The definition of marriages changes all the time. For example, plural marriage is still practised in some parts of the world. However, one would not see such an act condoned by the Church, which has, despite what this bishop says, redefined marriage as being one man and one women (which, coincidentally, is certainly not the nature of marriage in the Old Testament, despite their appeals to the story of Adam and Eve).
““No authority – civil or religious – has the power to modify the fundamental nature of marriage.”
What the hell does that mean?
The fundamental nature of marriage was a social construction, and therefore both civil and/or religious authorities have the power to modify its “fundamentals”.
This man is the purest form of idiot.
“The Archbishop of Southwark, the Most Rev Peter Smith, has claimed it is not “necessary nor desirable” for gay couples to have civil partnerships conducted within churches and other religious buildings.”
Presumably this is so, because according to the pope; LGBT people are in instrinsic and morally disordered evil
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
“No authority – civil or religious – has the power to modify the fundamental nature of marriage.”
No civil or religous institution owns marriage
Am I the only one who is getting really fed up with the world at the moment? Every small and meaningless advance we have as humans takes a huge amount of effort, and it is fought every step of the way. Imagine if someone said today – a black man and a white woman could not get married: there would be outrage. Imagine if someone said a jew and a muslim could not get married: there would be outrage. Same about disabled people, fat people, the dumb, the ugly. Yet only if you are gay or lesbian does it become an issue, only then can people in authority come out and attack you. The opposition to this small and rather meaningless piece of legislation, coupled with the rise of faith schools free from the national curriculum and funded by the tax payer and the rise in evangelical christianity makes me worried that this country will in my lifetime once again become somewhere where it is bad to be gay.
Sorry about the scattered rant – am having a bad day :(
Marriage does not belong to the state any more than it belongs to the church. It is a fundamental human institution rooted in human nature itself. It is a lifelong commitment of two people to each other, publicly entered into, and for their mutual wellbeing.
This jerk makes my blood boil. Why any GLBT person would set foot in a Catholic Church much less donate to them is beyond me. They ought to focus on their pedophile problem rather than trying to take away people’s civil rights.
There is a connection with the Archbishop of Southwarks pronoucments, and statement from Rome on how antidiscrimination laws are against catholic values.
“With these and similar word games combined with an extreme interpretation of “anti-discrimination,” international institutions are imposing ideologies across the globe — policies that oppose Catholic thought and influence daily life. And in general, people realize there’s been a change too late.”
the thing that is not desireable is a church that has always needed someone to demonize to sell its queer brand of love.
Jews were victims, which led to Hitler, born and baptised catholic leveraging that hatred to gain power.
and 55 million died for the church that talks about saving life.
While it has yet to excommunicate him.
Instead in 2009 it UNexcommunciated Bishop Williamson, a Holocaust denier.
And we all know about the churches endless molestation and worse hiding these crimes all over the world
When will we figure out how to break the horrible grip it has on so many people.
And the greatest even in the western world in 1500 years will be the sign on the vaitcan stating
He’s right – a religious marriage is not necessary or desirable to any SANE LGBT person. Civil marriage will just fine. Though there are a few ‘gay Christians’ on here (could there be a greater oxymoron?).
Why would anyone want to swear allegiance and seek acceptance from a sub-culture that has persecuted them since time immemorial?
Let the few religious LGBT people slug it out with them, the more time we waste on these religious types, the more we will dilute our efforts to secure civil marriage that is equal to everyone else’s.
Whether the Quakers, the bakers or the effing candlestick makers want to allow them or not is of no interest me. All I want is the law to be on the side of fairness.
The church is all but dead in Europe so I hear, dying in Latin America, and about 30% of the American Catholics are lapsed.
We all face the battle of the bulge to destroy once and for all this murderous, child abusive and despicable organization.
And look out for the evangelicals. Eg the American Pat Robertson who has 10s of millions of followers, said of the terrible earthquake in Haiti – they deserved it.
While he flys around in private jets, owns a dozen fancy cars, multiple houses, etc.
Sick pig should be taken to Nuremburg and tried for crimes against humanity.
It is too late=- for the church. We only need to find the way to break the hold hhe church has on its people, and the battle will be all over.
