Bishops of England and Wales about passage of same-sex ‘marriage’

From the Bishops of England and Wales (emphases mine):

Statement on on the passing of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act

Statement by the President and Vice-President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales

In receiving Royal Assent, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act marks a watershed in English law and heralds a profound social change. This fact is acknowledged by both advocates and opponents of the Act.

Marriage has, over the centuries, been publicly recognised as a stable institution which establishes a legal framework for the committed relationship between a man and a woman and for the upbringing and care of their children. It has, for this reason, rightly been recognised as unique and worthy of legal protection.

The new Act breaks the existing legal links between the institution of marriage and sexual complementarity. With this new legislation, marriage has now become an institution in which openness to children, and with it the responsibility on fathers and mothers to remain together to care for children born into their family unit, are no longer central. That is why we were opposed to this legislation on principle.

Along with others, we have expressed real concern about the deficiencies in the process by which this legislation came to Parliament, and the speed with which it has been rushed through. We are grateful particularly therefore to those Parliamentarians in both Houses who have sought to improve the Bill during its passage, so that it enshrines more effective protection for religious freedom.

A particular concern for us has also been the lack of effective protection for Churches which decide not to opt-in to conducting same sex marriages. [They’ll be gunning for you guys over there now.] Amendments made in the House of Lords though have significantly strengthened the legal protections in the Act for the Churches. We also welcome the Government’s amendment to the Public Order Act which makes it clear beyond doubt that “discussion or criticism of marriage which concerns the sex of the parties to the marriage shall not be taken of itself to be threatening or intended to stir up hatred”. [For now.] Individuals are therefore protected from criminal sanction under the Public Order Act when discussing or expressing disagreement with same sex marriage.

In other respects, however, the amendments we suggested have not been accepted. We were concerned to provide legislative clarity for schools with a religious character. This was in order to ensure that these schools will be able to continue to teach in accordance with their religious tenets. Given the potential risk that future guidance given by a Secretary of State for education regarding sex and relationships education could now conflict with Church teaching on marriage, we were disappointed that an amendment to provide this clarity was not accepted.  The Minister made clear in the House of Lords, however, that in “having regard” to such guidance now or in the future schools with a religious character can “take into account other matters, including in particular relevant religious tenets”, and that “having regard to a provision does not mean that it must be followed assiduously should there be good reason for not doing so”. These assurances go some way to meeting the concerns we and others expressed.

We were disappointed that a number of other amendments to safeguard freedom of speech and the rights of civil registrars to conscientious objection were not passed. But Ministerial assurances have been made […riiiiiight…]that no one can suffer detriment or unfavourable treatment in employment because she or he holds the belief that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

The legal and political traditions of this country are founded on a firm conviction concerning the rights of people to hold and express their beliefs and views, at the same time as respecting those who differ from them. It is important, at this moment in which deeply held and irreconcilable views of marriage have been contested, to affirm and strengthen this tradition.

For more information please visit our section ‘Speak Out For Marriage‘.

Well written.  Alas, I fear it will make little difference.

But, whether or not it is effective is not the point.

We must continue to struggle for religious freedom and for the truth about marriage.  Even if we lose, we retain our moral capital and – I hope – the friendship of Almighty God.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in New Evangelization, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. I am cloudowl says:

    I admit that this is very uncharitable, but these ministerial assurances are meaningless. The government has no intention of offending the “yooman rights” lobby (read: PC censors).

  2. Traductora says:

    For some reason, this disturbing news really hit me today. Who in the world, 10 or perhaps even only 5 years ago, would ever have thought that the bishops of England – or any country – would have to issue such a statement? How did this happen so fast?

  3. servulus indignus Christi says:

    Well if someone were to ask me what I think…I would say that this is a weak text authored by a weak episcopate (or rather a weak episcopate’s weak sub sub committee on Marriage). When is the episcopate, universal or national (and the Holy Father for that matter), going to recognize that Christ has rights over every nation, people and over all the laws and quit this stop-short game of politely desiring a weak protection here or there written into a law that offends the rights of God and is grossly contrary to natural law? Why should God bless our “struggle” when we content ourselves with such a “well society’s going to hell in a hand basket good enough for them just gives us a weak to be overturned later exemption” mentality? When is the episcopate going to proclaim from the campanili that Christ is King and forcefully in all charity labor to bring about the complimentarity of the laws of the land to the laws of God? I’m so sick of tepidity…. and awaiting and praying for Pius XIII.

  4. Cordelio says:

    “With this new legislation, marriage has now become an institution in which openness to children, and with it the responsibility on fathers and mothers to remain together to care for children born into their family unit, are no longer central.”

    Much of the opposition to same-sex marriage strikes me as trying to close the barn door after the cows have already gone.

    The legalization of abortion, artificial contraception, and before that divorce, had already removed openness to children and the responsibility of parents toward their children as justifications for society’s special recognition of marriage. We know that, with one glorious exception, the Catholic bishops of England let the whole divorce thing go without much useful opposition. It would be interesting to know what, if any, organized public opposition they raised to the legalization of abortion and contraception.

    If they were like their American confreres, not much.

