Sunday, 7 October 2012

Come on Your Grace: Just say the Church opposes Civil Partnerships

The Catholic Herald has reported  that The Archbishop of Westminster has warned Marriage Care that it must conform to Catholic teaching after it emerged that the charity is offering marriage preparation services to same-sex couples....
A spokesman for Archbishop Vincent Nichols, president of Marriage Care, said his role was exercised “solely on the basis that the charitable objects… are to provide relationship counselling, marriage preparation and relationship education services to ‘promote and support marriage and family life in accordance with the Church’s vision of marriage as a vocation of life and love’.”
He added: “It is the legal and fiduciary responsibility of the directors of the company to ensure that the charitable objects of Catholic Marriage Care Limited are observed and fulfilled. The provision of services in accordance with the teaching of the Catholic Church is also a requirement for Catholic Marriage Care Limited to maintain its continued use of the title Catholic within its designation and to retain the patronage of one of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales.”

Now excuse me - there is NO SUCH THING as same sex marriage in this country at present.
Therefore those same-sex couples undergoing 'marriage' preparation are about to engage in a civil partnership.
Which His Grace has repeatedly declared 'The Church DOES NOT OPPOSE'

[Yes I know - we all know the Church does oppose them - It states a duty to oppose - then in the CDF 2004 Considerations it reiterated its position on same-sex unions - irrespective of the moral justice within certain aspects of the rights entailed within such legislation [joint ownership, rights to legacy, hospital visitation etc] we must not co-operate in any way with the formation of a civil union which scandalises marriage in its emulation]

...and yes, Conference has republished in December 2011 its 2003 deposition declaring we 'strongly oppose' Civil partnerships making this the precedential position of the National Church...
[and here's where the trickiness comes out - because the appeal for the 'opt-out' being made is that Vatican definitions of 'same-sex unions' imply sexual activity while the British legislation does not mention it at all - but this is an outright fallacy as Catholic teaching persistently reminds us that it is impossible for same-sex couples to consummate a 'union' in the first place! Sexual activity is NOT the issue - the emulation of marriage is! ]

The Vatican reprimand which demanded His Grace clarify his position led to +Vin making a statement which obfuscated, equivocated and far from clarified the official position. Let's go through the history:


 ...and in a Press Conference Nov '11
'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


after Dr Oddie rightly objected on the Catholic Herald blogs

[for which he's accused of being mischievous]

[and a widely leaked reprimand from the Vatican]

- we had this: [from 9:25]

[where inserted is a sneaky contradicting 'which we objected to'!!?]

Leading to Dr Oddie's response:

...and ever since?
Silence on the issue until complaints about Marriage Care giving 'marriage preparation classes' to same-sex couples 'go viral' in the Catholic Blogosphere...hence the feeble [and somewhat hypocritical] reprimand.

...and may I remind everyone that the 'authoritative, but not official' statement made on behalf of the Bishops by Catholic Voices persists in saying [para]

"We do not oppose Civil Partnerships..rather the only thing wrong with them is their same-sex exclusivity" & in repeated media interviews such an extent that only last month a member of Catholic Voices declared that
"Rome has not spoken on the issue...

[ one may only assume that Catholic Voices are saying the Civil Partnership legislation does not conform to Rome's definition or Conference's 2003 definition of same-sex unions and is therefore open to debate? This seems hardly credible!!! ]

...therefore this is solely a matter of informed conscience and individual prudential judgment!!"

One can only assume that this chaotic fiasco will continue until His Grace actually does what the Vatican told him to do in the first place...
State Catholic teaching that we oppose Civil Partnerships!

Over to you Your Grace: You can't make ridiculous attempts to paper over the cracks while your representatives continue to perform actions grounded upon that to which your declarations gave the green light....

But as for Terry Prendergast - He's being scape-goated and reprimanded while simultaneously being told: that he's doing nothing wrong!!  - from the highest authority [i.e. the President of Catholic Marriage Care AND his own Archbishop]

The Westminster farce ensues...little wonder rumours abound that the Nunciature & Ambrosden Avenue are far from being in diplomatic accord.

1 comment:

Bleugh said...

It could be worse - just look at the Anglicans.But I agree. This morning's readings were an ideal opportunity to stress the point to the faithful but in my diocese a Pastoral Letter was read out from the Bishop in the Year of Faith instead of the homily, and it completely failed to point out that the most effective witnesses for the faith are always the orthodox in faith who proclaim the timeless truth of the church.