scmo_banner_news.jpg


Sunday 9 October 2011

Archbishop Mario Conti issues Statement on marriage

To coincide with a national campaign launched across Scotland's Catholic parishes, Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow has released a detailed statement on the Catholic Church's position on the definition of marriage and its response to attempts to dismantle the definition. In his document Archbishop Conti advises, "Those in Government need to be respectfully reminded that a mandate to govern does not include a mandate to reconstruct society on ideological grounds" Refering to proposals to redefine marriage, the Archbishop adds; "The Catholic Church, for one, will not accept it, and indeed will actively campaign against it."

Archbishop Conti's text will form the basis of a letter being sent to all of Scotland's 500 Catholic parishes urging Catholics to complete a declaration in defence of marriage it will be part of a mailing of 100,000 campaign postcards distributed by the Catholic Parliamentary Office encouraging responses to be submitted to the Scottish Government s consultation

The full text of the Archbishops statement is shown below.

ENDS

Peter Kearney
Director
Catholic Media Office
5 St. Vincent Place
Glasgow
G1 2DH
0141 221 1168
07968 122291
pk@scmo.org
www.scmo.org


Statement from Archbishop Mario Conti

Jesus responded to a question on marriage by going right back to the beginning: Have you not read that the Creator, from the beginning, ˜made them male and female , and that he said: ˜This is why a man must leave father and mother and cling to his wife and the two become one body. (Matthew, 19: 4-5)

The question was on divorce, not, as now raised by the Scottish Government, on whether a union of two persons of the same sex might be a marriage .   Indeed that question was unthinkable, and has remained so throughout the Judaeo-Christian era until the present time, and not only within the moral and social order of our own western civilisation, but also in the other great world religions and traditional philosophical systems of thought.

Today s question arises within a largely post-Christian society, which retains certain values which have characterised Christianity, most notably compassion for the disadvantaged and a desire to build inclusive social structures. It is a society, however, which increasingly tolerates sexual promiscuity, while reacting strongly, and rightly so, to all instances of sexual abuse.

However the question would not be asked were it not for the increasing acceptance, wittingly or unwittingly, of a particular ideology which considers all structures and ethical systems as inimical to human freedom.   It places personal autonomy above even physical realities so that, for example, the very determination of one s own sex and gender is regarded as an issue of choice “ even a supposed human right.  

Of course any system of human rights presupposes a legal framework and the ability of individuals to defend what is justly theirs, which is why such an ideology, which, of its nature would tend towards moral anarchy, seeks to have changes in the law to accommodate its demands.

In other words, those who hold to this ideology rely on the modern preoccupation with human rights to press for a change in the concept and definition of marriage to cover what any group in society might want it to be. It provides same sex advocates with a philosophical tool to seek a change in our law and our definition, to serve their own purposes.

While there may be some who, acting out of a religious instinct and desire, wish to receive the blessing of religion on a same sex union - and indeed there may be some ministers of religion desirous to give it - in truth this campaign has very little to do with religion and everything to do with a change in the concept of marriage, ostensibly to grant equality to same sex couples.

The first successful moves in this direction, led Government to introduce the legal instrument of civil partnership. Those of us who foresaw the way that it would likely develop were not in favour of this legal instrument but could be persuaded that it was done in the interests of fairness, ie according to justice, so that same sex couples might enjoy some of the mainly financial and fiscal benefits of married couples.

However it is worth reflecting that discrimination in their favour left other couples, equally engaged in supporting one another, without such legal and fiscal benefits. Indeed in the logic of discrimination as applied today, these latter may well consider themselves as discriminated against!

Those in Government need to be respectfully reminded that a mandate to govern does not include a mandate to reconstruct society on ideological grounds, nor to undermine the very institution which, from the beginning, has been universally acknowledged as of the natural order and the bedrock of society, namely marriage and the family.   In terms of law, its support and defence have been on a par with the defence of life itself. We weaken it at our peril.

There are those who would argue that the contract of two persons in an exclusive sexual relationship is what constitutes marriage. From a Catholic and traditional perspective that is only part of the essence of marriage since it is the procreative aspect of marriage as well as its unity which is of its essence.  
No one versed in Christian teaching can be ignorant of that truth which the Catholic and Orthodox Churches and those who follow their tradition regard as a sacrament, something created by God himself, blessed by Christ, for the spiritual as well as the social and material benefit of those who regard it as a holy state .  

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.  

There is more to marriage therefore, than a service of blessing.   However for a minister of a church to bless a marriage implies that the marriage is in conformity not simply with the laws of the Church, but with the institution itself, which ultimately, as part of the natural order, is instituted by God.