Too bad the lions didn’t win ALL the battles way back in the Romam theatre in the good old days.
Its not necessary to get married in a church if you dont want to, as long as you have the right to get married.
What is necessary is to destroy this evil institution, that also was behind the christian (meaning cath) crusades of 900-1500 Ad , when an estimated 40 million muslims were murdered in the name of God.
No wonder some of those people don’t like the west. We need to get them to focus on the catholic church as the enemy of enemies. And make sure they don’t use planes full of innocent people.
Allah Akbar (God is great)
This reminds me of growing up in Mississippi USA in the 60′s and listening to my very racist parents explaining to me what “the coloreds” did and didn’t REALLY want and need. The funny thing was that it was NEVER what the actual black people themselves said that they really wanted and needed.
So here’s the lesson for today. Never ask a racist what black people really want and need and never ask a homophobe what gay people really want and need.
I might add, NEVER ask a celibate man who’s never had sex or been married ANYTHING about sex or marriage!
It shouldn’t take a brain surgeon to figure THAT out.
“Not necessary or desirable…..What a coincidence…..That’s exactly my feelings about the catholic church….
Well, no authority – civil or religious – has the power to interfere with the fundamental rights of a child. But the catholic priests did with great liberty. And then they tries to cover it up. These vermin have no right to be dictating morals to anyone.
MY kids have promised to live in sin and not get married until gay people can get married.
Simple as that.
“A damning 2009 Irish government report on child abuse by priests in the Dublin archdiocese between 1975 and 2004 said the church in Ireland had “obsessively” concealed the abuse.
The report said one priest admitted abusing more than 100 children. Another said he had abused children every two weeks for more than 25 years.”
So the idea that David suggested — that the church did not declare heterosexual marriage to be a sacrament until 1215 CE — comes from the work of John Boswell, who was a historian and professor at Yale. He was a devout Roman Catholic. Wikipedia’s article on him is at:
His writings touched off detailed debate in The Irish Times, and the article that triggered off the debate, a major feature in the “Rite and Reason” religion column in the paper by respected Irish historian and religious commentator Jim Duffy:
has been reproduced on many websites, for example at:
From the article:
The very idea of a Christian homosexual marriage seems incredible. Yet after a twelve year search of Catholic and Orthodox church archives Yale history professor John Boswell has discovered that a type of Christian homosexual “marriage” did exist as late as the 18th century.
Contrary to myth, Christianity’s concept of marriage has not been set in stone since the days of Christ, but has evolved as a concept and as a ritual.
Interesting stuff …
Thanks harry, thought it appropriate to paste your comment from the Ed Leigh MP thread here.
Pavlos, thanks for re-posting Harry’s previous information about the sacrament of marriage.
It’s preety rich , some people many be allowed to do religious Cs by the end of the P (CP not marriages!!!) what concern is it of his. Religious freedom applies to everyone not just him. This is more to do with dissent within their own ranks.
As for marriage then we’re still a long way from that. His argument is old, there tons of arguments against it.
Let’s get the govt to start the debate on marriage equality soon
Well, I know several Roman Catholic clergymen who would disagree and who would jump at the opportunity of getting married to their long-term gay partners.
Ibelieve the extraordinary work of John Boswell (who died of AIDS, btw) has been somewhat discredited by Louis Crompton’s “Homosexuality & Civilization”, Harvard University Press, 2003.
Records show without a doubt that the RRC, far from approving and blessing same-sex love, has literally butchered countless thousands of homosexuals in the course of its history, and in the most cruel ways imagineable.
