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Saturday, 12 January 2013

Now would be a good time for Cameron to start listening

In one of the largest joint letters of its kind, over 1000 priests have signed a letter to the Daily Telegraph calling on MPs to reject the legislation for same-sex marriage. Here is the text:
Same-sex marriage law

SIR – After centuries of persecution, Catholics have, in recent times, been able to be members of the professions and participate fully in the life of this country.

Legislation for same-sex marriage, should it be enacted, will have many legal consequences, severely restricting the ability of Catholics to teach the truth about marriage in their schools, charitable institutions or places of worship. 
It is meaningless to argue that Catholics and others may still teach their beliefs about marriage in schools and other arenas if they are also expected to uphold the opposite view at the same time.

The natural complementarity between a man and a woman leads to marriage, seen as a lifelong partnership. This loving union – because of their physical complementarity – is open to bringing forth and nurturing children.

This is what marriage is. That is why marriage is only possible between a man and a woman. Marriage, and the home, children and family life it generates, is the foundation and basic building block of our society.

We urge Members of Parliament not to be afraid to reject this legislation now that its consequences are more clear.
The list of signatories is given on the Telegraph Letters page.

The third sentence makes an important point when it says that it is meaningless to say that we are free to teach our beliefs if we are also expected to teach the opposite view at the same time. The question of teaching something as true is at the heart of the debate over the freedom of the Church to teach. The Metropolitan elite want to pretend that they do not teach anything as objectively true but that they respect everyone's views. Any first year Philosophy undergraduate could see that this is incoherent since the principle of relativism is itself taught as an absolute truth which nobody may deny.

As Damian Thompson observes, this is not just a letter from traditionalists, but from priests across a wide spectrum of views within the Church. I found it very encouraging that priests who I thought might have just ignored the letter (that's all they had to do) took the trouble to sign it and post it in to the organisers. I am proud to stand beside them. This issue, and the firm and clear witness of our Bishops in the matter, has united the Catholic Church in our country. Congratulations to the young and dynamic priests who organised this highly significant act of witness.

Now would be a good time for Mr Cameron to start listening to the strength of opposition to his foolish and dangerous proposal. If he doesn't, those who hold influence in his party would be well-advised to bring him in for an "Interview Without Coffee."
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