No Church on its own authority, wishing to remain faithful to its Christian heritage, can be justified in unilaterally altering what has been handed down to us from the beginning.

Nor is Christianity alone in holding marriage in such respect. There are many within our own society, members of the great world religions, whose support of the family matches that which we in the Catholic Church ourselves maintain.

While on the face of it, and to many, the redefining of civil partnerships as marriage may seem a small step and one that ought to be taken out of consideration for the feelings of those who are unable to form the relationship with a person of the opposite sex which has traditionally been described as marriage, such a determination by the Government is of serious import and will be rightly resisted by many.    

The Catholic Church, for one, will not accept it, and indeed will actively campaign against it.  

This cannot be seen to be in any way helpful in fulfilling the broader aim of social cohesion by which Government is clearly motivated. It will act to create larger divisions in society and could lead in the future, as we have seen in some of the legislation to date, to gross allegations of discrimination.  

There will be other consequences in law, and social policies stemming from it which need to be taken into account, for example housing provision, social security entitlements and the legitimate expectations of families for support in having and bringing up children on whom the future of society depends, and for which society should make provision.  

Members of the Scottish Parliament should recall what is written on the mace of that institution, words which reflect the traditional cardinal virtues “ those by which everyone must act and most particularly, those who govern.  

Justice is of course included among them, but the first named is prudence, or as expressed on the mace by the word wisdom . Prudence, or wisdom, means taking into account all aspects of one s decisions and actions, seeing them in the broader picture “ described by a sage from the past (Pope St Gregory the Great) as seeing life whole

More than any other, that is the task of Government and it has traditionally been the duty of the Church to offer insightful guidance on moral matters.   The Catholic Church will not fail in attempting to do so, nor in guiding its own members and influencing public opinion towards moral truth.

Subscribe to Updates
Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 83 times   Liked 0 times

Subscribe to Updates

If you enjoyed this, why not subscribe to free email updates ?

Subscribe to News updates

Enter your email address to be notified of new posts:

Subscribe to:

Alternatively, you can subscribe via RSS

‹ Return to News

We never share or sell your email address to anyone.

I've already subscribed / don't show me this again

Recent Posts

Aberdeen Priest, to become Spiritual Director of the Royal Scots College in Salamanca

| 20th December 2017 | Blogging

Aberdeen Priest, to become Spiritual Director of the Royal Scots College in Salamanca20 December 2017 Fr Stuart Chalmers has been appointed by the Scottish Bishops’ Conference as Spiritual Director of the Royal Scots College in Salamanca. Commenting on his appointment, the Bishop of Aberdeen, Bishop Hugh Gilbert said:“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Fr. Staurt for his great dedication and support, both to me personally, and to the Diocese and I wish him every blessing and success in his forthcoming Iberian endeavours.”Bishop Gilbert added;“The members of the Bishops’ Conference are most pleased that he has accepted this appointment and wish him every blessing and success in his new responsibilities.”Responding to his appointment, Fr. Stuart said;“I am delighted to have been appointed to this post and look forward to the new challenges it will bring. I hope to build on my experience of teaching in Salamanca over the last 5 years and supporting individuals in the diocese of Aberdeen as the prepared for the priesthood.”“I am very grateful to the Scottish Bishops for appointing me and to the parishioners of St. Joseph’s in Woodside and Holy Family in Mastrick for their support.”ENDSPeter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 5 St. Vincent Place Glasgow G1 2DH 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org Notes to Editors:Fr. Stuart’s appointment is for a three-year period from 1 January 2018 until 31 December 2020.He will travel to Salamanca on 6 January 2018, where he will be responsible for directing candidates on the Pre-Seminary course in Spain before they continue their studies at the Scots College in Rome. ...