  5. Dave N. says:

    In my view, this is a parade example of the benefits of the separation of church and state. With the Queen (the head of the Church of England) giving her royal assent to this legislation, it seems that Catholic Church in England and Wales is at a decided disadvantage in attempting to hold any kind of position in favor of traditional marriage.

    And the Church of England’s ban on same-sex marriage is moribund.

  6. Kathleen10 says:

    If you take a look at the “Defend the Family” website, written and headed by the admirable Pastor Scott Lively (also an attorney I believe) you will see that this has actually been a long time coming, and the signs and warnings have been there all the while, but Nero (us) fiddled while Rome burned. Mr. Lively has quite a collection of interesting articles about how this all happened, and connections that will kind of make your head spin, such as the connection between homosexuality and Nazi Germany. He also has an article written by a homosexual, who tells all of us in no uncertain terms what it is the homosexual movement “wants”. You will not like it. It is, to sodomize our boys and to enslave them in sexual bondage and life, to men.
    Reading these articles is both sobering and informative, but it is also a clarion call. We simply cannot afford to go about with our eyes closed and try to pretend this does not exist. It does, and is marching, marching forward with our passive assistance. As I have said before, see the website “Massresistance” to see how it is being actively played out right now, in the state of Massachusetts. The website will tell you point blank how it is in Massachusetts, and the kind of insulting and terrible treatment for pro-family people that is going on right NOW. Imagine showing up to speak on a bill and while the people on the other side of the fence are treated well, get to testify FIRST, you must wait all day and late into the night with your cohorts. Illegal aliens testify before YOU do, and when it is your turn, you are insulted by the committee to whom you have turned as your political “representatives” in order to participate in our democratic process.
    This is what is happening in Massachusetts right now, and it is what awaits all of us in every state, if we do not get educated, get informed, get active, and get out our wallets to try to support our state and federal groups who will fight the battle for us, such as the ACLJ, NOM, the Heritage Foundation, and more.
    It’s a sad education. I certainly don’t want to read about this stuff. It’s ugly, depressing, and frightening, but we can’t afford to hide from this anymore. Realize they are trying to seduce our innocent boys in particular, and corrupt them for life. That is Plan A. This is not about tolerance, not a bit. This is about a distorted and sick agenda, completely in line with Satan and his vile plans for people. When you are tempted to avoid the topic, pretend it doesn’t exist, remember the children you love, and all children, and that we really have to do everything we can to protect them and the society we would pass on to them. When I think of that, I feel like a Marine. That is also why we must take seriously our beloved Catholic church, and be vigilant about our seminaries and who is gaining admission. This is something that eludes me, but, it’s on my mind for sure. On this topic, we must engage.

  7. Stephen D says:

    ‘The amendments that we suggested have not been accepted’. What a surprise! They should have drawn the line before ‘Civil Partnerships’ were introduced and protested loud and long about that but they declared themselves to be more ‘nuanced’ (indifferent) in their approach to that precursor to SSM than Pope Benedict and are thus considered (mostly accurately) as unenthusiastic and ineffective defenders of the faith who will ‘cave in’ with merely mild protest to any liberal law. The ‘gay’ masses that are tolerated (encouraged?) by some of the senior members of the episcopate don’t really inspire confidence that they accept the Church’s teaching in the matter of same sex attraction anyway. I half hope that the government pushes the Church on conducting such ceremonies so that the wolves among the shepherds can be finally and clearly identified.

  8. teomatteo says:

    so…. Prince Whatever can marry a guy and that is O.K. with the Queen, but he couldn’t marry a sweet Catholic girl… ??!?!?

  9. Legisperitus says:

    Now that the State has officially removed the facade of “religious freedom,” it’s time for the Church to put down that same illusory shield and get concerned about TRUTH!

  10. PA mom says:

    I really thought that the Queen would hold the line against this one.

  11. Priam1184 says:

    The whole ‘religious freedom’ thing is a sham. This is about good vs. evil and nothing else. If you just say oh let me be over here in my corner and do things the way I want but all of you can go everywhere else and run roughshod over every moral principle then you will get DEVOURED. There is no compromise with evil. Either stand up to it and fight it right where you are (especially you bishops and priests whose calling this is) or succumb. If you let it in through a crack in the door it will take over your house. Fools.

    @PA mom The Queen can’t do anything. She is just a figurehead who is there for the tourists but otherwise is obligated to do whatever parliament tells her to do.

  12. Priam1184 says:

    @Cordelio You are correct. I get very worked up about same sex marriage because it is just so absurd and ludicrous, but the cows did leave a long time ago. No fault divorce, contraception, abortion, etc. And all of that occurred before I was born. It is the spirit of our age I guess to throw ourselves off the cliff of morality and of history I guess and we will have to bear that cross. It is hard to watch all of this destruction and annihilation of peoples’ lives though and to see it championed as being so good and right.

  13. James Joseph says:

    I think the Queen saw the writing on the wall and despaired. How else could one explain it?

    I am all but certain that she is certainly not militantly atheistic like her forebear Victoria, who’s own anti-religious sentiment and crusade to insult her grandson’s evangelical faith, the nuttily nit witted Wilhelm II, fomented the First World War, that great and terrible family feud.

