Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Archbishop Backs Equality

The Archbisop of Westminster said at a recent press following the Bishop bi-annual meeting:
We would want to emphasise that civil partnerships actually provide a structure in which people of the same sex who want a lifelong relationship [and] a lifelong partnership can find their place and protection and legal provision,
As a Church we are very committed to the notion of equality so that people are treated the same across all the activities of life. The Church holds great store by the value of commitment in relationships and undertakings that people give. Stability in society depends upon the reliability of commitments that people give. That might be in offering to do a job but especially in their relationships with one another. Equality and commitment are both very important and we fully support them.
He did go on to say, "equality and commitment do not amount to marriage".

As is pointed out here, "The bishops conference position on civil partnerships appears to have shifted from 2003 when it told the Government that civil unions would not promote the common good and we therefore strongly oppose them".
It appears that the 2003 CDF document Legal Recognition of Homosexual Unions only applies to Marriage, itself not "civil partnerships. I had obviously misunderstood as the bishops once did.


karl said...

Yes, a lot of "misunderstanding" around, Father! Let's hope your readers know the last sentence is tongue-in-cheek.

From the 2003 document:

It is one thing to maintain that individual citizens may freely engage in those activities that interest them and that this falls within the common civil right to freedom; it is something quite different to hold that activities which do not represent a significant or positive contribution to the development of the human person in society can receive specific and categorical legal recognition by the State. Not even in a remote analogous sense do homosexual unions fulfil the purpose for which marriage and family deserve specific categorical recognition. On the contrary, there are good reasons for holding that such unions are harmful to the proper development of human society, especially if their impact on society were to increase.

Funny how the enemies of the Church can see the difference between the Roman position and the English one, even if some of our bishops can't.

AndrewWS said...

I have to say that I'm inclined to agree with him. Civil partnerships (as opposed to the fallacious concept of 'gay marriage') do not imply or necessitate sexual activity. If two persons of the same sex wished to live together chastely out of natural love and affection, a civil partnership would be the way in which they could put their home life on a legal footing.

In the old days the only way in which one could do that was by getting a joint mortgage and each making the other the sole or principal beneficiary under their wills (I knew a soundly chaste and Godly pair of Catholic men who did that and lived together chastely for many years) but not everyone is in a financial position to do that.

Civil partnerships are as innocent as the intentions behind them.

Pablo the Mexican said...

"...: “As a
Church we are very committed
to the notion of equality so that
people are treated the same across
all the activities of life … The
Church holds great store by the
value of commitment in relationships and undertakings that
people give. Stability in society
depends upon the reliability of
commitments that people give.
That might be in offering to do a
job but especially in their relationships with one another.
Equality and commitment are
both very important and we fully
support them...”

This is wrong on so many different levels.

Here is a principle:

A man and woman are married in Holy Mother Church, then have some kids.

They divorce, and 're-marry'.

The Mother tells her kids her new husband is now their daddy

Daddy tells the wife and kids he is now living with 'Uncle Bob', a homosexual, and they are saving money for a sex change. For both of them.

The children become homosexuals and one starts 'living with' her boyfriend.

She has kids with her boyfriend who promptly leaves her.

Fifty years ago, these affairs would have been scandals.

They are now normal Catholic behavior.

Used to be a Roman Catholic Archbishop would be drawn to Holy Anger when speaking of

Now the Archbishop is not condemning them as he should, he is giving approval to their existence, and further stating they are part of the backbone of Society.

The Truth never changes.

That is worth repeating.

The Truth never changes.

Holy Mother Church has always condemned that which is outside of God's will.

This Truth will never change.

Cardinals, Bishops, Priests and Religious have lost the Faith, and created new truths, to accommodate the sinfulness of man..

Pray for the Holy Father, and all his Cardinals, Bishops, Priests and Religious.


Michael1 said...

The report here needs further qualification, to avoid misunderstanding. The report goes on to say:

'But the archbishop said that
“equality and commitment do not
amount to marriage” and that civil
partnerships were “categorically
different” from gay marriage,
which the bishops oppose. He said
he was “very disappointed” that
the Government had decided to
introduce gay marriage.'

Loving relations are not necessarily directly or actively sexual. As the law stands, a loving but chaste couple lack certain legal protections which the law on civil partnerships can give them something which can be especially important when one dies. Property law favours those who are formally part of ones family, regardless of love bonds. A civil partnership can bring the person loved into the legal family. There are - as the Holy Father has pointed out - many kinds of loving relationship. Perhaps the problem is an oversimple assumption that Civil Partnership = Gay Marriage, and there is much to be looked at by both Church and State. And perhaps our understanding of love between two people is too quickly understood as actively sexual.

