Thinking Anglicans

Roman Catholic memo on Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill

The Tablet has published correspondence between the Roman Catholic Bishops Conference and the Government, see Catholic schools will be forced to teach about gay marriage.

The documents are:

Letter from Maria Miller dated 1 February

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales: MEMORANDUM Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill: House of Commons Committee Stage dated 11 February

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales Memorandum Explanatory Note

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales was in correspondence with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Maria Miller, prior to second reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. Following a meeting on the 16th January, Maria Miller sent Archbishop Peter Smith a letter dated the 2nd February 2013. This letter was submitted to the Public Bill Committee, along with a memorandum in response, on Monday 11th February. The memorandum and letter constituted the written evidence of CBCEW and have been attached with this document.

The memorandum sets out the possible adverse effects that the Bill will have on the religious freedom of the Catholic Church, Church-related institutions and bodies, and individuals…

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David ShepherdFather Ron Smithrobert ian WilliamsSpirit of Vatican IIIain McLean Recent comment authors
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Father Ron Smith
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The Roman Catholic hierarchy seems to be very perturbed about the consequences of this Bill. That persuades me that there must be something good about it. Roman Catholic dogmatic decisions have not served their own constituency too well in the past. One only has to look at the response of the laity of that Church to realise that the rule which forbids the use of material contraception is disregarded by the majority of families on the West. Their need for water-tight protections from the possible penalties of the Law, for the R.C. Church would seem to be paramount. No doubt,… Read more »

Jeremy Pemberton
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Jeremy Pemberton

Good news, on the whole. Most importantly because the Catholic bishops now accept that this is going to happen and are not going to attempt to re-open the debate about the principle of the thing, and also explicitly say that their concerns as expressed in their submission are not intended as “wrecking” amendments. Reading through their submission I think they mostly want a very high level of clarity about what elements of the law mean – not a bad thing in itself. And they do admit that none of the negative consequences they fear from the passage of this legislation… Read more »

David Shepherd
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Yet, Maria Miller in her response to correspondence from the Catholic Bishops Conference states: ‘Clause 2 of the Bill protects anyone who takes part in the solemnisation of a religious marriage’. Again, she declares, ‘we are completely confident that the Convention does not require the UK to force religious organisations to conduct marriages for same-sex couples if that is against their religious doctrines’. This focus on the organisation, rather than the individual: it’s (to reverse the adage) ‘not seeing the trees for the wood’. Hence, she says: ‘any interference in the rights of a same-sex couple would be justified’. If,… Read more »

John Wirenius
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Well, it’s an interesting submission, in that it purports to not be a call for “wrecking amendments” but its recommendations are fairly vague, requiring further discussion and exploration. Is it unduly cynical to suspect delay for delay’s sake, in the hope that the coalition for marriage will fail? I’m also struck by the fact that, as in the U.S. (although far more politely than the USCCB re Obama) are pushing for an individual exemption for civil clerks, registrars, etc., who are religiously opposed to SSM. The submission states that “the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion in Article… Read more »

Nat
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Nat

What on earth does “teach about same-sex marriage” mean? That Catholic schools will need to promote it? No, clearly. That they will need to acknowledge that it exists? Yes, probably – and so much the better – it might actually save a few of the children learning that they are not alone in the world.

Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts
Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts
Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

Unfortunately the most high-ranking RC in the UK has now been accused himself. It is all ‘getting beyond a joke’ (as they say). Laugh or cry. Hard to take the relentless accusations, rumours and a system that lacks reassurance – both here and at the Vatican.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/23/cardinal-keith-o-brien-accused-inappropriate

It shows the need for real honesty and humanity about sex and relationships – surely the only way forward with integrity ? And to release people like O’Brien and many others from an unrealistic and personally detrimental burden.

John
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John

Completely agree with you, Laurence.

Iain McLean
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Iain McLean

As Jeremy says, the tone is striking. The RC bishops and their lawyers have accepted that this will become law and are seeking mitigations (most of which, if I were the Bill’s manager, I would grant, except in relation to civil registrars). Contrast that with the Canutes who describe themselves as “the” C of E.

Spirit of Vatican II
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Spirit of Vatican II

Are schools forced to “teach about” divorce?

robert ian Williams
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robert ian Williams

All Catholic GCSE RE text books look at contraception and explain in detail the different types. This is done from a dispassionate perspective , as the criteria for answering questions at GCSE are not based on dogmatic bias.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Robert, would you please tell your local (Roman Catholic) bishops of this truth: that though R.C. teachers may have to acknowledge Same Sex Marriage, they do not have to promote it? Do you think that will help the R.C. hierarchy to harbour a little less paranoia about the subject?

David Shepherd
Guest

I agree that it’s unlikely that faith schools will be under an obligation to use specific materials, such as ‘Out in school’ enforsed by the Terrence Higgins Trust.

I’m not particularly convinced by commenters here that the fate of Adrian Smith (the housing manager who was demoted for describing same-sex marriage in church as ‘an equality too far’ on his personal Facebook page in his own time) will not befall any teachers.

As we know, there are management tactics that fall short of the legal compulsion that the bill seeks to thwart