you don’t want not to be on.

Perhaps the Papal Nuncio will look at that list when studying a terna.

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  1. Supertradmum says:

    Yes, if I were the Pope, I would be considering a red hat for the bishops and the empty or soon to be empty bishoprics from that list of priests. Praise God for real leadership.

  2. pmullane says:

    Thank you Fathers, thanks be to God for holy priests.

  3. Trisagion says:

    I, too, hope that there’s a mechanism for others to sign. I see my Bishop, all three VGs and over half the Cathedral Chapter of my diocese amongst the signatories and yet I have, today, spoken to eight priests of my diocese who were not approached, all of whom would have signed. I also note that there are over 800 permanent deacons in England and Wales (this legislation doesn’t apply to Scotland (which has its own proposals) or Northern Ireland) and not one of them appears to have been asked to sign. I am one of them and would welcome the opportunity to publicly indicate my support.

  4. Hidden One says:

    This calls for a Te Deum.

  5. jbosco88 says:

    Truly brave. I know several of these Priests are almost polar opposites on their “interpretations” of Church teachings and level of obedience to the Holy Father etc. BUT this is heartening.

    Interesting to note there aren’t many Jesuits or Salesians on there, but plenty of Oratorians and Carmelites. Perhaps the future for England?

  6. frdgss says:

    Does anyone know who drew up the invitation-to-sign list? And on what basis? None of my priest colleagues were approached – and, like me, would have gladly signed the letter.

  7. frjim4321 says:

    Kind of reminds me of a “priests for life” petition that circulated many, many years ago. Priests were pressured to sign because they were going to take out a full-page add in the paper and print the names of those who signed. I think an ulterior (or not so much) motive was to shame any who did not sign. Since I’m not really into loyalty oaths and things of that nature I did not sign, and I certainly would not have signed this petition because I don’t think this is an issue of redefining anything, as I’ve said before this is about nothing more than equal protection under the law.

  8. eulogos says:

    It is just a question of to whom and to what one is loyal; we truly do not have the option of having no loyalties. And one way or another we will be asked to declare our loyalties.

    Susan Peterson

  9. joecct77 says:

    Well if Her Majesty’s Government passes such an act, and then makes it a crime to oppose such an act, I wonder if we’ll repeat what happened in England post 1532?

  10. Andkaras says:

    Oh look!Fr. Kerr is on there ! I wonder if he has a blog. He should .So interesting but even closed captioning can’t keep up with him,his mind and lips are so fast.

  11. Trisagion says:

    frjim4321 whilst you bend over backwards to demonstrate just how much smarter than everyone else you are, you could usefully use your time in reading the proposals in England and Wales. In doing so, you would doubtless learn that equal protection under the law is specifically legislated for in the Civil Partnership legislation. The current proposals are, as the Secretary of State admitted in the House of Commons just before Christmas, specifically and precisely about the redefinition of marriage in English Law. Whatever legislative proposals might contain wherever you are, here they are about redefinition and provide not one single additional measure of equal protection under the law.

  12. leutgeb says:

    One of the excellent things about this letter is that now when writing to your MP, you can quote the letter and point out that your PP signed it. IE this is something very much pertinent to their constituency.

  13. I hope that this letter, those like it from other Catholics to their MPs and those from people who (whether because of another religious background or for any other reason) understand the true nature and purpose of marriage will convince enough MPs to defeat this legislation. Unfortunately I think that even if it were it would be brought back, again and again, until it was eventually passed. My fear is that it will go through this year and that the measures designed to exempt churches from conducting same sex marriages will be easily overturned by either our Parliament or the European Parliament. Being a Catholic, faithful to the teachings of the Church, in this country may, once again, become very difficult.

  14. pmullane says:

    Trisagion said what I was going to say, but much better than I could. Lets be clear about this, same sex couples can enter into a ‘civil partnership’ in England at this time and have exactly the rights that married couples enjoy. They go to the registry office, say ‘vows’, exchange rings or any other frippery. Many of them say that they are ‘married’, and many of them call each other ‘husband’ or ‘wife’, even though they are no such thing in reality. Legally speaking, they have the same rights to each other as a spouse, and if they wish one or other can take the others name, or synthesise names. If they decide to dissolve the civil partnership, they have the rights that a married couple have when they divorce. What the government proposes to do here is to change the meaning of the word ‘marriage’ to include two people of the same sex. It will have no practical effect on homosexual couples. It is a sop to pressure groups, and these same pressure groups desperately want to criminalise the position of the Church. If any readers think this is about some misguided ‘equality’ are dead straight wrong.

    These priests, and I’m blessed enough to to know a fair few of them, are not men who are ‘cowed’ into signing something that they would not. They are brave, courageous, holy men of God who put truth before political principles or their own safety. They are what men and priests should be, we are blessed to have them and I thank God for them.