It is a pity that the account of Archbishop Nicholls' words is so incomplete. He habitually uses language thoughtfully and with care, and the report just hints at the nuance and precision of his normal public statements.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Yes, there are many men and women sharing a loving and chaste relationship entirely in harmony with Christ's teaching.

The problem with the Civil Partnership legislation is that it was obviously designed to unlock the door before the door was removed with legislation allowing "gay marriage".

karl said...


Presumably by the same token we should have tax breaks and licensing for knocking shops, on the grounds that the odd punter might be looking to just spend his paid hour enjoying a cup of tea and a chat with one of the girls.

Only a libertarian could be quite so obtuse about the social consequences of pernicious legislation.

The Bones said...

Civil partnerships were ALWAYS about sexuality, sexual orientation and more or less presumed sexual activity.

If it was genuinely framed around 'friends' contracting a legal arrangement with will etc, then it would not have been so blatantly obvious that this was something that originated in the gay movement. It certainly didn't originate in even the Christian wing of the gay movement, or the gay wing of the Christian churches.

The legislation ALWAYS had Stonewall written all over it. It should have been opposed always.

It wasn't. I have absolutely no confidence that the new legislation will be opposed concretely. I expect we will get an 'opt out' of the gay marriage thing for now and then five years down the line it will be insisted that we are breaking the law by discriminating against gay couples.

I expect the Bishops to fudge it, but they are stalling for the big fight which will be aimed at the Church in the future. With Stonewall feeding politics so much, that day is inevitable in the US and the UK. The legislation needs to be resisted totally now.

Mick said...

I need to move to another diocese !

epsilon said...

It's hard enough that we have to try and "reminding the government of the need to contain the phenomenon within certain limits so as to safeguard public morality and, above all, to avoid exposing young people to erroneous ideas about sexuality and marriage that would deprive them of their necessary defences and contribute to the spread of the phenomenon." - but to have to remind the archbishop of Westminster (he who we are told will automatically be made a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church) what every Catholic should know!!
I see and hear the confusion of young people in a school setting on a daily basis and believe me - their defences are being crushed, they are being led astray by the very people who are supposedly "protecting their rights"!

Lynda said...

This statement is disgraceful. It clearly supports the creation of "civil partnerships." Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin came out with the same nonsense at the time similar legislation was passed in Ireland. A "civil partnership" a simplified form of civil marriage. They confer public recognition and status on sexual relationships between two consenting adults of the same sex (leaving aside those of opposite sex). This is clearly objectively wrong and Catholics cannot support such man-made laws that breach the Natural Law or the law of God. CP laws across the world are not generally about people who are dependent on each other, such as brothers or sisters living together. They confer a marriage-like status on same-sex sexual relationships, although sometimes without the legal right to adopt children (this is especially evil). The argument of protecting the vulnerable is rubbish. Two people, no matter what their relationship could always privately contract to own property jointly, or to will property to each other on death (provided that if there was a spouse or children, they got their entitlement). No, the whole purpose of such legislation was to provide public recognition to homosexual relationships in the way that marriages always had public recognition (marriage being the basis for the family, the fundamental unit of society, and upon which society depends for its survival and well-being). Homosexual relationships are objectively wrong - they are a lie. They damage the individuals involved and society, more so when society through its laws purport to recognise and endorse them as good as it does marital relationships. This is an even greater lie, which affects all of society adversely. It makes a mockery of marriage, which is no longer the only sexual relationship with a public/social nature and function. Commitment to a good is good; commitment to a wrongful/evil/sinful relationship is bad, very bad. The notion of equality as btw persons doesn't arise; equality as btw the marital relationship and any other sexual relationship, particularly a same-sex relationship cannot be, and to purport otherwise is to lie in a most profound and absurd way, showing contempt for our natures, as revealed by reason (including scientific). Archbishop does a disservice to his own flock, but to all of society. We must pray for our Bishops and priests, especially those who are not faithful to the Church, and the moral truth and are leading people to iniquity.

Rupert said...

Commitments to sin, praised by the shepherd of the flock.

Maranatha! Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

Gratias said...

Hopefully it will not become obligatory!

Physiocrat said...

This legislation on Civil Partnerships seems largely to have come about in response for a need to address the problems caused by unjust legislation, in particular concerning matters such as inheritance laws and other property rights.

We Catholics have to some extent ourselves to blame for not speaking out against the initial injustice.

georgem said...

Peace in our time . . .

Anonymous said...

Does +Abp Nichols really think that all Catholics are so poorly catechised with regards to moral issues? The equality he addresses is a false sense of fairness and his support for civil partnership is a disservice and scandal to marriage and the Catholic family. Has he actually read The Civil Partnership Act? He really ought to go over it again and also read Arcanum - Pope Leo XIII to re-acquaint with the reasons why married people have legal rights that other relationships do not. Thereafter, he can brush up on what the Church really teaches on social justice and how to practically apply charity without causing scandal...as well as bear in mind that "the road to hell is paved with good intentions.".


nickbris said...

