Archbishop Nichols criticised George Osbourne last night in speech and spoke of the deep unease he felt existed over the redefinition of marriage. He pressed for the full disclosure of the Governments "consultation"
But speaking in London, after a four-day meeting of Catholic bishops, the Archbishop said: “He is the politician not I – I just think it is too important to be made simply as a political football.Perhaps pressing for the disclosure of the consultation document is something that even the most militant pro gay marriage MP is something might agree to, if that happens then perhaps those who are just afraid of being called "bigot" or "homophobe" might take courage.
“This is not simply a redefining of marriage to accommodate a few, it is a redefining of marriage for everyone and therefore all marriages, if this bill is introduced, will be different.
“It is a different reality for everybody and that is a very serious matter and one to which we are very strongly opposed and will remain strongly opposed. He said that while it was for politicians to try to judge the political mood the Church would continue to argue for the traditional definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
“It is a very important building block in society and it is very foolish to alter that when as far as we can see there is not a specific identified problem that that change is supposed to be addressing,” he said. “My own sense is that many people feel deeply uneasy about this move, it was not in any election manifesto, it has not in that sense been put to the country.
“That is why the strength of opinion expressed in the consultation ought not to be hidden and that’s why we want the full disclosure of the results of that consultation.”
At its gathering in Leeds this week, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference agreed a resolution insisting that all political parties allow their MPs a free vote on the issue and the results of the Government’s consultation on “equal marriage” be published in full. The consultation document made clear earlier this year that the different views expressed would be taken into account but “not the number of responses received”.