    If it is true as they say regarding Tolkien being the high-water mark of 1,500-years of English culture, then I think it is not too much of a strand to stand on when I have little hope for the great-northwest of Europe. The sun has set on the island.

    She is in her last gasps. England will be no more.

  14. Gratias says:

    Euthanasia coming to a village near yours next.

  15. Clinton R. says:

    So tragic Mary’s Dowry has become yet another nation that has fallen into the cesspool. A once strong Catholic country has chosen instead to follow the wicked ways of the world. And for the Queen to give her royal approval? I guess she fails to realize she has many more yesterdays than tomorrows and her Particular Judgement draws ever so near. And how will this homo ‘marriage’ nonsense square with the rapid Islamization of the UK? The Mohammedans are not exactly the most tolerant of folks.

    But yet, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth? Luke 18:8

  16. JARay says:

    Totally tragic.

  17. pannw says:

    Cordelio is absolutely correct. This legislation didn’t just form out of thin air. It has been building for many many years and we in these USA are following right on their heels. It will not end well, for anyone, including the homosexuals engaged in this fallacy. We have been warned. It is clearly spelled out in Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans 1. He could have been writing it to us specifically, but so many refuse to see. The way he describes so exactly what we have done and permitted, the last sentence he wrote should send the fear of God into every heart. Who, having known the justice of God, did not understand that they who do such things, are worthy of death; and not only they that do them, but they also that consent to them that do them.

    God forgive us and have mercy on us all, especially my children.

  18. yatzer says:

    All of this gives me great anxiety for my grandchildren. I pray for them and their father, my son, but we seem to be ants confronted by an ocean.

  19. jesusthroughmary says:

    Add this to the list of abominable laws for which The Queen will have to answer before Almighty God at the dreadful day of judgement when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed. For be ye well assured, that so many as are coupled together otherwise than God’s Word doth allow are not joined together by God; neither is their Matrimony lawful.

  20. StWinefride says:

    She is in her last gasps. England will be no more”.

    “When England returns to Walsingham, Our Lady will return to England”.
    Pope Leo XIII

    O Mary, recall the solemn moment when Jesus, your divine Son,
    dying on the cross confided us to your maternal care.
    You are our Mother; we desire ever to remain your devout children.
    Let us therefore feel the effects of your powerful intercession with Jesus Christ.
    Make your name again glorious in this place, once renowned throughout our land
    by your visits, favours and many miracles.
    Pray, O Holy Mother of God, for the conversion of England, restoration of the sick,
    consolation for the afflicted, repentance of sinners, peace to the departed.
    O Blessed Mary, Mother of God, Our Lady of Walsingham intercede for us.

    Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us!!

  21. Fr AJ says:

    The sweep of this across the west is really hard to fathom. I recently read a Barna study that that said the percent of practicing Catholics in the US who say same sex marriage is morally acceptable almost doubled from 19% in 2003 to 39% in 2013. Meanwhile the percentage of Evangelical protestants who think same sex marriage is morally acceptable declined from 5% to 2%.

  22. Simon_GNR says:

    Teomatteo: I believe the law on royal marriages is to be changed. An heir/heiress to the British throne will be able to marry whoever he/she likes, whether Protestant, Catholic or Hindu (or whatever), BUT he/she him/herself will have to remain Protestant if they are to succeed to the throne, and undertake to have the children brought up as Protestants if those children are to be in the line of succession to the throne. It seems quite reasonable to me that the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, a Protestant church, should have to be a Protestant.
    As for same-sex marriage by an heir/heiress to the throne, as such a union could not produce any legitimate “natural” children, I presume the succession would be unaffected by any children the same-sex couple might adopt or have brought into existence by surrogacy or using donated ova or sperm. So the throne would pass to the deceased monarch’s younger siblings/cousins (or the latters’ legitimate “natural” children) as the case may be.

  23. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    A constitutional crisis would have been interesting (to use a grossly inadequate word), if the Queen had quietly but emphatically refused, though I do not feel good at guessing how that would have worked out. There is the curious precedent of King Baudouin. As the Wikipedia tells it, “In 1990, when a law submitted by Roger Lallemand and Lucienne Herman-Michielsens, liberalising Belgium’s abortion laws, was approved by Parliament, he refused to give Royal Assent to the bill. This was unprecedented; although Baudoin was nominally Belgium’s chief executive, Royal Assent has long been a formality (as is the case in most constitutional and popular monarchies). However, due to his religious convictions, Baudouin asked the Government to declare him temporarily unable to reign so that he could avoid signing the measure into law. The Government under Wilfried Martens complied with his request on 4 April 1990. According to the provisions of the Belgian Constitution, in the event the King is temporarily unable to reign, the Government as a whole fulfills the role of Head of State. All members of the Government signed the bill, and the next day (5 April 1990) the Government declared that Baudouin was capable of reigning again.” After which, he presided over a Belgium which had that law… Will Philippe, after he succeeds to the Throne tomorrow ( assuming that occurs), do any more to undo the evil than his father, King Albert, or uncle, King Baudouin, did during the past 23 years?

Comments are closed.