The Full Text of the Letter of the Bishop of Portsmouth’s to PM David Cameron
You have said you are an enthusiastic supporter of marriage and that you do not want "gay people to be excluded from a great institution." Yet I wish respectfully to point out that behind what you say lurks a basic philosophical misconception about the nature of 'equality.' Equality can never be an absolute value, only a derivative and relative value. After all, a man cannot be a mother nor a woman a father, and so men and women can never be absolutely equal, only relatively equal, since they are biologically different. So too with marriage. Marriage, ever since the dawn of human history, is a union for life and love between a man and a woman. It is a complementary relationship between two people of the opposite sex, the man and the woman not being the same, but different. They are not, in other words, absolutely equal but relatively equal. This is why gay couples, two men or two women, are not being ‘excluded’ from marriage; they simply cannot enter marriage.
By enabling gays to 'marry' and by equating the union of gay people with marriage, however well-intentioned, you are not only redefining what we mean by marriage but actually undermining the very nature, meaning and purpose of marriage. Marriage, and the home, children and family life it generates, is the foundation and basic building block of our society. If you proceed with your plans, you will gravely damage the value of the family, with catastrophic consequences for the well-being and behaviour of future generations. The 2011 Census shows the parlous state of the institution of marriage which you claim to believe in so strongly, and of family life in general, with one in two teenagers no longer living with their birth parents and over 50% of adults living outside of marriage.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch
Law & Legal Issues
Marriage & Family
Religion & Culture
--Civil Unions & Partnerships
Ethics / Moral Theology
Posted December 15, 2012 at 2:29 pm
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The URL for this article is http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/46627/
1. Simon Sarmiento wrote:
That is a letter from the *Roman Catholic* bishop of Portsmouth. It is unfortunate that the former rule of Roman Catholics avoiding see names that are already in use in the Church of England has not been maintained.
December 15, 7:48 pm | [comment link]
2. Terry Tee wrote:
A strange comment from Simon Sarmiento, apparently unaware that the RC diocese of Portsmouth was established in 1882, the Church of England one in 1927. Can someone regarded as a commentator really be so ill-informed?
December 15, 8:20 pm | [comment link]
With regard to the letter, it is typically outspoken. There is no doubt that the new Catholic bishop of Portsmouth is in the Timothy Dolan mode and not afraid to make waves. Even so, I have no idea what he is on about with his reference to equality in marriage eg the spouses are relatively equal not absolutely equal. A pity he goes down this road because it detracts from the central argument.
3. CSeitz-ACI wrote:
“Can someone regarded as a commentator really be so ill-informed?”
You have your answer.
December 15, 8:40 pm | [comment link]
4. MichaelA wrote:
Simon Sarmiento has a bigger problem: The RC Bishop of Portsmouth is acting like a bishop: He is speaking God’s truth publicly and fearlessly, even to the point of rebuking the leader of the nation. That contrasts strongly with most mealy-mouthed English Anglican bishops.
Who would know who most CofE bishops are? In what way do they fearlessly and publicly proclaim God’s word (I concede that a small number do). It has been noted that the Queen’s Christmas Speech last year contained more practical theology than all of ++Rowan Williams’ public pronouncements in the last 10 years - and similar comments could be made about most CofE bishops.
If the Roman Catholic Church is blessed with bishops of the fearless and godly character of Philip Egan, then it will be greatly blessed.
December 15, 10:56 pm | [comment link]
5. Simon Sarmiento wrote:
Terry’s point on the chronology is well taken, and I apologise for disappointing Dr Seitz. Nevertheless it is a pity that duplication of see titles has been allowed at all.
December 16, 4:44 am | [comment link]
6. CSeitz-ACI wrote:
Mr Sarmiento. Allow me to clarify. You run a blog that purports to be “Thinking Anglicans” but it is better titled “Thinking about matters same-sex.” If this particular Bishop was not “thinking” traditionally Christianly about marriage, you would not bother to comment at all—in this case, confusing the chronological reality. That was my point.
December 16, 9:38 am | [comment link]
8. Sarah wrote:
RE: “disappointing Dr Seitz . . . “
Oh, I doubt very much that Dr. Seitz was disappointed, as that would imply certain expectations about an informed revisionist activist commentator.
December 16, 12:03 pm | [comment link]
9. Pageantmaster [KJS to Coventry] wrote:
#5 I am inclined to agree with you, perhaps one could take the title Portsmouth and Southsea and the other Portsmouth Harbour?
Some days I sit and think. Other days I just sit!!
December 16, 7:42 pm | [comment link]
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