  15. frjim4321 says:

    Whatever legislative proposals might contain wherever you are, here they are about redefinition and provide not one single additional measure of equal protection under the law. – Trisagion

    No, I don’t really know what the wording of the legislation is, I’m more familiar with the situation in the U.S.

    That having been said, I do think we learned here that “separate but equal” does not work.

  16. Simon_GNR says:

    It took a while to go through the list of signatories, but I was pleased to find my current parish priest, Fr Bill Bergin, and his predecessor-but-one, Fr Desmond Sexton on the list, as well as the Chancellor of our diocese (Hallam), Mgr David Kirkwood. I searched in vain for our soon-to-retire bishop, John Rawsthorne, however. Here’s hoping that our new bishop, who will be named and appointed in a few months’ time, is on the list. It’s possible that in a few years’ time bishops will be gettiong sent to gaol for refusing to allow same-sex “marriages” to be solemnized in their churches, so someone relatively young and fit would be desirable.

    Two simple points about the proposed change to the law:

    1. Parliament can no more change the nature of marriage so as to include same-sex couples than it can change the laws of chemistry such that in future molecules of water may be made from hydrogen atoms alone or oxygen atoms alone, as well as the accepted combination of hydrogen and oxygen atoms together.

    2. Sexual union is intrinsic to marriage – marriages that are not consummated with sexual intercourse are null and void; sexual activity between members of the same sex is objectively sinful and gravely disordered; therefore, same-sex marriage is wrong, because to consummate it sexually is inherently sinful. (As an aside, what would constitute consummation in a “marriage” between two women?)

  17. Simon_GNR says:

    jbosco88: In my immediately preceding post I mentioned my parish priest Fr Bill Bergin as having signed the letter; he is a former Salesian brother and is proud of his Salesian education as a boy, though he left the Salesians to train as a diocesan priest.

  18. Trisagion says:

    That having been said, I do think we learned here that “separate but equal” does not work.

    frjim4321, that is not the argument being used here. If it was, it would be possible to engage with the assertion, require supporting evidence etc. The argument being used is that the nature of the relationship between two men or two women is no different from that between a man and a woman which we call marriage. Do you believe that, Father, do you?

  19. vetusta ecclesia says:

    One of the curious thing about the proposed UK law (which, it is claimed, is informed by equality and changes nobody’s marriage) is that the legal concept of consummation for validity remains for hetero couples but does not exist for ss couples. Likewise the matrimonial offence of adultery remains for hetero couple but does not exist for ss couples. The legislators find the concepts too difficult to define for ss couples and so are ignoring them! Some equality!

  20. VexillaRegis says:

    Dear vetusta ecclesia: That’s very interesting indeed! Would you please tell us a little bit more about the legislation differences between the two forms of marriges. On this side of The North Sea, the laws are the same for all sorts of couples, no paragraphs for consummation or adultery. Sorry if my legal English isn’t adequate, hope you understand what I mean anyway :-).

  21. wmeyer says:

    Separate but equal, however, have no application to those who constitute a group founded on gravely disordered lives. Were it otherwise, we might similarly grant that NAMBLA, had a right to their practices under law. But then, of course, we would have completely entitled the sins for which Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. Oh, wait, we’re nearly there….

  22. vetusta ecclesia says:

    Vexilla: in English Civil Law (I don’t know about Scottish) consummation is required for validity and non-consummation is a ground for a declaration of nullity. We also have a concept of adultery defined in law and citable in divorce proceedings

  23. bookworm says:

    Meanwhile, on the other side of the Channel, French citizens are taking part in massive protests AGAINST legalizing same-sex marriage…. protests said to be at least as big as the U.S. March for Life.


  24. frjim4321 says:

    1980s gave so much of themselves to build our parish. I suspect with the current level of hostility they would have been long gone.

  25. Cathy says:

    frjim4321, my neighbor in the 1980’s died of aids, at his funeral I learned he had previously been a monk. Hostility didn’t make him long gone, his lifestyle did.

  26. robtbrown says:

    frjim4321 says:

    1980s gave so much of themselves to build our parish. I suspect with the current level of hostility they would have been long gone.

    From Luke

    49 “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! 51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 52 From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

  27. MichaelJ says:

    frjim4321, as Bobby Boucher said ” Once again, I’m not quite sure what that means”.

    Who or what is “1980s”? From your usage, it appears that “1980s” is some kind of…group that did … something

  28. AvantiBev says:

    Our Founding Fathers were so wise in writing the First Amendment to the Constitution. Freedom of speech is inextricably wound up with freedom of religion. The European countries and our Leftists here in the USA, especially those on college campuses, started with speech codes. I will never forget first hearing a TV announcer deem someone’s speech “politically incorrect” back in the early 1990’s. A chill ran down my spine. I could not believe the broadcaster did not hear the echo of Stalinism in the phrase.

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