Sunday, March 11, 2012

Reaction to the Archbishops' Letter

Interesting reactions to the Archbishops letter about same sex marriage.

I have had a few emails from people who say their priests refused to read it or make it available, one where the priest read it and then said he entirely disagreed with it! I think those are likely to be exceptions.
Dylan says there was protestors, two, outside Westminster Cathedral.
In Teignmouth there gay activist disrupting Mass and videoing himself doing it.
Oh, and Tony Blair expressed his dissent, that'll do the pro-gay marriage lobby a great deal of harm.

And from Laodicea, who seems to hit the nail on the head, apparently the Government do claim the right to control or re-order the basic building blocks of society. What do you expect from a toff who spent his youth smashing up bars as part of the Bullingdon club? They were wealthy enough to pay for the damage then but does Cameron realise the cost of the damage he is reeking on society today?

“Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone will launch a consultation later this month on how to make civil marriage available to same-sex couples. She has said she wants to challenge the view that the government does not have the right to change marriage traditions.” BBCAha! Rare honesty! So the purpose of the ‘consultation’ is to trick its participants into implicitly denying the main point of opposition to ‘Gay Marriage’ : the principle that the Family is the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law. The most important goal of ‘Gay Marriage’ is to assert that there is no such thing as society and the family only individuals and the state.


parepidemos said...

I made a few 'phone calls after reading your post. We have 3 parishes in our town and I understand the letter was read in all of the them without any expressed dissent as to what it contained. I would posit that this has been the norm.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Parepidemos, Yes, I think that what I have reported is exceptional, as the letter was entirely reasonable, and appealed to reason.

Jacobi said...

Regarding priests who refused to read the Archbishops’ letter - as well as lay Catholics, prominent or otherwise.

Someone who wilfully refutes, as opposed to sinfully disregards, the Church’s established teaching , as duly defined by proper authority, is a dissenter.

If such a personal dissenting belief is promoted, i.e. in public, in a newspaper, or in the pulpit, etc., then the person is guilty of heresy.

A heretic, priest or prominent lay person, cannot claim to be a Catholic.

It’s all quite simple really!

Seaneinn said...

I hope Father that those who dissented have been. Opted and details sent to their superiors.

nickbris said...

Reading out the letter was a very good idea,it was a lot more understandable than just reading it oneself and now that the sound system seems to be functioning correctly it was a real pleasant experience.

There will always be a few crackpot dissenters because that sort of dissent in a country like ours is encouraged.

Most of the Worlds revolutions have been nurtured in this country because we are so "tolerant".

The secret of domination has always been to "Divide & Rule".How else could a small insignificant Nation build up the biggest Empire in History.

johnf said...

That homosexual activist has done my blood pressure no good this evening, Father.

Especially now this has gone onto the internet, the parish is likely to be inundated with abusive emails from homosexual activists.

As for Blair - nothing that this charlatan does surprises me. The only thing that surprises me is that he still is lionised by members of the Church hierarchy who should be getting out the bell book and candle and excommunicating him as well as his wife.

epsilon said...

How many churches in Southampton read it out? I was in two where it wasn't! Though one priest gave a very powerful sermon on our modern day marketplace in the temple - our own bodies being the temple and sex being what's on the market - he is a brave priest given his surroundings!

Fr Ray Blake said...

I wasn't sure about adding to his "stats" but I think will have more of this in the future.
The mad part of the "gay lobby" will do much the same as happens in the Middle East by the mad part of the "Muslim lobby" and feel free to disrupt our worship, let us pray that they wont follow them to physical violence, though obviously by British standards this was a violent and unlawful violation of a religious service.

Nicolas Bellord said...

I am afraid we did not have the letter read to us for the simple reason that it had not arrived - not a Parish church so presumably it was merely a failure of communication.

More interestingly is the position of The Tablet. Running a three-part article undermining the Archbishops' position is surely a step further into disloyalty. The Bishops have no direct control over The Tablet as far as I know but I wonder whether they will ignore this deliberate provocation. They could say that it has no right to call itself Catholic but there is no way they could enforce this - but it would cause a stir. Querying the strictures on fornication last year and now indorsing homosexual sex just how far do they have to go?

georgem said...