Somebody had to say something sensible about Civil Partnerships,it is after all a means of protecting shared property when a person dies.

Arguing about same sex marriage is a waste of breath.

Anonymous said...

Property matter is a ruse because, it is the case that, even before civil partnership was enacted, mechanics already existed to allow for the automatic transfer of property to the survivor. One need only state whether the property is to be held as joint tenants or tenants-in-common on the Land Registry Transfer Form.


Nicolas Bellord said...

An interesting situation. One wonders how long Nichols will last as Archbishop.

Michael1 said...

I did say that both Church and State need to look again at Civil partnership to use it in ways that go beyond a simple assumption that it is necessarily equivalent to gay marriage.

There are in any case, important differences between Civil Partnership and even Civil Marriage. In the former there is no requirement to make any vows or to say anything at all - all that is required is that the Certificate of Partnership is signed.

Secondly - and this is something too often overlooked - though a Civil Partnership can be dissolved, it cannot, as far as I can see (a lawyer might correct me)be annulled on the grounds of non-consummation. Consummation is central to the sacramental and civil understanding of marriage, and English courts do annul as well as dissolve marriages. If consummation is not a requirement of the link, then Civil Partnerships need not be actively sexual.

George said...

It's very hard for even a "good" Catholic nowadays to see clearly on these issues. We've all been so conditioned (brain washed?) to back equality, in all its forms. Any perceived lack of "fairness" makes us uncomfortable. Of course this is not looking at the world through the eyes of God. The Revolution has trained us to think in terms of "rights". God wants us to think in terms of "responsibilities". It's even more sad when a prince of the Church and national primate is so clearly a servant of the Revolution.

Toby said...

"In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection."

It strikes me that Vin should be arguing for an extension of civil partnerships to include brother and sisters and other blood relatives in chaste relationships who wish to take advantage of the tax benefits. This would be a step in favour of equality (which Vin says he wants) and would also help to undermine the notion that a civil partnership is a form of marriage.

lawyeratwork.com said...

Fr Ray:Civil partnerships must be treated the same as married couples for the following legal purposes: tax (including inhertitance tax) employment benefits, nearly all state and occupational pension benefits, maintenance for civil partner and any children of the family, application for parental responsibility of their partnership child,inhertitance of tenancy agreements (proviso applies), protection against domestic violence, immigration and nationality rights.

A civil partnership is a legal union without God. Let me be very clear about this point.

A civil partnership is available for two people to give 15 days notice in a Registery Office (in England and Wales) and commit themselves to a legal union. This is not a marriage. However, the Laws of England and Wales have given civil partnerships certain rights and protections.

To 'dissolve' a civil partnership, one of the couple has to apply to a Court and File documents in Court to end the legal partnership. You will then be granted (or in some cases may not be granted) a Conditional Order, then a Final Order. If the couple cannot agree about financial or property matters, than it becomes very costly and messy.
Much like a divorce.

It is very important to recognise the legal implications of a civil partnership. These implications have been put into place for the protection of rights for the individuals concerned.

I hope this assists.

Unknown said...

Wish I had read Karl's comment first. Would have saved me scurrying to get the CDF document and reading it again. Glad your last sentence was tongue in cheek.

FrBT said...

Father. Civil partnerships is all about law and protection of a person's rights in law.
Also, it is clear to me that a civil partnership is the first step to gay marriages.

I have said several times that I will not bless same sex union couples in my church.

If two people are living in the same property as friends - then that is totally acceptable. No Man is an island. Friendships like this are very special.

If the status of the living arrangements changes, and their relationship becomes sexual, then that is more than a friendship.
The friendship becomes sinful.

We all need friends. Life would be very lonely without them. True friends are so special.
Sex complicates friendships when the friendship does not have God's approval.
His Grace should make sure that his next statement about this subject is in total union with Rome.
I have always maintained that one should use plain English. Chosen with care. Words which do not give the opportunity to have two or more meanings.
No means No. Rome says No. Many Catholics say No. Lets stick to that.

FrP said...

Father Ray thank you for this blog.

My curate has a friend in the archdiocese with the Liver bird on the waterside. My curate tells me that he was told that a Priest in that archdiocese was approached by two females living together in a civil partnership. They had adopted a child. They asked the Priest for baptism for the child.

The Priest said that he had to refer the matter to the archbishop for consideration.
He explained to his archbishop the situation. The archbishop said yes go ahead without hesitation.

I used to be a frequent visitor to that archdiocese. I am glad I do not have to go there now.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Okay civil partnerships may be chaste but let us be honest the legislation was brought in to give status to sexually active homosexual couples. In indorsing such arrangements the Archbishop is clearly indorsing buggery.

