Marriage law leaves English Catholics in an ‘alien land’
Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth says the Church supports and loves homosexual people, but, despite new laws at odds with Catholic values, stands by traditional marriage as a union between a man and a woman
The legalisation of same-sex ‘marriage’ has left English Catholics in a ‘strange land’ filled with ‘unfamiliar customs,’ the Bishop of Portsmouth has said.
Bishop Philip Egan (above) added that with the greater use of contraception, the unitive and procreative aspects of sexual intercourse have become separated, leading to pleasure without responsibility and widespread sex outside marriage.
“We will certainly need to review our preaching, teaching and school curricula, which henceforth must recognise that our Catholic system of meanings and values is strikingly different from what secular culture now deems normal or acceptable,” Bishop Egan said in a statement released by his diocese.
The bishop reaffirmed that ‘the Church loves homosexual persons, even if we hold firm to our Christian conviction that sexual relations find their true place within [traditional] marriage.’
“As Catholics, like Israel in Egypt, we now find ourselves in an alien land that speaks a foreign language with unfamiliar customs,” Bishop Egan said. “For what we mean by matrimony, sexual intercourse and family life is no longer what today’s world, the Government, the NHS and policy-makers understand by marriage, sex and the family.”
The bishop said English and Welsh Catholics now faced a daily challenge to defend their Faith.
“Parliament’s Orwellian attempt to redefine marriage radically changes the social context and this presents a massive challenge to the Church in England and Wales: to those who wish to marry in our churches, to Catholic parents bringing up children, to teachers in our Catholic schools, and to the clergy engaged in pastoral ministry,” he said. “It may also be a legal minefield, although we will have to wait before the full implications of the new legislation take effect.”
He concluded with a call to the Faithful: “As Catholics, let us be on our guard, and continue compassionately to warn our society of the wrong turns it is taking.”
— Pope Francis’ message on pastoral support for homosexual people here.