Government should "sustain" marriage, warns Britain's most senior Catholic
The head of the Catholic Church in Scotland has criticised ministers for seeking to "destroy" marriage through its proposed redefinition, and has called on the Scottish Government to "sustain rather than subvert" marriage.
Cardinal Keith O'Brien and the bishops of Scotland have prepared a pastoral letter to be read out to every Catholic congregation in Scotland to mobilise support against proposals to legalise same-sex marriage.
The strongly worded letter will be heard by members of 500 Catholic parishes on Sunday (26 August) and outlines the "deep disappointment" of the Church over the Government’s proposals to legislate for same sex marriages, calling on ministers to uphold traditional marriage for the "good of Scotland and our society."
It stresses that "marriage is a unique lifelong union of a man and a woman", and urges parishioners to “continue to act against efforts to redefine it”.
Speaking in relation to the initiative, Cardinal O'Brien said: "The Church's teaching on marriage is unequivocal, it is uniquely, the union of a man and a woman and it is wrong that Governments, politicians or Parliaments should seek to alter or destroy that reality.
"The Bishops of Scotland will continue to promote and uphold the universally accepted definition of marriage as the union solely of a man and a woman. At the same time, we wish to work positively for the strengthening of marriage within the Church and within our society.
"While we pray that our elected leaders will sustain rather than subvert marriage, we promise to continue to do everything we can to convince them that redefining marriage would be wrong for society."
National Commission for Marriage and the Family
The letter will also "place a special emphasis on the role of the family founded on marriage", and announce the creation of a National Commission for Marriage and the Family, a body designed to promote "the true nature of marriage" and equip families to strengthen and support the institution.
Cardinal O'Brien added: "With this letter we will announce the creation of a National Commission for Marriage and the Family, a body which will be charged with promoting the true nature of marriage, it will develop an online presence and produce materials and organise events which will help Catholic families to support and sustain marriage."
Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said:
"I am pleased that the Cardinal has shown such strong leadership on this issue. His clear stance and defence of marriage has set a strong example for the rest of the Church.
"Marriage as between a man and a woman has been ordained by God, and is the primary building block of a stable and flourishing society. It is time for the Church to take the lead and stand firm on this issue for the well-being of present and future generations.”