marriage was around centuries ago for same-sex couples until the christians stole it – if he wanted to be accurate then he would support same-sex marriage as the redefinition means same-sex couples we’re excluded, he’s just another ignorant hypocritical homophobe unfortunately
from wikipedia:The first historical mention of the performance of same-sex marriages occurred during the early Roman Empire. For instance, Emperor Nero is reported to have engaged in a marriage ceremony with one of his male slaves. Emperor Elagabalus “married” a Carian slave named Hierocles. It should be noted, however, that conubium existed only between a civis Romanus and a civis Romana (that is, between a male Roman citizen and a female Roman citizen), so that a so-called marriage between two Roman males (or with a slave) would have no legal standing in Roman law (apart, presumably, from the arbitrary will of the emperor in the two aforementioned cases). Furthermore, “matrimonium is an institution involving a mother, mater. The idea implicit in the word is that a man takes a woman in marriage, in matrimonium ducere, so that he may have children by her.” Still, the lack of legal validity notwithstanding, there is a consensus among modern historians that same-sex relationships existed in ancient Rome, but the exact frequency and nature of “same-sex unions” during that period is obscure. In 342 AD Christian emperors Constantius II and Constans issued a law in the Theodosian Code (C. Th. 9.7.3) prohibiting same-sex marriage in Rome and ordering execution for those so married. link is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage#Ancient
You say you believe Boswell’s work has been discredited, is that so?
People say they believe all sorts of things.
Apologies jonpol, that came across as snarky but i didn’t intend that, I meant that I need to do some research before I accept what someone says they believe…not meant to be personal.
What a load of irrelevant drivel. He piously acknowledges ‘religious freedom’ and then seeks to deny a form of it which he happens not to approve of himself. Something religion has a long history of.
“..which unhelpfully blurs the distinction previously upheld by parliament and the courts between marriage and civil partnerships.”
No, it doesn’t – no more than the fact that a few Christian churches marry divorcees but most don’t. It’s their choice. I don’t see Rev Smith trying to stop that. Clearly, his problem is just with gay people.
Chester and others – you’re absolutely right. Marriages did occur between people of the same sex in the past. I’d add that the churches’ obsession with homosexuality is also something that started centuries after Jesus.
Yes, the shameless sef-interest of this obnoxious and superstitious chimp is not so much astounding as it is drearily predictable.
Really? When I was young you could only get married in church if you were a regular church-goer (My sister s wish to get married in the church in my father’s hometown was refused because she wasn’t of that parrish). That was changed sharpish enough when ot suited the churches (ie when they realised they were losing money)
Funny how time Hasn’t stopped for those countries that have Equal marriage and have religion in their country.
I wonder if the idea is to roll out religious Civil Partnerships at the end of the year to show these nutjobs the world not only doesn’t cave in on itself but very few people are actually bovvered what the church thinks as all they talk about is unnecessary scaremongering.
Prehaps these Archbishops should spend more time looking at those in the world who have nothing, no food, no water, that are tortured, murdered all in the name of religion.
With the amount of hate in this world, usually sponsored by some religion, somewhere, maybe the question of who loves who will only then become trivial in comparison.
Here’s some news for the Archbishop of Southwark and his gay hating church of corruption.
“Charges initiated against Pope for crimes against humanity”
“They claim the Pope “is responsible for the preservation and leadership of a worldwide totalitarian regime of coercion which subjugates its members with terrifying and health-endangering threats”.”
What is needed is something along the line of the French system: to be legal marriage has to be civil and take place at the town hall. Religious people can have another ceremony if they want in their church/temple/whatever but this only has value for themselves and their god.
and, of course, it should be left to each religious group to decide whether they want to marry gays or not.
no offense taken , I can assure you.
as an ex-catholic I read and embraced every word written by the adorable John Boswell, and I can ceratinly recognize a scholarly work when I see one.
Boswell did discover documentation in vatican archives regarding monastic rituals blessing same-sex unions. It must be remembered that monasteries were occupied by the children of nobility and aristoctrats who had tremnendous temporary power over theological implications of the scroptures… I mean scriptures.
At best, these unions were exceptions and not the rule.
Louis Crompton has found documented proof (names and places) of the persecutions and executions of thousands of ‘sodomists’, and I do tend to agree that persecution of homosexuality in the catholic church has been the rule since the days of the horribly homopjhobic Philo of Alexandria (3-4 century AD).
Still, evidence has been discovered that same-sex unions were indeed highly respected in pre-christian times, notably in the Old Kingdom of Egypt.
In fact, not too long ago, a tomb of an ancient Egyptian gay couple was found in the Saqqara Valley, the oldest homosexual couple on record:
this self-important archbishop (a word that smacks of the power structure of the papal dictatorship which is the RCC) ought to be reminded that St John Cardinal Newman and his life-long companion, Ambrose St-John, were buried in the same grave.