He has done this before in allowing the openly pro buggery Soho Pastoral Church Council to pretend to have the backing of the Church and to organise the Soho masses.

Lepanto said...

"We were nuanced..." It's about time they stopped being nuanced and started telling the unvarnished truth. This is the man who, when asked if homosexual marriages would ever be celebrated in Catholic churches was cowardly enough to say "Who knows what's down the road.." It's disgraceful.

Credo said...

If it is true that there is no sexual element inherent in Civil Partnerships it seems very stange that:

1. brothers or sisters are not allowed to enter a Civil Partnership

2. anyone who has entered a Civil Partnership must first have that Partnership dissolved by the State before they are allowed by the State to marry.

pelerin said...

Our Archbishop seems to have come under fire quite a lot recently.

At least the criticisms here seem to be confined to print unlike the poor Archbishop of Brussels who had a custard pie shoved in his face while he was celebrating Mass on All Saints day this year. The astonished Archbishop was caught on film - I don't know what happened to the custard pie thrower but such a protest during the celebration of Mass is surely a blasphemous act?

Pablo the Mexican said...

Good on you, Credo.

Truth is being attacked on both sides now.

Your counterattack using Truth is outstanding.

Hold your ground.

Our battle cry is

Viva Cristo Rey!


Father John Boyle said...

Things not looking good in UK Church...

richard said...

Nichoas Bellord you need to restrain your language. Thankfully you are a retired solicitor, otherwise you could be accused of breaking our code of professional conduct by bringing the profession into disrepute. Fr Blake I would expect you to moderate the forum.

edward said...

Civil partnerships should not be assumed to be sexual, hence there are no grounds for adultery when seeking a dissolution. There is a very good article on Civil Partnerships and Religious Organisations by Mark Hill QC, professor of canon law at Cardiff University.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Richard, It is not a word I would choose to use but I presume by it Mr Bellord means sexual acts of a particularly sinful kind which are contrary to the Apostolic Faith and were often condemned as such by the Fathers.

Pablo the Mexican said...

"...code of professional conduct by bringing the profession into disrepute. Fr Blake I would expect you to moderate the forum..."

Padres don't need to conform to phoney codes of conduct.

The Padre runs his Parish and this blog.

We all answer to him.

Have some respect for the Padre.


Lynda said...

To make more explicit what Credo was saying: Civil partnership is based on civil marriage, but in the UK legislation (the CPA 2004) it is confined to two persons of the same sex, it applies to homosexual relationships only. The Act does not explicitly mention sexual acts between the "civil partners". It doesn't need to, to achieve its purpose; and to state the obvious, consummation in the marital sense is not possible between persons of the same sex. Did you expect the Act to describe some physical sexual act that ought be carried out by two male or two female "civil partners" to somehow, give the relationship more validity? Clearly, there are no such natural acts that could serve to give these relationships validity beyond that which the man-made, positive law purports to confer by the CP Act. The Act uses the term "cohabitation" in relation to CP, which also indicates that it is concerned with a sexual relationship between the two persons of the same sex. As in the case of civil marriage, there are the prohibited degrees of relationship, e.g. sibling, etc. Furthermore, one cannot be in a partnership with more than one person at a time, as per civil marriage. And, as Credo pointed out, one may not be in a CP and a marriage at the same time. The whole framework is based on marriage, creating something new, somewhat less than marriage and easier to get in and out of, and especially designed to give public/official recognition to a homosexual relationship between two persons only. (I am a non-practising barrister, btw.) It is very sad to see how the propaganda of the homosexual lobby, which includes most politicians and State agencies in the UK, has succeeded in duping people into thinking the CP legislation is about something else entirely (something which might very well be for the common good). Why have so many people, including practising Catholics, apparently set their use of reason to one side when it comes to the homosexual/feminist/relativist agenda? Our teachers, both within and without the Church have been clearly remiss in educating people.

Credo said...

"strange" not "stange" at 9.57pm on 31.11.2011

Crux Fidelis said...

Fr John Boyle: I must point out that the "church in the UK" is not one entity. We have three separate hierarchies. Unlike their counterparts in England and Wales and Ireland the Scottish bishops have been unequivocal in their opposition to same-sex "marriages".

Physiocrat said...

This seems to be mostly to do with rights of property and next-of-kin responsibility eg medical confidence, and inheritance tax liability. There were also apparently issues relating to transfer of tenancies eg council housing.

It should have been possible to deal with these without having to introduce this legislation, which still leaves anomalies of much the same kind eg when two siblings are living together, one dies and the other then become liable for inheritance tax and has to sell up and move in order to pay.