As such protests seem to happen when the priest is giving his sermon, it occurs to me that parishes might prepare a strategy eg the congregation to stand and sing a hymn or psalm at a signal from the priest. Or for the organist to belt it out if it's a sung Mass.

blondpidge said...

As you know, I'm in your deanery and though Fr may not have noticed, when he read the letter out last night at Vigil Mass, the atmosphere was electric. Everyone sat up and listened. You could have heard a pin drop.

As in many parishes there are members who have suffered bereavement and marital breakdowns, who found that particular passage very comforting.

One suggestion. My understanding is that there has not been much co-ordination in terms of the letter being distributed and a bit of confusion as to what the next steps are.

I downloaded and printed off a copy of the petition from the coalition for marriage to put at the back of Church. I think all parishes should do this and have a copy at the back. It is all very well urging people to go home and log on to sign on line, but if there's a hard copy, then it's much easier for people to sign. No likelihood that they will forget or get distracted. Make life easy for people.

If the petition gets over 250,000 signatures it must be debated in Parliament, there are 4 million UK Catholics, plus several other Christian denominations. The more signatures, the harder it is for the government.

I have heard suggestions of heroic people door-knocking with the petition. I wish that I were brave enough to do that in central Brighton, but perhaps Catholics could be persuaded to get like-minded friends in their social groups or in their communities to sign.

Pablo the Mexican said...

Here is an English Bishop you might want to listen to.

A Lenten Meditation for your consideration:

God be with you.


Mike Telford said...

Apropos of nothing very relevant here, but I can't get out of my mind (admittedly not a long journey) what was said in 1967 about abortion:
'There will be safeguards.'
'There will be op-outs, so that nobody will be forced to perform or assist at abortions if they feel their beliefs are being compromised.'
'There will, in any case, only be a few dozen per year wishing to avail themselves of the procedure.'
and much other self justifying codswallop.
Compare the situation we have now, some 45 years down the line:
the safeguards and optouts, effectively no longer exist - if you are not prepared to carry out 'terminations', you have no career whatever in gaenechology, obstetrics, midwifery etc.
'there will only be a few dozen...' Well, dozen turned out to mean 100s of 1,000s. Thus, about five years (?) ago, here in Mary's Dowry, we clocked up the rather emotive figure of 6 MILLION prenatal homicides and is now well on the way to its second 6 mill. Yup, world leaders we are. Makes you proud to be British dunnit?
What this apropos is simply this: the oddball lobby is 'only' asking for ever such a little tiny thing (for now), but this will run and run and grow and grow and all with the intention of becoming a lovely big stick with which to beat HMC (Holy Mother Church).

StevieD said...

In our church the letter was read by a visiting Thai priest and I could hardly understand a word of it.

Lucas said...

I was delighted by the James MacMillan lecture on Friday night, JM spoke as if we were intelligent adults, not quite what I felt about the Archbishops letter!!!

It was so bland and inoffensive.

Even so thank you for reading it with some passion, Father, and giving us an illustrated hard copy.

Anthony Bidgood said...

RE: Blondpidge,

I have signed the petition and hope many more do. I would however not limit it only Christians. To Orthodox Jews and Muslims such a proposal is also anathema.
In the Australian state of Victoria the state govt.'s "decriminalization" of abortion in 2009 met with opposition not only from Catholics but also Jewish and Muslim doctors, whom I assume represented a constituency.

Anthony Bidgood

Andrew Leach said...

Welcome to Airstrip One!

Destroying institutions, redefining language, denying family and society in favour of individual and the State; and we got the politically-correct Thought Police several years ago.

Orwell was right, just around thirty years early.

Amfortas said...

Pablo the Mexican recommends listening to Bishop Williamson. Is this deliberate provocation? The man is a known holocaust denier and a scandalous schismatic. God protect us from his like.

johnf said...

Father, I was struck by a speech by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia recently at a prolife gathering:

“Evil talks about tolerance only when it's weak. When it gains the upper hand, its vanity always requires the destruction of the good and the innocent, because the example of good and innocent lives is an ongoing witness against it. So it always has been. So it always will be.”

