Cutting Edge Comment

6th March 2012
Response on Current Same-Sex Marriage Debates
By: Cutting Edge Consortium

The Cutting Edge Consortium is appalled by the offensive language used by Cardinal Keith O’Brien in his recent Sunday Telegraph article. While he is described as ‘ Britain ’s most senior Catholic’, it should be pointed out that he has no ecclesiastical jurisdiction in England , Wales , or Northern Ireland . His comments clearly breach the etiquette of not interfering in matters pertaining to another Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

The stance adopted by both Cardinal Keith O’Brien and, in much less strident tones, by the President and Vice-President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England & Wales in their forthcoming Letter to be read in Catholic churches this coming Sunday, 11 March, is clearly driven by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, rather than expressing the views of a majority of their grassroots adherents.

Catholic hierarchies are whipping up a frenzy on the issue of same-sex marriage, presenting all sorts of irrational fantasies. They fail to recognise the wounds they inflict on the parents, families, and friends of those in same-sex relationships by pitching support for committed relationships of lesbian and gay people against what is little more than ideology based on narrow understandings of religious traditions. Bishops, and others, claim that neither the Church nor the State is able to redefine the institution of marriage, yet society through changing cultural patterns, including various religious influences, has done precisely this over centuries. Institutions of faith have also redefined their understanding of marriage to include polygamous relationships, the divorce and remarriage of people previously understood to have been united ‘until death do them part’, as well as developing emphasis from betrothed relationships to property concepts of the marriage contract. Religious leaders therefore fail in their civic and pastoral responsibilities to enable not only their church members, but all people of good-will to reach conscientious decisions regarding the plans proposed by the Coalition Government. They therefore compromise their avowed commitment to the common good.

Cutting Edge Consortium members hold a diversity of views around the issue of same-sex marriage. Nevertheless, we are committed to campaigning for progressive legislation which upholds the rights of all LGBT UKcitizens. Therefore, the CEC supports legislation which makes available same-sex civil marriage to those who wish to have this status.