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Catholics and the Free Church standing together

The Roman Catholic Church has stepped up its campaign against same-sex marriage while the Free Church of Scotland has now added its voice to the debate and consultation.
 

 
To coincide with a national campaign launched across Scotland's Catholic parishes, Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow has released a detailed statement on the Catholic Church's position on the definition of marriage and its response to attempts to dismantle the definition. In his document Archbishop Conti advises, "Those in Government need to be respectfully reminded that a mandate to govern does not include a mandate to reconstruct society on ideological grounds" Refering to proposals to redefine marriage, the Archbishop adds; "The Catholic Church, for one, will not accept it, and indeed will actively campaign against it."
Archbishop Conti's text will form the basis of a letter being sent to all of Scotland's 500 Catholic parishes urging Catholics to complete a declaration in defence of marriage it will be part of a mailing of 100,000 campaign postcards distributed by the Catholic Parliamentary Office encouraging responses to be submitted to the Scottish Government’s consultation
Meanwhile the Christian Institute reports that the Free Church of Scotland has added its voice to that of the Roman Catholic Church in speaking out against moves to rewrite the definition of marriage.
The Free Church Commission said that to change the meaning of marriage shows “an irrational determination to force a form of equality upon society which is not rooted in any recognised moral foundation”. It warned that “the timeless definition of marriage as the voluntary union of one man and one woman would be changed irreversibly”.
At the time of writing the national Church of Scotland has made no public statement.

The full texts of Archbishop Mario Conti's and the Free Church statements are shown below.
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Ed footnote: Whatever their views on same-sex marriage, reformed presbyterian churches have the difficulty of being seen to agree with the Roman Catholic Church given that the Westminster Confesssion of Faith – their 'subordinate standard' – deems the Pope to be the Antichrist.

Statement from Archbishop Mario Conti


Jesus responded to a question on marriage by going right back to the beginning: “Have you not read that the Creator, from the beginning, ‘made them male and female’, and that he said: ‘This is why a man must leave father and mother and cling to his wife and the two become one body.’” (Matthew, 19: 4-5)
The question was on divorce, not, as now raised by the Scottish Government, on whether a union of two persons of the same sex might be a “marriage”. Indeed that question was unthinkable, and has remained so throughout the Judaeo-Christian era until the present time, and not only within the moral and social order of our own western civilisation, but also in the other great world religions and traditional philosophical systems of thought.
Today’s question arises within a largely post-Christian society, which retains certain values which have characterised Christianity, most notably compassion for the disadvantaged and a desire to build inclusive social structures. It is a society, however, which increasingly tolerates sexual promiscuity, while reacting strongly, and rightly so, to all instances of sexual abuse.
However the question would not be asked were it not for the increasing acceptance, wittingly or unwittingly, of a particular ideology which considers all structures and ethical systems as inimical to human freedom. It places personal autonomy above even physical realities so that, for example, the very determination of one’s own sex and gender is regarded as an issue of choice – even a supposed human right.
Of course any system of human rights presupposes a legal framework and the ability of individuals to defend what is justly theirs, which is why such an ideology, which, of its nature would tend towards moral anarchy, seeks to have changes in the law to accommodate its demands.
In other words, those who hold to this ideology rely on the modern preoccupation with human rights to press for a change in the concept and definition of marriage to cover what any group in society might want it to be. It provides same sex advocates with a philosophical tool to seek a change in our law and our definition, to serve their own purposes.
While there may be some who, acting out of a religious instinct and desire, wish to receive the blessing of religion on a same sex union - and indeed there may be some ministers of religion desirous to give it - in truth this campaign has very little to do with religion and everything to do with a change in the concept of marriage, ostensibly to grant equality to same sex couples.
The first successful moves in this direction, led Government to introduce the legal instrument of civil partnership. Those of us who foresaw the way that it would likely develop were not in favour of this legal instrument but could be persuaded that it was done in the interests of fairness, ie according to justice, so that same sex couples might enjoy some of the mainly financial and fiscal benefits of married couples.
However it is worth reflecting that discrimination in their favour left other couples, equally engaged in supporting one another, without such legal and fiscal benefits. Indeed in the logic of discrimination as applied today, these latter may well consider themselves as discriminated against!
Those in Government need to be respectfully reminded that a mandate to govern does not include a mandate to reconstruct society on ideological grounds, nor to undermine the very institution which, from the beginning, has been universally acknowledged as of the natural order and the bedrock of society, namely marriage and the family. In terms of law, its support and defence have been on a par with the defence of life itself. We weaken it at our peril.
There are those who would argue that the contract of two persons in an exclusive sexual relationship is what constitutes marriage. From a Catholic and traditional perspective that is only part of the essence of marriage since it is the procreative aspect of marriage as well as its unity which is of its essence.
No one versed in Christian teaching can be ignorant of that truth which the Catholic and Orthodox Churches and those who follow their tradition regard as a sacrament, something created by God himself, blessed by Christ, for the spiritual as well as the social and material benefit of those who regard it as a“holy state”.
Marriage was not instituted by civil society, though civil society saw its importance and defended it through its laws. However many of the laws relating to marriage, certainly in the west, arose out of the Church’s own laws and there are countries which still recognise the Church’s competence in this field.
There is more to marriage therefore, than a service of blessing. However for a minister of a church to bless a marriage implies that the marriage is in conformity not simply with the laws of the Church, but with the institution itself, which ultimately, as part of the natural order, is instituted by God.
No Church on its own authority, wishing to remain faithful to its Christian heritage, can be justified in unilaterally altering what has been handed down to us from the beginning.
Nor is Christianity alone in holding marriage in such respect. There are many within our own society, members of the great world religions, whose support of the family matches that which we in the Catholic Church ourselves maintain.
While on the face of it, and to many, the redefining of civil partnerships as “marriage” may seem a small step and one that ought to be taken out of consideration for the feelings of those who are unable to form the relationship with a person of the opposite sex which has traditionally been described as marriage, such a determination by the Government is of serious import and will be rightly resisted by many.
The Catholic Church, for one, will not accept it, and indeed will actively campaign against it.
This cannot be seen to be in any way helpful in fulfilling the broader aim of social cohesion by which Government is clearly motivated. It will act to create larger divisions in society and could lead in the future, as we have seen in some of the legislation to date, to gross allegations of discrimination.
There will be other consequences in law, and social policies stemming from it which need to be taken into account, for example housing provision, social security entitlements and the legitimate expectations of families for support in having and bringing up children on whom the future of society depends, and for which society should make provision.
Members of the Scottish Parliament should recall what is written on the mace of that institution, words which reflect the traditional cardinal virtues – those by which everyone must act and most particularly, those who govern.
Justice is of course included among them, but the first named is prudence, or as expressed on the mace by the word “wisdom”. Prudence, or wisdom, means taking into account all aspects of one’s decisions and actions, seeing them in the broader picture – described by a sage from the past (Pope St Gregory the Great) as “seeing life whole”
More than any other, that is the task of Government and it has traditionally been the duty of the Church to offer insightful guidance on moral matters. The Catholic Church will not fail in attempting to do so, nor in guiding its own members and influencing public opinion towards moral truth.
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Statement Issued by the Free Church of Scotland Commission of Assembly