The bishops were slow off the mark when the legislation was being considered. It was not entirely without justification but the issues it addressed could and should have been resolved by other means altogether.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Dear Richard,

You imply that you are a solicitor but you use a pseudonym to hide your identity.

May I first of all remind you that buggery was first made a crime by the Buggery Act of 1553 introduced by Thomas Cromwell. Buggery has been the legal term for this kind of behaviour ever since. Or perhaps you were being ironic? Or was it something else in my post that you objected to? Please explain.

Nicolas Bellord said...

What an excellent and informative post from Lynda explaining the legal situation.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Nicholas / Richard,

Let's not go there.

I do not want a discussion about those practices St Paul tells us should not even be spoken about amongst Christians.

The discussion is about the apparent about turn of Vin and the Bishop's Conference.

GOR said...

Er, Crux Fidelis I think Fr. John Boyle has a fairly good idea about the Church in the UK, having been a parish priest there for many years and currently 'on loan' here in the US...

Crux Fidelis said...

GOR: Thanks for that information. However, he does commit the error (common among English people) of regarding the terms "England" and "Britain/UK" as interchangeable. By saying "UK" he implies that the Scottish bishops are as guilty as their English and Welsh brothers in their indifference.

Pablo the Mexican said...

For your consideration:

Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day

Washington, D.C.
March 30, 1863
Senator James Harlan of Iowa, whose daughter later married President Lincoln's son Robert, introduced this Resolution in the Senate on March 2, 1863. The Resolution asked President Lincoln to proclaim a national day of prayer and fasting. The Resolution was adopted on March 3, and signed by Lincoln on March 30, one month before the fast day was observed.

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation.

And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.

And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!

It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do, by this my proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th. day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer. And I do hereby request all the People to abstain, on that day, from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several places of public worship and their respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord, and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.

All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this thirtieth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty seventh.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward, Secretary of State.

It is sad someone that refuses to mention the Holy Name of Jesus, sounds more Catholic than an Archbishop.


Lawyeratwork.com said...

Fr Ray:


Wow! I am pretty good at specialist Personal Injury claims.
RSI claim for you perhaps?


Cate said...

The Archbishop should be knighted. "I dub thee Si.....whoops,my sword slipped a little there...so sorry"

Sadie Vacantist said...

Lynda, the answer to your question is because they are afraid. We are not an "Easter people" as the ludicrous pastoral congress called us back in 1980 but we are very much stuck in the 'upper room'. It's as simple as that.

Nicolas Bellord said...

First I must apologise for using a word which is the technical legal term for a certain unnatural behaviour but obviously in common parlance the word is offensive. In future I will use the term "unnatural activities" and trust that it is understood correctly.

There has obviously been a lot of upset about the Archbishop's statement. I am not clear whether his statement is his personal view or whether it represents the official view of the Bishop's conference. I think the latter which makes it even more worrying.

The argument seems to be that the Archbishop is saying that there are people out there - couples - who are unfairly treated as compared with married people. Presumably one such unfairness might be over inheritance tax where there is nothing equivalent to the spouse exemption.

Now if that is the concern then it seems to me that the concern should be with any couples - a same-sex couple, a brother and sister who live together, a child who spends his or her life looking after an aged parent - one could probably think of other long-term relationships.

However as Lynda has pointed out the Civil Partnership legislation is quite obviously only targetted to benefit same-sex couples and excludes the brother and sister or the child and parent. In my view it is naive to believe otherwise and frankly I do not see how anyone could honestly hold a differing view.

The second aspect of the Archbishop's statement is that "The Church holds great store by the value of commitment in relationships and undertakings that people give. Stability in society depends upon the reliability of commitments that people give."

Now if you accept that the Civil Partnership Act is virtually exclusively for the benefit of same-sex couples then it is those relationships which the Archbishop is commending as good.

Does he then believe that these are chaste relationships? Or does he believe that they are people who whilst endeavouring to be chaste do fail to be chaste? If the latter has he not heard of occasions of sin? It would be like saying that it is perfectly okay for a heterosexual couple to live together, unmarried, and quite understandably to sin every now and again.

But does he really believe that the average same-sex couple in a Civil Partnership has any intention of remaining chaste? No doubt we will be told not to judge.

But surely the occasion of sin argument must trump that argument.

My conclusion is that the Archbishop's statement actively encourages people to believe that homosexually active Civil Partnerships are a good thing.

Lastly Father Blake says 'It appears that the 2003 CDF document Legal Recognition of Homosexual Unions only applies to Marriage, itself not "civil partnerships. I had obviously misunderstood as the bishops once did.'

Perhaps you were being ironic Father? The CDF document says: In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.

It is clear that the document refers to any legal recognition not just marriage.