(H/T Joanna Bogle)

Those 'mad gays' as you call them are probably the norm as they know that whatever they do they will be protected by the police - and woe betide anyone who makes the slightest counter-protest.
I can't imagine that the police would take any action over an unlawful violation of a religious service.

In future situations, one idea might be if, on a signal from the priest, for the organist to launch fortissimo into "Faith of our Fathers" and the congregation to take it up and keep singing it until the homosexual activist retreats. anything on Youtube would resound to that fantastic hymn.

Anonymous said...

Sad that some decided not to read the Letter from the President and Vice-President of the Bishops' Conference. However the letter itself has authority primarily in the areas of the two bishops who issued it! Anyone outside of Southwark and Westminster could. I submit, lawfully ignore it unless instructed otherwise by one's own Ordinary.
The authority of Bishops' Conference vis a vis the letter is in question without evidence that the canonical majority approved of the letter at a meeting of Conference.
I hope none of the bishops would dissent from the letter but that is an entirely different matter!

gemoftheocean said...

Amfortas: Yes, surprising how the usually eagle-eyed Fr. Blake lets all these Williamson shills slip through the net. Maybe Father was taking a drag off a ciggie and was distracted at the time.

Pablo thinks all women should be subservient worms too - but that's consistent with his Williamson worship.

Delia said...


The government website says that 100,000 signatures make a petition 'eligible' for debate in the House of Commons. I can't find any reference to 250,000 - is that a new figure? But in any case, there are now (Monday morning) 138,601 signatures. The 'Coalition for Equal Marriage' petition has 25,908.

georgem said...

Im sending a card of support to Fr. Stewart (that's who's listed - no email) at the Teignmouth church.
btw Father, your blog roll has disappeared.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I thought the Bp Williamson clip was very interesting, especially how lightly he treats excommunication, it would fill me with terror, but him, "You're not excommunicated, I am! Jealous?"

So too the whole form over substance of his whole presentation, it is a whole series of rhetorical "throw ins". Compare him with Fulton Sheen, for example, I think they seem to have a similar style and are similarly charismatic, Sheen has form but he also has substance which he carefully developes. Williamson uses substance as the servant of form, an inversion of Sheen, he doesn't bother to develope it, it is rational but only in a rather personalistic self serving way. In the same way that most Spirit of V2ers would hesitate to do.
Didn't you share my reaction and want to grab him by the neck and shout in his face, "It isn't about you Mate, It is about God!"

He is very entertaining, a bit like Card Roger Mahoney on a very good day, you can almost see the adrenaline running in his veins.
He strikes me as being an adrenaline junky.

Miles Mariae said...

Our priest was supportive and seems to be planning more. My uncle however, (daily communicant) wasn't convinced and seemed to feel this wouldn't affect us. More direction needs to be given as to why this proposal is so wicked. It seems to me that it is the abolition of marriage that is being proposed.

nytor said...

Two points:

1) The petition only has to be debated in parliament after if reaches 100,000 signatures if it is on the government’s epetitions website. Shame it wasn’t set up in this way, but it wasn’t, so I can’t see that it will require parliamentary debate.
2) Just curious: how was what the activist did unlawful?

pseudonymous said...

The activist in Teignmouth is David Haines. You can e-mail him with your thoughts on his behaviour by using the contact details he provides here.

Dominie said...

Wasn't read out in our parish, so not sure of why. The newighbouring parish attached the letter to the newsletter.

notarobot said...

Ezra on WDTPRS has posted a link to a Catholic re-upload of the protest video... links to the letter and the Coalition for Marriage channel.

Anonymous said...

If the letter clarified the teaching of the Church on marriage for those listening, that is good. However, many parents of students in Catholic schools may not have a clear understanding of the Church's teaching on homosexuality from which they could explain the reasons in the letter. The link below gives the weaknesses in the GCSE textbook used in Catholic schools. The classroom teaching doesn't seem to give students a clear understanding of distinct male and female nature, let alone an appreciation that feelings about anything in life aren't always right feelings
from matercatholica

nickbris said...

Whatever the topic somebody always has to slip in some anti-smoking nonsense.It may well be that that the smoking ban in Public places has certainly saved the Health Service a lot of money on the Cardio-Vascular side of Health-Care,but there is ample proof that Mental Illness has increased a hundredfold.

