Cardinal Keith Michael Patrick O’Brien is to make a sermon today where he is expected to announce a partial reversal in the Catholic Church’s opposition of civil marriage equality for gay couples. Although the Church will continue to oppose same sex marriages happening within religious institutions, it appears to concede that same sex civil marriages will be a reality regardless of its opposition.

The Cardinal, the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland and the most senior Catholic in the UK, previously accused both the Scottish and British Governments’ proposals of representing a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right.”

In a sermon later this Sunday, leaked to PinkNews.co.uk, he is expected to say: “Over recent weeks there has been much discussion of so-called ‘gay marriage,’ proposed by the both Scottish and British Governments under the guise of civil marriage equality. My attitude towards homosexuals and homosexuality remains firmly entrenched in the Catholic teaching, with which you are all familiar. We in the Church opposed the introduction of civil partnerships for gay couples even as some amongst us now say that we have supported them for many years.”

The Cardinal is expected to add that he has listened to the ongoing debate “with interest and concern” and that he has read Home Secretary, Theresa May’s article in The Times where she makes it clear that the Government will proceed with equal civil marriage despite Church opposition. He also expresses his lack of understanding, having never had what “people would call an adult relationship.”

He will also say: “Having thought long and hard and having read the British Government’s consultation document I understand that all the Government is really proposing to do is to change the word partnership to marriage and not much else. And the document is clear that these civil marriages will not be conducted in religious institutions. Given the difference between civil marriages and religious marriages, and the government’s proposals clearly favouring the first, I have to admit that what we say will not ultimately matter. What right do we have to intervene in a civil law especially as Britain isn’t even a Catholic country?

He adds: “I have also been talking to my colleagues in Catholic Spain and Portugal that have gay marriage and they have told me that given the economic mess they’re in, the extra boost to the economy from gay couples getting married is actually seen as manna from heaven to many a wedding planner, caterer and department store.”

A Downing Street source told PinkNews.co.uk: “We are glad that the message is finally getting through to people that civil marriage equality does not encroach upon the Church. This sermon shows that miracles can happen, especially on a Sunday.”

The cardinal’s sermon is expected to finish just before midday and PinkNews.co.uk understands it will be mirrored in sermons by other Catholic leaders across England and Wales including by Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster.

*As it’s now no longer the 1st of April, we should confirm, this is an April Fools!