Finally I do wonder whether the Archbishop considers the scandal that is being caused to the average lay Catholic in the pew. I find it increasingly difficult to have any respect for him or some of his fellow Bishops. Where does that lead me?

John Fisher said...

What I love about the English and I am one is that everything is done and discussed in a very downtoned way almost as if evil can be reasoned around or just put up with. "Oh look there is a bird in the garden lets have a cup of tea!" and "did you hear Hilter is gasing Jews?" are not the same.The A sense of outrage and anger should be expressed in the later case not blithe comment You do not need "civil unions" to respect property rights. If you recall two old spinters cannot apply for a "civil union". It is a parody of matrimony and the government really should keep out of marriage altogether as it did before the 1850's. Our good Archbishop has had someone in his ear. "Homosexuals are only promiscuous because they cannot marry!" Just garbage. Anyone with a same sex attraction knows it is not about fidelity and in any event homosexuals acts parody and subvert the instinctual sex drive. It is about desire and emotional and physical gratification. It is abot narcissm and use of others..."gay abandon".

FrBT said...

Fr Ray
May I suggest this answer to Mr Bellord's final paragraph and question - we are all wondering the same - (the state of the Catholic Church in England and Wales) 'where does it leave me?'

It is clear that we need to make changes and return to being united to The Holy Father and Rome.

'Reap as you shall sow' comes to mind.


nickbris said...

Not even the Rev. Charles Dodgson or Jonathan Swift could have improved on some of these comments.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Fr BT: I said LEAD not LEAVE! As a member of the flock I expect to be led (and fed as per one of Christ's last admonitions). Do I just dutifully follow the Archbishop's lead or what are the alternatives? Certainly I have no intention of leaving (although I expect it will result in leaving by some confused souls). But do I just sit back, say my prayers and do nothing?

Incidentally where are the clerics telling me that my reasoning is all wrong and kindly explaining how I should see things? Perhaps they think that queeringthechurch.com and The Tablet are sufficient to put me right?

Where are the clerics other than yourself and Father Blake protesting about what has happened? Why is there nothing in this week's Catholic Herald? Instead we are treated to some reflections on the economic situation from His Grace which the editorial suggests might be classified as platitudes.

I wake up in the night with black thoughts about the leadership of the Church in this country and how they have let us down. Are we just a few nutters?

Credo said...

Unfortunately some bishops and priests (I write as one of the latter) appear either to have failed to read or to have forgotten one of the key passages of Vatican II's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (aka Lumen Gentium).

Paragraph 25 states that a "loyal submission of the will and intellect must be given, in a special way, to the authentic teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, even when he does not speak ex cathedra".

In a letter of 25 July 1986 (personally approved by Pope John Paul II) the then Cardinal Ratzinger of the CDF revoked Fr Charles Curran's license to teach Catholic Theology because he "did not believe to be true what the Catholic Church did, and he was not teaching what the Catholic Church taught about sexual morality".

Details of this are given in "Witness to Hope" by George Weigel(pp. 523-525 and pp. 913-914 - footnote 109).

There is a well known Catholic Moral Theologian in the North of England who freely admits that he is a disciple of Fr Curran. And yet he has been used as a theological adviser both by some Bishops of England and Wales and by some Religious Congregations.

FrBT said...

Fr Ray. I endorse what CREDO has said. It is true.
Sorry Mr Bellord. 'Lead and Leave'.

The whole point is that we need to be more vigilant what is going on in the Curia of our own diocese.

There was a time where the Bishop could do and (almost) say anything he wanted. Those days are gone.

The internet is in one way liberating communication. Emails fly around the world in seconds. Blogs like we have here by the Good Fr Ray Blake give us the opportunity to make an opinion, share information,share interests etc.

Commentators of any person in Office can release information, gather a discussion on the topic etc. This is acceptable as long as it is done fairly.

The Catholic Leaders of England and Wales are now open to internet questioning and comments on their actions. The Laity have got a stronger voice and the Bishops have now lost their safety nets or comfort zones.

Not all Bishops have meandered from the Teachings of The Holy Father and Rome. Not all Bishops should be pummelled harshly. Some are doing a fantastic job under very difficult conditions.

I have thought long and hard on this topic of same sex partnerships. I wait for words of wisdom from my Bishop. Everybody is waiting for someone to say something which will put the confidence back into Catholisism in England and Wales.

Well here is your opportunity-Your Graces and Your Lordships.

Do it carefully and heal and comfort the Catholics who are waiting to hear from You.
Correct what is wrong and encourage what is right.

And I still maintain - no blessings in my church for same sex couples.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Semantic confusion again!

I and probably others have talked about "chaste relationships" in respect of same-sex civil partnerships.