Two former Anglicans to be ordained Catholic priests in Scotland

| 14th December 2017 | Blogging

Two former clergy who served as Anglican ministers will be ordained as Catholic priests this week as part of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, set up in 2011 by Pope Benedict to bring former Episcopalian and Anglican clergy and their people into the Catholic Church.     Rev Simon Beveridge who lives near Whithorn in Dumfries and Galloway will be ordained a priest in Whithorn in Galloway by Bishop William Nolan on Thursday 14th December.  Before being received into the Catholic Church he served as a Vicar in the Church of England from 1987 before becoming a Royal Navy Chaplain in 1993 serving with the Commando Royal Marines and latterly as Regional Navy Chaplain (North), based at Faslane on the Clyde.     There is one ‘secret occupation’ that Deacon Beveridge is very proud of.  He was an amateur jockey!  As he explained, “I trained as an amateur jockey at the British Racing School at Newmarket attending the Amateur National Hunt Course, with race horse trainer, Jimmy Frost, enjoying my first full season racing Point to Point 2006-7 and achieved a winner at Wadebridge in Cornwall.   “That season culminated in me representing the Royal Navy in The Grand Military Gold Cup at Sandown Park where I met a spectacular end by being run out into the rails by two loose horses when leading nine lengths clear of the rest of field!  I have firm intentions to provide a home for a couple of retired race horses once our new home, the Mill, is completed and the paddocks are ready.”   The head of the Ordinariate in the UK is Monsignor Keith Newton.  He was a former Church of England Bishop and is married and cannot therefore be a bishop in the Catholic Church.  Although he has the authority of a bishop in many things, he is not able to ordain men to the priesthood and invites other bishops to do so on his behalf.     Monsignor Newton said, “I am delighted by the welcome the Ordinariate has been shown by Bishop Nolan and Archbishop Cushley.  Their willingness to ordain these me on my behalf to serve the Catholic Church in the Ordinariate as well as their understanding of our unique situation and their words of encouragement have been much appreciated and I look forward to being with them for these ordinations.” Fr Beveridge will begin the task of forming an Ordinariate presence in Galloway while assisting, when available, in the parishes of Kirkcudbright, Dalbeattie, Whithorn, Wigtown, Newton Stewart, with Gatehouse of Fleet and Castle Douglas. Rev Cameron Macdonald, who lives in Nairn, was ordained as an Episcopalian minister in 1990 and served at St Columba’s Episcopal Church in Nairn before becoming an Army chaplain in 1995. He served with 3 and 4 Regiment Army Air Corp in Suffolk and then in Croatia as part of the United Nations Peace Keeping Force and later in Germany with the Royal Green Jackets, going on a Tour of Duty to Bosnia. He later served with the 39 Engineers and in Cairo, Gibraltar, America, Oman and Canada. He will be ordained priest on Saturday (16th December) by Archbishop Leo Cushley in St Columba’s, Edinburgh, and will assist Fr Len Black, the senior Ordinariate priest in Scotland, in serving the growing number of Ordinariate people in Scotland. Fr Black said, “This is an exciting time for the Ordinariate in Scotland and having these two new priests working with me will allow us to provide more opportunities for people to experience our unique liturgical traditions which Pope Benedict described as “a prophetic gesture” that would contribute positively to the developing “the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all”. ENDS Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  5 St. Vincent Place  Glasgow  G1 2DH  0141 221 1168 07968 122291  pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org ...

Catholic Church suggests Hate Crime review, offers opportunity to consolidate rather than separate legislation

| 29th November 2017 | Blogging

Catholic Church suggests Hate Crime review, offers opportunity to consolidate rather than separate legislation     Church comments come in response to the Scottish Government’s Review of Hate Crime legislation, chaired by Lord Bracadale: http://www.gov.scot/About/Review/Hate-Crime-Legislation     The review is charged with considering whether existing hate crime law represents the most effective approach for the justice system to deal with criminal conduct motivated by hatred, malice, ill-will or prejudice.     Commenting on the review, Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office, Anthony Horan who submitted a detailed response on behalf of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland said:     “This process is an opportunity, ultimately, to ensure that the legislation is just and that every group is protected. This does not have to be a “zero sum game” where one group “wins” and another “loses” but rather could be an opportunity to rationalise and simplify legislation. A desirable outcome would be a single aggravation such as section 74 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003. Applied to all protected characteristics equally, it would be a simple and straightforward “message.” which would foster harmony in that all groups would be treated equally in the eyes of the law.”     Mr Horan added;     “It is important that any legislation, preserves judicial discretion recognising that Scotland has a Criminal Justice System populated by highly trained prosecutors and Judges. They are best placed to assess the strengths and weaknesses of individual cases and should be free to do so in the absence of their decision being “politicised” by legislation which creates a perceived “scandal” where none exists.”     The Church response also highlights Scotland’s long history of anti-Catholicism and urges Government recognition be given to the historic roots of present conflicts. Pointing out that for over twenty years successive Scottish Governments have dedicated significant resources into programmes and projects designed to tackle the symptoms of sectarianism. The submission adds, that in the same period the growth in such funding has been matched by an increase in religious hate crime.       The response notes, that “an opportunity exists to acknowledge that anti-Catholic sectarianism is qualitatively and quantitatively different from other types of religious hate crime in Scotland. Instances of anti-Catholicism outnumber all other type of religious hate crime combined, in a country where Catholics represent only 16% of the population. This is a product of the Reformation Parliament of 1560 and its condemnation of Catholic doctrine and worship including the ban on the celebration of all Catholic sacraments. No other religion or belief has ever been so proscribed in Scotland, the legacy of this proscription continues to the present day. A recommendation by this review, that the Scottish Government consider issuing a collective, retrospective apology could go some way towards building, repairing and renewing bonds between communities harmed by historical wrongdoing. It could also be the first step in addressing historical iniquities.”     ENDS     Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  5 St. Vincent Place  Glasgow  G1 2DH  0141 221 1168 07968 122291  pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org Note to Editors: The full text of the response to the Hate Crime Review, is shown below: Response ID ANON-T58X-H9EZ-S Submitted to Independent Review of Hate Crime Legislation in Scotland Submitted on 2017-11-22 14:43:00  What do we mean by hate crime legislation and why does it exist?  Do you consider that the working definition, discussed in this chapter, adequately covers what should be regarded as hate crime by the law of Scotland?  Yes Please give reasons for your answer.:  The definition discussed in this chapter is only ...