Wednesday 5th October 2011
At its meeting on 5th October 2011, the Commission of Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland agreed to issue the following statement on the proposal to introduce same sex marriages in Scotland.
The Commission of Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland, (5th October 2011), wishes to express its deep dismay over the Scottish Government’s current proposals to introduce same sex marriage in Scotland. Its opposition does not arise out of any kind of homophobia, but a concern that 1) the timeless definition of marriage as the voluntary union of one man and one woman would be changed irreversibly and 2) the timeless institution of marriage would be permanently undermined if the government effectively changes its meaning to include same sex couples.
For the government to take it upon itself to change the meaning of marriage shows 1) an irrational determination to force a form of equality upon society, which is not rooted in any recognised moral foundation and 2) a disregard for the unique place and stabilising influence which marriage has always had in our society.
The Commission recognises the complexity of the issue of human sexuality, and deplores all persecution of and violence against homosexuals.
However, the Free Church wishes to respectfully remind the Scottish government that to undermine Scotland’s moral roots may be to create a moral vacuum and chart a course of social instability. They implore the Scottish Government to reverse proposals to introduce same sex marriage and return to Scotland’s greatest, tried and tested historic qualities, which are rooted in the Bible.
In this respect, the Free Church Commission wishes also to applaud the courage of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Glasgow and support their clear statements in opposition to same sex marriage.
(Author: Christians Together)

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Where is our faith?
The current crisis in the financial world presents both a challenge and an opportunity. God has said: "I will shake all things." As Christians, how do we respond? (Author: The Editor)

Christians seen as 'tainted' says Archbishop
Christian groups are seen as "tainted" by Government and by other funding agencies warns Dr. John Sentamu, the second-highest figure in the Anglican Church. (Author: The Telegraph)

Who is Sarah Palin?
What do we know about the Governor of Alaska and the woman who has been appointed as running mate to Senator John McCain in the US presidential elections? (Author: Christians Together)

Big brother could be standing next to you
The extension of police powers to other agencies and the extent to which members of the public are being used and encouraged to report fellow citizens is an alarming trend. (Author: Christians Together)

Parliamentary Prayer Update 4 June 2008
An update from Anne McIntyre and her team from Parliamentary Prayer Scotland bringing the latest news from the political scene in our nation (Author: PPS Team)

Embryos Bill - a sad result
Colin Hart, the Director of the Christian Institute writes following the vote in the House of Commons on the Embryo Bill (Author: Christian Institute)

Parliamentary Prayer Update 21 May 2008
An update from the PPS Team concerning contemporary and relevant issues affecting the life of our nation. (Author: PPS Team)