However if you watch:


which is an interview with a man attending the Soho Masses you will find that "chaste" in his view is being faithful to the other partner in the partnership. The idea being that this is better than promiscuous unnatural activities. So I am not sure what word one can use in order to ensure that one is not misunderstood. "Celibate" means that you are unmarried which of course can therefore be applied to any civil union. So perhaps one has to spell it out at length that one is referring to same-sex unions where unnatural sexual activities take place within the union.

Credo said...

Nicolas, the gentleman interviewed who was attending a Soho Mass (9.57am 5/12/11) is Martin Pendergast.

He is/was the leader of the Catholic Caucus of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement.

He is in a civil partnership with Julian Filochowski.

FrBT said...

Fr Ray.

I would expect that the ancestors of Mr Filochowski are on their knees before the Throne of God and Our Lady Queen of Poland, praying for God's Mercy for Julian.

Turn back to God and leave sin behind. Approach the Fount Of God's Mercy in the Sacrament of Confession.
You can only go so far to test God's patience.

Nicolas Bellord said...

A few days ago I thought I ought to check the sources for this story. I think I got on to the website for the Bishops' Conference and found a report of their November 2011 meeting. There was an audio of the Archbishop saying the words attributed to him by Father Blake and others.

To-day I went back to the same Bishops' Conference website to recheck but could find no reference to their November 2011 meeting. Perhaps I or my computer have got it all wrong but perhaps something is happening? Can anybody else find that audio of VN speaking?

Credo said...

From THE TABLET 26 November 2011 page 32.

"Archbishop praises civil partnerships

THE BISHOPS of England and
Wales believe civil partnerships
successfully provide a legal protection
for those in same-sex
relationships, according to the
Archbishop of Westminster,
writes Christopher Lamb.

“We would want to emphasise
that civil partnerships actually
provide a structure in which
people of the same sex who want
a lifelong relationship [and] a
lifelong partnership can find their
place and protection and legal
provision,” Archbishop Vincent
Nichols said at a press conference
after the Bishops’ Conference of
England and Wales’ meeting last

His comments mark the clearest
support that a Catholic bishop
has given in favour of civil unions......."

To read the full article see The Tablet website link in Fr Ray's original blob on this topic.

Fr C said...

Nicolas, I can't find a copy of the Press Release for the Bishops' November 2011 Meeting on their website either.

It will be interesting to see the Press Release in full.

I am sure that the Bishops wish to exercise wise and fatherly leadership for all the faithful members of the church in England and Wales.

However clearly different interpretations have been given to both the Press Release (see The Tablet's article of 26 November, inter alia) and to a number of videos and audios posted on Youtube and other websites.

It would be very helpful if the Bishops gave an authoritative clarification by issuing an Explanatory Note on this matter and posting it on their website. This would also provide clarity on other related controversial issues.

This happened with regard to another rather important church document on 16 November 1964!

Naturally all authentic Catholic teaching needs to be based on charity and truth - caritas et veritas.

The issue of homosexuality is expounded in the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraphs 2357, 2358 and 2359.

Charity and truth requires that these three paragraphs should always be read as one.

Quoted selectively, the teaching can sound either homophobic ("grave depravity" - as if homosexuals should be aubject to persecution and rejection) or homophilic ("they must be accepted" - as if serious sinful actions should no longer be considered sinful) .

The full teaching is neither homophobic nor homophilic.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Well I duly attended His Grace's talk at Netherall House on "Religion is not a problem for legislators to solve but a vital contributor to the national conversation". The theme seemed to be that we should engage with Society in various ways.

However afterwards there was a Question and Answer session with questions submitted in writing. Mine was as follows:

The Tablet has reported “The Bishops of England and Wales believe civil partnerships successfully provide a legal protection for those in same-sex relationships. … His comments mark the clearest support that a Catholic bishop has given to same-sex unions”.

The CDFs instruction of 2003 says: In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty.

There seems to be a clear contradiction with the teaching of the Church. Can you please comment.

The Chairman had a number of questions on the same theme so he endeavoured to amalgamate them. From mine he read out the quote from the CDF document. Anyway the question was fairly put.

His Grace deftly avoided answering the question by repeating some of what he said after the recent Bishops Conference but then saying that the issue now was as to whether Civil Partnerships should be redefined as marriage. He went on about this saying how important an issue this is (which it is!) and that we should concentrate on that and, by implication, forget about the issue of civil partnerships which did demonstrate commitment which was a good thing.

The problem as I see it is that there are two separate issues - firstly whether civil partnerships, which are essentially defined for same-sex couples in active homosexual relationships, are to be praised despite the teaching of the Church. Secondly there is the problem of whether civil partnerships should be redefined as marriage.

