The Catholic World Report this month reminds its readership about the opposite position* adopted by the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, which includes:
- Archbishop Nichols, the archbishop of Westminster, who said on BBC TV that he did not know "whether the Catholic church should one day accept the reality of gay partnerships"
- Archbishop Nichols who said on BBC TV, the day after Pope Benedict left Britain for Rome, that the Catholic Bishops of Conference of England and Wales "did NOT oppose gay civil partnerships, we recognised that in English law there might be a case for those. We persistently said that these are not the same as marriage"
- Bishop McMahon, the bishop of Nottingham, who is open to headteachers of Catholic schools being in same sex unions and who says the Church is not opposed to civil partnerships (Bishop McMahon is chairman of the Catholic Education Service of England and Wales)
- Archbishop Nichols who, questioned about his support for the provision of Masses for homosexuals who openly dissent from Catholic teaching, told those who oppose what's going on to "hold their tongue".
Cardinal Raymond Burke, the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, gave strong support to Catholics who refuse to hold their tongues about such matters. He said:
"Lying or failing to tell the truth, however, is never a sign of charity. A unity ... not founded on the truth of the moral law is not the unity of the Church. The Church's unity is founded on speaking the truth with love ... "Pope Benedict told the new ambassador from Hungary last Thursday:
"Marriage and the family constitute the decisive foundation for a healthy development of the civil society of countries and peoples. Marriage as a basic form of ordering the relationship between man and woman and, at the same time, as basic cell of the state community, has also been molded by biblical faith. Thus marriage has given Europe its particular aspect and its humanism, also and precisely because it has had to learn to acquire continually the characteristic of fidelity and of renunciation traced by it. Europe will no longer be Europe if this basic cell of the social construction disappears or is substantially transformed. We all know how much risk marriage and the family run today -- on one hand, because of the erosion of its most profound values of stability and indissolubility, because of a growing liberalization of the right of divorce, and of the custom, increasingly widespread, of man and woman living together without the juridical form and protection of marriage, on the other, because of the different types of union which have no foundation in the history of the culture and of the law in Europe. The Church cannot approve legislative initiatives that imply a valuation of alternative models of the life of the couple and the family. These contribute to the weakening of the principles of the natural law and, hence, to the relativization of the whole of legislation, in addition to the awareness of values in society."* The late Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, taught in paragraph 97 of his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae that it is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do not offer adolescents and young adults an authentic education in sexuality, and in love, and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection.
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