Also, I agree with Rich that many gay priests who are enjoying the benefits of sexual release within a loving relationship relationship would totally disagree with the RCC’s teachings on sexuality.
Balderdash, your Hemminence, and up yours.
I agree with the Catholic Archbishop civil partnerships are not “necessary nor desirable”
That’s why we need full equal marriage.
What we should worry about is the totalitarian tone of the church of England and the Catholic church. It seems they are now dictating what other faiths and other denominations can believe and how the conduct there own traditions. We know the church of England and the Catholic church are a bunch of rabid gay hating bigots, but its worrying when they seek impose this on other faiths and denominations.
This is the imposition of a totalitarian Christian orthodoxy on the nation. Its that same type of orthodoxy that plunged us into 400 years of war against the then papist Spanish and French on the orders of the pope.
(criminal culpability of extremist religious righters who preach death to those they hate.) http://www.bilerico.com/2011/02/30_years_of_radical_righters_who_incite_murder.php?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BilericoProject+%28The+Bilerico+Project%29&utm_content=FaceBook
@jonpol — that’s interesting. I guess the important thing is that same sex unions were sometimes recognized. It doesn’t matter if it’s infrequently because the argument is that it’s never been sanctioned by the church before, and that equal marriage is a modern phenomena, part of the moral decline of civilization that we’re living in at the moment.
I know a Quaker who is just as discriminatory as the Catholic Church!
I’m ticking the “No Religion” box in the 2011 census:
The archbishop added: “Marriage does not belong to the state any more than it belongs to the church. It is a fundamental human institution rooted in human nature itself. It is a lifelong commitment of a man and a woman to each other, publicly entered into, for their mutual wellbeing and for the procreation and upbringing of children.”
Here we go again, that worn out old procreation mantra red herring. Excuse me bigot Smith, but the state most certainly does own marriage when it issues marriage licences and certificates of marriage, you moron. We might as well ban heterosexual couples who can’t or choose not to procreate. Since when does civil marriage mandate procreation? Ga couples marrying in 10 countries hasn’t stoped that now has it? The arrogance of both the C of E and Roman cults on this issue is breath-taking. What gives them the right to speak for other denominations who are more than willing to perform religious ceremonies for both civil partnerships and same sex marriages?
The government ought to stop giving financial aid to religious schools and while they’re at it, disestablish the C of E. Let their followers support them instead of letting these parasites sponge off of the state including gay tax payers. It is such a pity that the catholic emancipation act was ever enacted and it hardly is in a position to judge us given its history of harbouring paedophile priests and bishops for almost two millenia. among other things. It is nothing more than morally bankrupt.
Civil partnerships are not ‘necessary nor desirable’.
Ditch CPs once and for all and make marriage for everybody.
Pete Smith…self-appointed expert on religious civil partnerships say NO!
Another sanctimonious of tawt !
We need RC clergy to lecture us morals, ex and marriage !
sorry i was cross !
old twat !
Another piss-elegant bishop shooting his homophobic mouth off- it’s time for a little comic relief at the catholic church’s expense:
As a practising Catholic I can honestly say that he doesn’t speak for me. Most decent Catholics are appalled when Bishops open their mouth and put their foot in it, usually on issues they know nothing about!!
Cleggy – what makes you think Quakers are nice, liberal or any different from any other person. I’m sick of the press etc saying it’s only the liberal religions that would allow religious CP or gay marriages (implying they are irrelevant becuase they are just being nice).
It’s nothing to do with liberalism, being nice , it’s about their intepretation of christianity and relgioun. I , for one, applaud anyone/any group who is in favour of marriage equality, someone who is willing to knock the relgious , Chrisitian argument on its head becuase that’s what it has done. Not all religious orgs are sitting on the same bench as the CofE and the catholic church and religious freedom it seems is so important. Do you honestly think that having the Quaker say something different to the CofE and the Catholic is not good for us.
As for one of the guys above who said let them (Quakers/Bakers) fight their own battle then I’m not sure they’ve had any help in the first place , they are fighting their own battle, they are the brave ones that are fighting against the majority of the “Church”.