His Grace wants us to ignore the first problem and concentrate on the second. He said the bloggers who had brought up the first problem were "mischievous". I do not find that particularly helpful when there are people who are genuinely and sincerely concerned about that issue. Okay some comments may have been harsh but I do not think the bloggers themselves - William Oddie and others - were trying to create mischief.

The problem with His Grace's line of thinking is political. An eminent Professor of Law at Oxford has been quoted as saying that all that needs to happen for civil partnerships to be redefined as marriage is just a change of definition. It could almost be a one line Act of Parliament to achieve that.

The Government are going to say "Well the Catholic Church in England & Wales was first of all very iffy about Civil Partnerships but they have now come round to accepting, indeed praising them. Okay they object to the marriage proposal, and probably have a problem with Rome, but we may as well pass the Act and they will come round to our way of thinking in the long run or as His Grace has hinted somewhere down the road".

Fr C said...

subject - not "aubject"

Anonymous said...

@Nicholas and Fr C

Are you referring to the audio podcast of the Bishops Conference Resolutions and the following Q&A? If so, here's the link:


Nicolas Bellord said...

Mea Culpa:

The audio is still there viz:


You have to go to News and then Bishops Resolutions from November 2011.

You can also hear his lecture:


jack said...

The recent press conference remarks on civil partnerships are on YouTube here.

FrBT said...

Fr Ray. Thank you to Jack.

After listening to that speech of VN, all I can say is 'its time for the gin'.
Is this what we will now expect from our Shepherd?

Obviously after saying this, our so politically correct Shepherd can have no objection to us celibate Priests entering these beautiful and meaningful civil partnerships.

Anyone for croquet, darlings?

JM said...

Fr Ray, I hope you recover quickly and get some help from your good parishioners during Christmas and the New Year.

Fr BT:

I am not for croquet(and I see croquet in a different light now) nor will our parish Church be accepting same sex couples for blessings. Like you, our priest is absolutely against civil partnership unions - that are being entered into by same sex couples.

Fr Ray, I think you will find that if one have faculties from the local Superindendant Registrar to enter and produce marriage certificates, on the basis of being the Approved Person in the church, a letter or document will soon appear informing the AP that the church may be registered for same sex cermonies.

This is supposed to occur very soon - in a matter of weeks.

Therefore, legislation is being provided by the government to enable same sex unions to apply to participating churches for church cermonies.

Participation of churches is not manditory AS YET but the writing is on the wall.

Parish Priests must be aware that the AP in your church will get this invitation in letter form.
I advise you to see the letter/document and make yourselves familiar with extending powers that are being granted under legislation.
JM Barrister at Law

Nicolas Bellord said...

Get well quick Father!

The news that JM relays is appalling and leaves me almost speechless. But we must speak out!

But if we are to understand that when +VN says he "recognises" civil partnership as being some sort of commitment then how can we successfully argue to a secular audience that such unions should not be blessed?

I fear that being where you are you may be a target for such sacrilegious activity.

Lawyeratwork.com said...

Fr Ray. (sorry this is long)

The Equality Act 2010 introduced a power to amend the Civil Partnership Act 2004. This allows for civil partnership (CP) registrations to take place in religious buildings.

Earlier this year the Government did seek views from interested parties via a published consultation document. This consultation included faith groups.

Results are available http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/equalities/lgbt/

The Government (it seems) intends to have the resulting legislative changes in place by the end of the year.

The power in the Equality Act is permissive. Therefore, any religious organisations who do not wish to 'host' CP - WILL NOT BE REQUIRED TO DO SO.

Those who wish to 'host' the cermonies will apply to local registration authorities for their building to be approved for the registration of civil partnerships.

I do not know what the detailed processes are, as yet, for requirements of concent etc.


Clergy/ Ministers and Authorised Persons will be able to be designated as civil partnership registrars. This will be subject to local authority agreement.

These changes are supposed to allow that secular event to take place in a religious setting.

My personal point of view is: that as a Catholic Barrister, we need to be very aware of what is happening with the issues of civil partnerships.

I agree with FrBT who has made his feelings known about the subject. He has my support because I understand and know where he stands.

The Catholic Clergy needs to decide what the Priest or Deacon is going to say if you are approached with such a request for a CP cermony.

Be careful with your words. I suggest that you can always say that your religious building does not have local authorisation to perform or assist in CP cermonies.

But do take care that your AP has not submitted an application for such registration! The AP has powers to do so.

Lynda said...

The "authorised persons" in a Catholic parish will not be authorised by the Church to have such ceremonies. They are civil only and are in conflict with Divine Law and therefore Church teaching. Such relationships may not be recognised by the Church - they can only be condemned, as harmful to the souls concerned. Of course, the UK state cannot compel the Catholic Church to perform the ceremony for what are solely statutory, state-created, "partnerships". There is no right to enter such unions, outside of the CPA 2004.

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