1,000 Priests Claim British Marriage Equality Will Punish Them

In one of the biggest joint letters ever written, over 1,000 Catholic priests and other senior Catholic officials laid claim that marriage equality will have “legal consequences” for Catholics and that these concerns should supersede the rights of same-sex couples:

After centuries of persecution, Catholics have, in recent times, been able to be members of the professions and participate fully in the life of this country.

Legislation for same-sex marriage, should it be enacted, will have many legal consequences, severely restricting the ability of Catholics to teach the truth about marriage in their schools, charitable institutions or places of worship.

It is meaningless to argue that Catholics and others may still teach their beliefs about marriage in schools and other arenas if they are also expected to uphold the opposite view at the same time.

Several of its signatories went further, such as Bishop of Portsmouth Rt. Rev. Philip Egan, who called same-sex marriage “Orwellian” and suggested that Catholic leaders “could be arrested for being bigots or homophobes.” Oxford theologian Rev. Dr. Andrew Pinsent compared marriage equality to Henry VIII’s decision to launch “three centuries of great upheaval in English society” by separating from the Catholic Church so he could marry Anne Boleyn.


It seems clear that the Catholic Church has made a war against same-sex marriage its chief priority. It’s unclear what the Church could accomplish in terms of fighting poverty or making the world a better place if 1,000 priests could sign onto an effort for one of those issues.