Rob Parsons to speak at Time for Reflection
Rob Parsons of Care for the Family is due to address the Scottish Parliament at Time for Reflection. The invitation comes through Mrs. Karen Gillon MP (Author: CT)

Story of last night's free speech victory
Free speech law victory in the House of Lords safeguards the liberty to preach the Gospel and protects against charges when speaking about homosexuality (Author: Christian Institute)

BBC and ITV taken to court by Christian candidate
A LONDON mayoral candidate is taking the BBC and ITV to the High Court for ‘censoring’ his Party Election Broadcasts in the run up to the May 1 elections. (Author: Christian Legal Centre)

Prayer support and Bibles for Councillors
An offer of prayer support and a gift of Bibles to be presented to Highland Council members and chief officials by Lord Mackay has prompted a number of reactions. (Author: Christians Together)

Survey by 3rd-year HTC Student
This is a survey being done by a 3rd-year student at the Highland Theological College. Please give a couple of minutes to give your answers and encourage the student concerned. (Author: The Editor)

Loyalist march phone calls to councillors probe
Two city councillors who publicly opposed the Loyalist march through the streets of Inverness have received allegedly intimidating phone calls. (Author: Christians Together)

CARE under fire
The Christian organisation CARE has been attacked by a national newspaper with claims that the charity is illegally influencing MPs. (Author: CT)

Thumbing our noses at God
A scan of some of the latest news from the Christian Legal Centre will show us as a nation that is in open rebellion against the things of God. (Author: Andrea Minichiello Williams)

Sharia Law's need for supremacy
Sharia Law is underpinned by a theology which gives it supreme status. It is not intended as the partner to any other legal system, but its total replacement. (Author: David Andrew)

Statement on the Archbishop's 'Sharia' views
A Statement from Rev. Dr. Clifford Hill on the Archbishop of Canterbury's recently expressed views regarding the incorporation of Sharia Law into Britain (Author: The Editor)

A 2008 update from Parliamentary Prayer team
Anne McIntyre of Parliamentary Prayer Scotland speaks about the year past, how to engage with prayer for the nation, and gives insights into the political scene (Author: )

Tony Blair - a man to watch
The UK's former Prime Minister is in the process of building credentials in a wide variety of important political and religious spheres. (Author: Watchman)

He who pays the piper..
Many Christian organisations are turning to secular sources of money to finance their operations. This practice can compromise ethics and create huge problems. (Author: Watchman)

SCP Inverness monthly meetings
Monthly meetings of the Inverness Branch of the Scottish Christian Party - All interested parties most welcome (Author: Donald Boyd)

Wording of gay speech crime
The Christian Institute and the Lawyers Christian Fellowship (LCF) are concerned about inadequate protection for free speech (Author: )

Abortion, euthanasia and the SCP
On the 40th anniversary of the Abortion Act 1967 and since then, 6.7 million abortions have taken place; and the BMA are now giving no lead in the euthanasia debate (Author: )

Ex magistrate begins appeal
An ex-magistrate who failed to get an exemption from hearings in which he might have to place children with gay couples is beginning an appeal. (Author: )

A litany of offensive legislation
In 2006 the Western Isles Council in Scotland received hate mail and death threats because its registrars refused, on moral grounds, to conduct civil partnership ceremonies. (Author: Christian Concern for Our Nation)

In one hour....
The queues of anxious investors outside Northern Rock branches could be a prophetic picture of what lies ahead..... (Author: Sword magazine)

SOR Northern Ireland update
A High Court ruling in Northern Ireland has quashed legislation which could have aversely affected Christian witness. The case was brought by the Christian Institute and some NI churches (Author: Lawyers Christian Fellowship)

Building relationships with politicians
A "CARE" guide to "connecting" with those who are elected by the people for the people. (Author: )

SCP - Highland Annual Conference 2007
Post-election feedback, consultation, Q and A, preparation for AGM and next Election. Morning and afternoon sessions. All welcome! (Author: )

Kirking of the Council put on ice
Inverness Provost Bob Wynd has stated that the Kirking of the Council would in future go into abeyance until the start of the next council four-yearly cycle in 2011. (Author: )

Threats to freedom to witness
The Discrimination Law Revue could have a massive impact on the freedom for Christians and others to say what they believe without fear of prosecution. (Author: Lawyers Christian Fellowship)

Concern over 'Public Benefit' test
Churches and Christian organisations could be seriously and financially impacted by proposed legislation relating to the operation of charitable bodies. (Author: CCFON/LCF)

Post-election observations, thoughts and feelings
The election is over; the results are in. Where to now for Christians in Scotland who might feel called to the arena of political activism? (Author: )

Election results in the Highlands and Islands
A summary from the BBC's web site of the election results for the Highlands and Islands area. (Author: )

Christians and Politics
This is an area of the Christians Together web site for discussion on political issues. (Author: )

Scottish Christian Party
A new political party on the Scottish scene under the leadership of Rev. George Hargreaves is looking at fielding candidates for the May 2007 elections. (Author: Christians Together)


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