It’s going to be relgious CPs that are with us first NOT marriage equality so give them a little bit of support, they’re on the same side!!!. They want equality for all!! Would we really have had any annoucement from Lynne Featherstone or any media coverage of marriage equality if this tedious bit of legislation hadn’t go this far…
The whole argument this guy is putting forward at the moment is an appeal to people’s homophobia, let us keep marriage exclusive to straights, it’s their own special thing not available to gays…
Damian Thompson’s comment on the recent Bishops outburst
It’s one thing to be thought an idiot – quite another to open your mouth and prove it! Who cares what this guy says?
Bit harsh on the old arch bish there. He’s got to tow the line – and most priests I’ve met are very humble, loving and kind when greeted with a human nature they don’t fully understand. (There was one git, who reflected views more Ugandan, hence his accent, than Christian.) The first rule of Catholicism is that God’s love is for everyone. There is charity. Beyond that, it’s understandably pretty tough at times to reconcile a transcendental metaphysic, which we can only seek to grasp through human reason, with the world of the flesh. The Church, though, is forever evolving. Perhaps it’s right that it shouldn’t leap to fall in with relatively recent trends. God is love – the rest is detail.
What’s a bit harsh ? What he said, or the fact that someone’s reported what he said ?
You say god’s love is for everyone, yet I find it hard to reconcile your god of love with the god who created the parasitic worm that can only live in the human eye. Worms that bore through people’s eyeballs and make them blind.
Toe the line by the bye.
“Bit harsh on the old arch bish there. He’s got to tow the line – and most priests I’ve met are very humble, loving and kind when greeted with a human nature they don’t fully understand.”
. . . . . . . . . .
Bishops continue to have a certain position of power, which gives them an undeserved access to socal commentary.
Do you not think it is about time they began to understand this “Human nature”, that elludes them; and on which they get to pass judgement periodically!!!
Ignorance, but as long as you are humble, loving and kind; surely is an oxymoron
Heres what I have to say to the bishop and priests everywhere: How about you worry about preventing children (particularly boys) being molested in the church, and come back to gay topics at a later date. In other words: STOP MOLESTING KIDS YOU FREAKS AND THEN YOU COME AFTER GAY PEOPLE!?! Look in the fu3king mirror you dinosaur… this is 2011 NOT 1856…
Hang on – I’m seriously not spamming here but I might as well try to follow the flow rather than bury this as one individual reply. So here goes on a copy, just as soon as I’ve got a pen and paper to work out what 5+6 is…. (We metaphysical types can be really dumb, you know – especially the gay ones!!) Right: The Church is a way of engaging with an idea of God. And God represents a totality – of intelligence, of being… A totality. This is partly a question of semantics, but also and more of our sense of reality. The Catholic Church does preserve, on paper and often still in its pronouncements, views which have recently been disproved. There is also the problem of the declaration of papal infallibility – late 19th C, and a political reaction. Around the time the British invented the concentration camp. There is a reason why bishops tend to be reluctant to issue pronouncements – and this is actually an instance of this, for all the furore; this is that there is a constant, underlying interplay between our ever developing scientific understanding and our reason – and by reason we mean our access to faith. (For many people, it is common sense that one is not born gay; that gay men on average do not have larger penises or longer index fingers, or be more likely to be left-handed. An awful lot of these many people are gay men – because, perhaps, they (or we) are not comfortable with physiological explanations for what runs so deep, and correlations between, say for example, a longer finger and an emotional bias that shapes the course of one’s entire life are an offence – and that very sense of offence implies an idea of reason (fallacious) governing our physiology.) On the ground level, we are deeply understanding. But (or do I mean and?) there is also transcendence. And there is a dialectic between the two. Perhaps Catholic bishops – and C of E bishops – should not pronounce to people who are not in communion within their various churches, because it may be only within an experience of the conflicts within the faith (and the reality?) that their views make sense. But then again it may well be very stupid for the papers to seize upon – according to those papers’ news-selling agenda – a very few highly selective pronouncements and recontextualize these as representative of some non-existent aspect of an evangelizing mission. Look inside any family, from the outside, and you will see things you don’t like. I plead moderation and understanding. I also would say that there is a seizing upon de-contextualised details here, and not a little rant, and that almost all of the posts here reject, and mostly explicitly, a spiritual, or faith, perspective per se. My apologies if this has become incoherent. It’s a little tricky typing into this box! I do appreciate your thoughts, though, if you’ve read this far. Gay Christian writing here – with love and pride. xx
This would make more sense if you’d separated it into paragraphs and removed the parenthetical dialogue with yourself. The text boxes are too small — the thing to do is type into Word or similar and then copy and paste.