Fr Ray Blake said...

""Anonymous" comments are always rejected."

Please invent a name, even if you put it at the bottom of the comment, it just gets too confusing if someone wants to answer you.

gemoftheocean said...

Fr. Blake: Both Williamson and Mahoney tend to make me physically ill. Williamson couldn't carry Fulton Sheen's [insert article of male only athletic support here.]
And Mahoney always makes me think of clown Masses.

I do find anonymous's comment re: the RE book as a set book to pass the EDEXCEL exam most interesting.

As I understand it (correct me if I am wrong) UK youth are required by law to study RE before the age of 16 if they attend a state supported school. As to the content and the materials studied, who gets the say so re: what goes in the 'Catholic section' if it is broken out in such a way? Are the Catholic 'powers that be' the ones falling down in making sure the material covered re: the Catholic faith the best that it can be? Or if not 'the best' which is, admittedly subjective, at least use a book which does not outright undermine the faith or give tepid arguments for its beliefs?

Your religious schools, I gather often receive some state monies, so I don't know if they are all considered 'state schools' as well, even if they are supposedly faith based. Would a Catholic school be allowed to opt out teaching the formal syllabus that leads to RE GCSE? The students don't HAVE to sit that exam, if my understanding is correct. Could not Catholic schools NOT follow the National syllabus if they are not considered a 'state school?' In the US I went to a private Catholic high school. In order to graduate we were required to take a religious studies class every semester. FWIW I thought some were totally USELESS (such as the 'religious counseling' class I was forced to take in 12th grade -- damn all religion in it as far as I could tell- it happened that was the only class that fit my time table once the religious class I'd signed up for was yanked last minute due to the low number of students who'd opted for it. OTOH, the year previous I'd taken an Introduction to Philosophy Class, which was excellent, from one of the Dominican brothers at the school. [As it happened that particular class also was able to count for my total 'Carnegie units' when I applied for college because of the academic rigor.]

David O'Neill said...

I have today written to both archbishops with a complaint that their letter was not strong enough, indeed 'wishy-washy' comes to mind. What we need is leadership to reinforce the fact that homosexual & lesbian 'marriage' is not acceptable to the vast majority of, not only, Catholics but laity and clergy from mant religions. As an apolitical person (I voted Conservative after looking at all manifestos) I think that our leadership should be encouraging us to write to political parties & our MPs making it clear that this question is of such import that we will NOT support any political party which tends towards bringing in such legislation.
There are times for prayer, & this is one of them, but prayer must be backed up by actions & those actions must be sufficiently robust to ensure that our parliamentarians (of whatever persuasion) are aware of the consequences of continuing with this folly of pandering to a vociferous minority of homosexuals (don't call them gay) who are pushing their own agenda

Sadie Vacantist said...

Richard Williamson was not excommunicated. When lifting the canonical penalty against him, Pope Benedict studiously avoided the use of the “E” word. Williamson knew that the censure was absurd and it was for that reason he mocked it.

How it can be concluded that he is an adrenalin junkie based on this clip is beyond me. Williamson holds some views that were common place amongst Thatcher’s backbenchers circa 1980. Nicholas Soames still holds them.

Anonymous said...

Up here in Lancashire, our parish priest read the letter with gusto and enthusiasm, adding afterwards that he would have put the sentiments in stronger terms. It was very good to hear.

Bob H.

Paul said...

Father Ray

Could I ask for the names of the parishes where the letter was NOT read out by the Priest to be sent to your blog?

Thank you.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Paul, Certainly not!
As I say I have received emails but I wasn't there, I am reporting what was reported to me. I have deliberately did not ask for the names of priests or the parishes, nor will I!

Fr Gerard said...

Dear Fr Ray,

I didn't read out the pastoral letter on Sunday because I have yet to receive it. I should have downloaded it I suppose. I shall read it when it finally arrives.
People shouldn't assume dissidence on all occasions.

Dominie said...

