British Catholic newspaper The Tablet has issued an editorial calling on the Catholic Church to make peace with the gay world and to move on from the issue of marriage equality.

The newspaper, which was founded in 1840 by Frederick Lucas, a Quaker who converted to Catholicism, cited how more than half of the Catholic MPs in the UK House of Commons voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill last month.

The Tablet also mentioned a US poll showing Catholics were more in favour of equal marriage than non-Catholics.

In an article published after Pope Benedict XVI’s Thursday night resignation, the paper said: “These results rather scotch the idea that Catholics are mindless zombies who do whatever the bishops tell them to.”

In light of the allegations made against Cardinal Keith O’Brien, a staunch equal marriage critic who has been accused of inappropriate behaviour with male priests and resigned as leader of the Scottish Catholic Church on Monday, The Tablet said: “When Cardinal Keith O’Brien called gay marriage a ‘grotesque subversion’ and ‘madness’ it attracted widespread censure. No wonder the accusations of inappropriate behaviour as a younger man – strenuously denied – were so damning. If true, it made him look a hypocrite. For the church this was a public relations disaster.”

It added: “There is no more mileage in this issue for the Catholic Church, and the sensible course would be to put it on the back burner with the heat turned low – to make peace with the gay world and move on. Technically yes, homosexuality is against the rules – but so is contraception; so is living together before marriage; so are lots of things people do together in private. As the late Archbishop Derek Worlock once said of contraception, these issues are ‘not the acid test of Christianity’”.