Comments: Same sex marriage in Scotland and the UK

Among other things the RC Archbishop states: "Marriage was not instituted by civil society, though civil society saw its importance and defended it through its laws. However many of the laws relating to marriage, certainly in the west, arose out of the Church’s own laws and there are countries which still recognise the Church’s competence in this field."

I am amazed that this man actually thinks that marriage began with the Church. This is nonsense. The Church certainly did not exist at the point of the marriage feast in Cana. So what was it if not a marriage?

The sheer arrogance of Roman prelates is breathtaking.

Posted by Deacon Charlie Perrin at Wednesday, 12 October 2011 at 5:16pm BST

I take it that Kelvin Holdsworth is not familiar with Eugene F Rogers' argument for gay marriage (, which draws on the parable of the wedding feast.

Posted by Savi Hensman at Wednesday, 12 October 2011 at 10:15pm BST

The Church existed from the dawn of the old Covenant it was the ethnic nation of Israel.

jesus found marriage as a creation ordinance and turned it into a sacrament between Christians.

The Church helped stamp out polygamy and even the Jews suspended it.

Posted by Robert ian Williams at Wednesday, 12 October 2011 at 10:18pm BST

'I am amazed that this man actually thinks that marriage began with the Church'. Well, that not what your quote indicates.

He's simply indicating that:
1. marriage existed before civil society enacted laws - true
2. Many civil laws (not all) relating to marriage were developed from church law, so its expertise in codifying marriage laws is still recognised. He qualifies it by saying 'certainly in the West' - true.

I don't he is claiming that canon law relating to marriage predates the civil law in this area.

Perhaps, he said other things that weren't accurate, the statement that you quote is true.

Posted by David Shepherd at Wednesday, 12 October 2011 at 11:15pm BST

Of all the articles on this thread - about the subject of Same-Sex Marriage, the most heartening was that of Fr. Kelvin Holdsworth, who compared the dismissed guest without an appropriate wedding garment - in the Matthean parable of the Wedding Feast - to the problematic gay person/couple whose presence at the feast is considered unwelcome.

Of course, this presumes that the King in the parable is not God, but an earthly authority (perhaps in this case 'The Church') that still considers the Gay person as 'unworthy' - with no clothing of righteousness appropriate to the occasion.

Granted, this requires a new attempt to explain this difficult parable, where the tradition has been to see the 'King' as God, and the unworthy guest as someone unfitted to take part in the Banquet. In a sermon in my own parish Church on the same Sunday, the preacher asked us to imagine the King as being an earthly potentate, displeased at the unorthodoxy of the (uninvited) guest. He then asked us to imagine the possibility of Jesus, as being the interloper - cast into out darkness because of his revolutionary understanding of God as a welcoming Host - welcoming all and sundry to the banquet. This makes a resonance with the idea of Christ as rejected by the authorities, because of his insistence on God's hospitality to the most rejected and outcast of God's children.

The Roman Catholic Leaders, on the other hand, sound more like the King in the parable - in their rejection of the claims of gay people to be a part of the Heavenly Banquet, with the same rights to loving partnerships as the other guests.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 12 October 2011 at 11:29pm BST

Roman Prelates have become a laughing stock when they speak about the issue involving same gender marriages. They come across as homophobic, ignorant and unable to sell their "theological position" on this subject. They appear as hypocrites and out of touch with the generations who are younger. They appear as fools. They do not practice or preach the inclusive love of Jesus. They have lost their authority and it continues to spiral down. The imperial model of the Roman Catholic hierarchy is on its' last breath. It is dying rapidly because it does not reflect the true teachings of Jesus and is hopelessly out of touch with the rest of the Church and the world we live in. Civil marriages of same gender couples is here to stay and the sooner the puritanical rage expressed by many bishops from the Anglican, Orthodox and Roman traditions calms down, the better for the rest of us.

Posted by Chris Smith at Wednesday, 12 October 2011 at 11:58pm BST

'The idea that same-sex partnerships undermine marriage is surely wrong: if anything it strengthens the institution in an age when it is under threat from divorce and co-habitation'. - from an article by Iain McWhirter in the Herald Scotland 13th October.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Thursday, 13 October 2011 at 9:45am BST

Abp Conti seems muddled. He equates gay marriage with promiscuity and proceeds to invoke Christian values against the latter, unaware that the same values are invoked by advocates of the former. He is only repeating the Vatican's talking points, and these are so tawdry that there is not much that can be done with them.

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Thursday, 13 October 2011 at 10:00am BST

Promiscuity is a target for discouragement by the Churches around the world. If only we could accept the fact that the advocacy of Gay Marriage is a movement to encourage homosexual people to commit themselves to faithful monogamous partnerships, this could be an encouragement to the majority heterosexual persons to make a similar commitment.

However, if the Church continues to refuse the benefits of Christian Marriage for Gays, do not be too surprised if heterosexual people refuse to commit themselves to the discipline of Marriage. This would not be a 'tit-for-tat' reaction from heterosexual people, but rather an attitude of: "Well, if Gays don't have to marry to enjoy a sexual relationship, why should we be expected to have to commit to marriage?"

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 14 October 2011 at 11:07am BST

"Well, if Gays don't have to marry to enjoy a sexual relationship, why should we be expected to have to commit to marriage?"

This conversation seems to be stuck in a bit of a time warp.
A few very religious people aside, no-one is getting married so they can have sex, there are very very few people who marry as virgins and no-one is expecting them to. They generally ignore the ones who do expect this with wry amusement.

Marriage is about a lifelong commitment to the other for love. It’s a promise to the other to hang in there even when times are tough. It’s a promise that the other no longer has to fear to be left and chucked aside, that they can relax into the security of being a couple.
It has nothing to do with sex. It's a step up, a deepening of an existing relationship, sometimes entered into for the legal security it confers but usually because a couple really does want to just spend the rest of their lives with each other.

We really really need to get rid of this obsession with sex. It is it just one of those things that is part of your life as a couple from quite early on in most people’s relationships. Important, yes, but something you do and then get on with the rest of your life - like with the hard and rewarding task to stay close to your partner.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 14 October 2011 at 12:34pm BST

Erika, of course you are correct when you say that marriage is not (necessarily) about sex. However, it is often an important component - that is why Gays who are members of the Church, and who value their innate sexuality, want their relationship to receive the same dignity of Blessing as other people.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 17 October 2011 at 9:17am BST

The gay people I know, including my wife and I did not want our relationship to be blessed because of sex.
Sex is an important component of a relationship, whether this is a marriage or a permanent partnership.
It is completely irrelevant to a decision to move from being a couple or living togeether to getting married.
There are many important reasons for getting married. For most of us, sex is not one of them because it is an integral part of our relationship, married or not.
The reasons for getting married are far far more important than mere sex.

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 17 October 2011 at 5:36pm BST
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