1. What is the relevance of concentration camps ?
2. Can you justify your claim that bishops are reluctant to issue pronouncements ?
3. When you say “common sense” do you mean what most people believe, regardless of actual fact ?
4. “An awful lot of these many people are gay men” — can you justify ?
5. “I plead moderation and understanding” — for whom ?
6. “I also would say that there is a seizing upon de-contextualised details here” — how would you describe what the bishop said ?
7. “… almost all of the posts here reject, and mostly explicitly, a spiritual, or faith, perspective per se …” — what do you mean by a spiritual perspective ?
Lord, I’m not presenting a paper here! The comments with self were intended partly to signify that these are merely my views, and from one possible perspective, and I would hope they be interpreted as such. (One could probably also say that it’s claiming a position of weakness to win one of strength, but that way madness lies…)
Ah, so we can do paragraphs!
1. A reflection on the perfectly true claim that religious organizations have been responsible for death and misery etc. Britain hasn’t really got a squeaky clean history either, and yet there is so much about Britain of which we can be proud.
2. That’s a bit like trying to prove a negative. Perhaps consider how few and how limited bishops’ pronouncements are, and how nuanced they have to be because of the attention they attract. c.f. the Pope on rent boys using condoms. (Dignified UK institutions such as the Queen might also be a pretty good parallel.)
4. I think it’s fair to say that many gay people have rejected the thought that there is a correlation between finger length ratios, say, and sexuality. Certainly many I’ve spoken to.
5. Just generally. There is a lot of dissing of faith going on here. I think gay people and Catholic bishops should have open minds about each other. It doesn’t help to brand a billion plus believers as a paedophile cult. it weakens the argument.
6. I would describe it as wrong and regrettable. It is reflective of a problem within Catholicism. My tar and my feathers remain on the road and on the chicken, though. There are problems – of course there are problems – but there is most that is good.
7. That’s a very big question!! It is too at the absolute heart of things. (It’s also a bit like a woman asking, ‘How do I know if I’ve had an orgasm?’) One the questions it breaks down into is: What is the spirit? Greater minds that mine can deal with that!
Thanks for your criticism. xOl
Christians bitching about marriage equality sound much like the KKK moaning about civil rights for African Americans.
For most of human history marriage was used as a way of subjugating women leaving them as little more than a husbands possession. Luckily our views on marriage have evolved to view them as a partnership of equals. Marriage must again evolve to encompass the full spectrum of human relationships.
Religionists should realise they are on the wrong side of history and human progression.
I guess we’re going to get a lot of this with the consulation getting started.
I just hope PinkNews balances these stories out with those who are completely supportive of Equal marriage.
Interesting article in the Telegraph in which the Archbishops wife (CofE) defends Christians.
“Jane Williams: Christians should stand up for their beliefs
British society regards Christians with scorn and is too ready to dismiss believers as bigots who do not have a brain, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s wife.”
Interesting. She makes no attempt to reason why British society has the attitudes it does to some Christians, instead labelling them “lazy” and “scornful”.
She makes the nonsense claim that “… human rights law discriminate against Christians”, and in doing so enforces the pathetic idea that human rights law is somehow bad.
How can any reasoning fair-minded person even entertain that idea, let alone broadcast it ?
And, of course, she perpetuates the idea that all Christians share the same beliefs and that it is those beliefs, rather than the actions of some Christians, that provoke the indignation of a lot of people.
Interesting! . . .
I also found this a little odd to say the least.
I guess, I assumed that some one as educated as the Archbishops wife, would have argued with more nunance and eloqence.
I was too rather disapointed to read the sort of rhetoric, that not a million miles away; drips from the collective nib of the Christian Institute.
Marriage In Maryland: Senators Resist Lobbying Campaign By Church Hierarchy