Archbishop Leo Cushley delivers Time for Reflection in Scottish Parliament

| 28th November 2017 | Blogging

Delivering the Time for Reflection in the Scottish Parliament today, (Tuesday 28 November 2017), Archbishop Leo Cushley, the Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh celebrated Scotland’s Patron, Saint Andrew.   Commenting on the legacy of St Andrew he said: “the university town, his name, and his flag, all remind us of something that’s been here, doing a lot of good for a lot of people, for many centuries: and that is the civilizing influence of fair laws, of just courts, of a belief in objective truth, of standards of behaviour, of mutual respect, of helping others who need a hand.”   “No matter your beliefs”, he added, “there are still one or two of these things that we can all agree are worth holding on to.”   Commenting on Archbishop Cushley’s reflection, Anthony Horan, Director of the Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office said:     “As we approach the feast of St Andrew it is fitting that Archbishop Cushley be invited to deliver the Time for Reflection. It is important that as a society we honour our saints and there is no doubt that St Andrew has a special place in Scottish hearts.     “I am personally delighted to see our Catholic bishops in the Scottish Parliament and I am extremely grateful to the Presiding Officer and his team for their warm welcome and kind hospitality. It is also a fitting opportunity to thank all those politicians who work for the common good of our society, particularly our Catholic MSPs who commit themselves to loving service in an increasingly testing environment.”     ENDS   Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  5 St. Vincent Place  Glasgow  G1 2DH  0141 221 1168 07968 122291  pk@scmo.org  www.scmo.org Notes to editors: Full text of Archbishop Cushley’s Time for Reflection is copied below. Time for Reflection by Archbishop Leo Cushley As we all know, 30 November, just around the corner, is St Andrew’s Day.  It’s our national day, just as the English choose to celebrate St George, the Irish St Patrick and the Welsh St David. The Welsh found a local lad to celebrate as their national patron; the English have an Armenian soldier, popular among the Crusaders of the high middle ages; the Irish chose a Briton, maybe even from what is now Scotland; and the Scots have a Galilean fisherman.   Who got the best patron? Well, the English picked someone brave and chivalrous; the Welsh picked someone holy; the Irish picked someone fiery and outspoken; and we picked… a fisherman.  Why a fisherman?  Well, I have a theory, and it’s nothing to do with smokies: so, get comfortable, because here it comes.   You see, the English used to have St Peter as their national patron, and he was the first Pope.  At that time, the Scots had St Columba as their national patron; good local choice, but not quite up to competing with the first Pope; so, the Scots changed their national patron to St Andrew.  Now, Andrew wasn’t the first pope, but he was the first man to be called to follow Jesus.  And in the middle ages, that counted for something… Over a thousand years ago, his relics were brought to the town known now St Andrews, and the kings and people of this country built a cathedral in his honour there.  I’m told that, for centuries, St Andrew’s Cathedral was the largest building in the whole of Scotland, and pilgrims came from all over Europe to visit it.   Today, we’re still proud of Andrew, but in a vague, distant way. Yet he, the university town, his name, and his flag, all remind us of something that’s been here, doing a lot of good for a lot of people, for many centuries: and that is the civilizing influence of fair laws, of just courts, of a belief in objective truth, of standards of behaviour, of mutual respect, of helping others who need a hand.  And that’s probably the best thing about having Andrew as national patron: no matter your beliefs, there are stil...