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Sunday March 11, 2012 www.thecatholicuniverse.com
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Faithful have to act now to save ‘true meaning of matrimony’
By Simon Caldwell
Marriage is a “natural institution” and any attempt to strip it of its “distinctive nature” will have profoundly damaging consequences, the Church has warned.
The uncompromising message comes as Catholics throughout Britain are this weekend being asked to help resist attempts by the Government to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples.
For the first time in five years, the leaders of the Catholic Church in England and Wales are making a direct address to more than a million faithful attending Masses in 2,500 parishes, urging them to actively oppose the proposal.
The call to arms is being led by Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, the president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark, the vice-president, as the Coalition Government prepares to announce the terms of a
More than 110,000 people sign Coalition For Marriage petition after Cardinal Keith O’Brien of Scotland accuses Government of ‘violating human rights.’
consultation on changing the law.
The archbishops warn worshippers that a law permitting ‘gay marriages’ would represent a “profoundly radical step” that could obscure the “real meaning” of marriage for generations to come.
“Its consequences should be taken seriously now,” the archbishops say in their letter, read out at every Mass on the third Sunday of Lent.
“The law helps to shape and form social and cultural values. A change in the law would gradually and inevitably transform society’s understanding of the purpose of marriage.
“It would reduce it just to the commitment of the two people involved. There would be no recognition of the complementarity of male and female or that marriage is intended for the procreation and education of children.”
The archbishops concluded: “We have a duty to married people today and to those who come after us to do all we can to ensure that the true meaning of marriage is not lost for future generations.”
The bishops are also encouraging Catholics to sign the Coalition For Marriage petition to let the Government know the strength of public feeling against its consultation due to be announced later this month – with a view to legalising ‘gay marriage’ by the next general election in 2015.
The petition sought to gain 100,000 signatures by Easter but passed that mark within two weeks of its launch.
The letter from the Catholic archbishops was sent out to parish priests throughout England and Wales earlier this week but its contents were published after they were leaked over the internet.
It represents the first major attempt by the bishops to mobilise the laity against legislation they consider unjust since 2007, when they successfully defeated the attempts of Alan Johnson, then Education Secretary, to impose quotas of non-Catholic pupils on Catholic schools.
Their intervention also comes a week after Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien of St Andrews and Edinburgh severely criticised proposals to redefine marriage.
Continued on page 4
Exploring the New Evangelisation - proclaiming the Gospel through the work of Caritas Social Action Network Pages 19 to 22
I Believe: I’ll try to win it for the UK, vows veteran Engelbert
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