The Most Rev Peter Smith, the Archbishop of Southwark and one of the most senior Roman Catholics in the country, said the state must not attempt to redefine marriage.

"Whilst we welcome the Prime Minister's support of marriage, family life and especially the care of children, the proposed redefinition of marriage cannot be right," he said.

"Marriage by its very nature is between a man and a woman and it is the essential foundation of family life. The state should uphold this common understanding of marriage rather than attempting to change its meaning."

The Catholic Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, the Rt Rev Kieran Conry, warned that Mr Cameron would not be given "an easy ride on this”.

I think the Church will have to do something. We can’t just let this slide by and say we are not interested," he said.

COMMENT: I think that if the Vatican Nation has problems with the ethics of my country's decision to change the law in this respect they should pursue their complaint through the European Court for Human Rights.

Oh no, they can't do that, of course. Although the Vatican is stuck in the middle of a modern European city it is still a tin pot dictatorship and is not signed up to the democratic institutions of the European Union. They'll just have to resort to threatening British citizens with excommunication again, although that hasn't been a very successful ploy in Britain up to now. In fact, as a plan of action it is prone to backfiring. What can I say? Xenophobia is in our blood. That's not a nice thing but it does have its advantages especially when another European nation decides that they are going to invade us.



  1. It sounds to me a bit like moving the goal posts if I understand it right. I don’t feel there is anything wrong with marriage as it stands, the problem lies with society in general. Today family values are no longer about all the things you promised on your wedding day. Marriage is going much the same way as Christmas, it’s no longer about what it really means. Family values these days are more about the latest iPad or whether you can afford a BMW or have to make do with a Ford Mondeo, is it a caravan in Scotland or a four star hotel on a Greek island or maybe how does the wife measure up to the new secretary or visa versa. If we want something we take it. Just because we made a promise a while back isn’t going to keep us on the straight and narrow, it’s all about me and what I want, we don’t even need to be able to afford it anymore. We even denounce God because usually what he stands for gets in our way – that is until we are struck down with a touch of cancer and then it becomes a whole different ball game altogether, it suddenly dawns on us then that the BMW, or second home etc. is no flippin’ use what so ever, even the secretary will be off like a shot likely as not. It’s now that you realise the value of the promises you made on your wedding day and the words of wisdom from a wise old God.

  2. Family values – not so much.
    Rather, value families, in whatever configuration.

    wv=metiona. Highly prophetic under the circumstances, if one allows for a bit of dyslexia.

  3. Just because we made a promise a while back isn’t going to keep us on the straight and narrow

    Mrs MP and me stay together for the sake of the dogs. They wouldn’t cope if we separated. 🙂

  4. Rob, seriously, one of your better posts.

    In one sense, I think you have a solid point. Many people, you clearly among them, perceive a general breakdown of the society, everything from simple civility to vows made and broken.

    Let me suggest that the picture is not that grim. Consider the fascinating stats that show that most married people actually marry once, for life. Yes there are way to many divorces, but one impact of a society that does not care who is living with whom, is that those who make commitments do it voluntary and mean it. So, if a couple gets past the first few years, they tend to make it until death does them part.

    I think one negative impact of our electronic culture is we sometimes only see the spectacular. Consider that we all know who some starlet / pop star is sleeping with almost as soon as she does, but we miss the many entertainment couples that marry and do live out their vows.

    Those people who perceive a general breakdown often make, I think, three mistakes. First they apply what might be a valid specific criticism to a general population. Second they look back to some previous time with rose colored glasses, suggesting that then, whenever then was, things were wonderful. Third they adopt a legalistic solution as their plan.

    That last means that they seek more rules around marriage. Can’t let blacks (true once!) marry, clearly cannot let them marry whites, cannot let people marry without their parent’s permission, you name it, they are all rules of exclusion.

    Consider then, an alternate thought. What are lesbians and gays asking us to do? They are asking that they be allowed to make exactly the commitment you see sadly lacking in the society. Even though I think the picture less black than you paint it, consider that again. They are asking into the commitment you see weakened. What reasonable person would say not to support?

    I do not know what that may mean for a triad centered on one or more bisexual down the road. At this moment, I do not hear them asking for anything, and that may change. When, if, it does, we as a society need to ask ourselves some questions. If the answers mitigate towards change, than change we should. Organisms, religions, and societies that do not changes become exhibits in museums.