I thought I would email Bp Conry about the letter - whether it was just an optional extra. The reply I got - the letter was either to be read out, or given out in hard copy according to the PP's preference - so reading it out in public was not compulsory. My PP made the hard copy available so he did his duty - the trouble is - I think the letters may have gone 'astray' by some upset parishioners, as there was no evidence of the letters on Sunday - they were placed carefully in the church on Saturday. In my mother's parish Truro - a woman stood up and in front of everyone - shredded all the petition forms and walked out with all the bits of paper on the floor.

FrBT said...


Thank God it is Tuesday!

I have not stopped since Saturday evening. Everybody listened intensively, even the parishioners who comment negatively about most things said that the letter from the Bishops was very good.

I have got many, many parishioners to sign the petition. Also, our good friends from the local Anglican churches have popped in and asked for a copy of the Bishop's letter, and also signed the petition.

We have been 'buzzing' as my cleaning ladies put it.

Well done to everybody who participated and fulfilled the Bishop's request.

Shame on those priests who did not. Those who took part in the act of insubordination have obviously and very clearly a personal problem!


Pablo the Mexican said...

"...Pablo the Mexican recommends listening to Bishop Williamson. Is this deliberate provocation? The man is a known holocaust denier and a scandalous schismatic. God protect us from his like..."

Just about every Mexican there is will tell you there was no 'holocaust' but the one of Jesus Christ at Calvary.

Mexico is the only nation on the planet that allowed Jewish immigration into Mexico that was unsupervised; the Jews had free access to Mexico as a safe haven.

"...Pablo thinks all women should be subservient worms too - but that's consistent with his Williamson worship...."

You owe my dear departed Mommy and wife an apology.

Liberal feminists hate the vocation that God gave to them.

God fearing women have no problem obeying God's command to be fruitful and multiply.

My Mommy bore fifteen children, my wife became pregnant nine times.

They were far from being 'subservient worms'.

Women like these fulfill that of which Archbishop Sheen once spoke of:

To a great extent the level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood. When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.”

-- Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

An apology is required for having called my dear Mommy a subservient worm, Madam.


Pablo the Mexican said...

Padre Blake,

Yours is a very astute observation of His Excellency Bishop Williamson...

I spoke today with a Priest that will be working with the good Bishop this summer.

Your remarks were a great part of that communication.

Please pray a few extra Hail Marys for the Bishop, as well I am certain you pray for the Holy Father and all his Priests and Religious.

We are in a time of trial, and the last thing we want to see are souls falling into Hell, especially those of Priests and Religious.

They suffer the greatests when condemn.

Viva Cristo Rey!


rachel said...

Our priest didnt read it out nor made any mention that such a letter exists!!!! It is important to our Catholic Faith so maybe i shall remind him this weekend!!!!

Anonymous said...

Rachel, our parish priest refused to read the letter on the 3 Holy masses he served last Sunday. It was a Catholic family who took it upon themselves to distribute the letter amongst the parishioners and explained the petition as well. Many people came to the church that morning ready to listen to the pastoral letter and get some guidance from pp! He had the audacity to call a parishioner aggressive and militant when inviting people to sign the petition! How can a Catholic priest not teach and defend the Church is beyond me. My worry is for many of the young families in that parish who are not getting proper spiritual nourishment.
Why are priests like these still calling themselves Catholic and taking The Tablet as an authority on matters of faith?!?!
God bless you Father Ray and all the brave priests who know that our Mother Church does not change according to " political seasons".


John said...


Please write to The Papal Nuncio and inform his Excellency of what you saw during last weekend at your church. Please be accurate with all the details.

Thank you.


Fr Paul said...

Father Blake

I think you need to address the real reason why the priests who could have but did not, read the Bishops' letter.

We need to get down to the real truth. We know why they did not read the Letter. Let us stop kidding ourselves and everybody else.

The priesthood has a deep and serious problem. That needs to be sorted out and addressed.

We are being attacked from outside and the inside is not much better.

This is a real mess at the present.

Fr Paul

FrBT said...

Fr Paul

I think you have hit the nail on the head.


Anonymous said...

I think the best solution for me is to get on my knees and pray for such priest. Must not underestimate the power of prayer.I am pinning my hopes on the Holy Spirit...
Fr BT,
I think YOU hit the nail on the head with your posting from 13th March...

Though not sure what the author (Fr Paul) meant by "Let us stop kidding ourselves and everybody else."