More Than 1,000 Catholic Priests In UK Sign Letter Claiming Same-Sex Marriage Could Mean “Centuries Of Persecution”

Screen Shot 2013-01-12 at 11.56.53 AMMore than 1,000 UK priests, bishops, abbots and other Catholic clergy signed a letter sent to the Daily Telegraph, warning that if Prime Minister David Cameron’s plan to introduce same-sex marriage is approved, faithful Catholics could find themselves subject to the kind of persecution they faced after the Protestant Reformation.

The letter—apparently a grassroots effort and not an edict from the Vatican—also calls assurances that religious freedoms will be protected as “meaningless.”

“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.”

Pre-marital sex is a sin in Catholicism—should it be outlawed in Britain, too? How about divorce, birth control or any number of things that are sinful but perfectly legal. Let’s revise the entire legal code to get it in line with religious teachings, shall we?

There is indeed a history of anti-Catholic discrimination in the British Isles: Until 1829, Catholics were banned from certain professions and in some cases even from congregating for worship. Ironically, the letter compares Cameron to Henry VIII, who broke from the Catholic Church in the 16th century in order to divorce Katherine of Aragon.
“That launched three centuries of great upheaval in English society, and from the Catholic point of view life was very difficult,” says Rev Dr Andrew Pinsent. “We fear that what is happening now is that a network of laws are being put in place which would violate our freedom of conscience.”

Gee, we though that marriage was a millennia-old institution that gays are only now trying to change. Thanks for debunking your own argument, fellas.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #catholicism #catholics #dailytelegraph stories and more


  • 2eo

    Maybe with their predisposition and encouragement in the systematic [email protected] of thousands of children they need a little persecution.

    These nutters wield little influence, they are the scum of the country and the vast majority hates the kid fuckers already.

  • alexoloughlin

    Only 25% of catholic priests signed it, so what does that say for the 75%? This asshats just don’t get it that this has nothing to do with religion. Equal marriage legislation in the UK is about a civil ceremony in a registrar’s office where most of the UK’s marriages are performed. Church weddings are on the decline in the Anglican cult apparently.

    It’s a red herring pandering to bigotry and fear mongering. No catholic school will be forced to teach about same-sex marriage and nobody will be prosecuted for not teaching it. They weren’t forced to teach about civil partnerships when they were legislated for either. These morons have been persecuting gay people for almost two millenia. Nobody is persecuting them in the UK but if anything, this might foment anti-catholic sentiment, the very thing they fear most and it will all be down to their own doing. I have NO sympathy for catholics. Those catholics in support of equal marriage should stand up to the bigots and pedophile protectors. Catholic clergy threatening the British government would have been considered a treasonous offense in another era punishable by death. What short memories they have and to even bring up the reformation and Henry VIII is laughable. I think they’re shooting themselves in the foot with this one.

  • Ellipse Kirk

    They lie about everything else, they can still lie about what they (untruthfully) call “natural law” after.

  • Wilberforce

    It may be getting to the point where this kind of stuff actually helps us. People may begin to see how unfairly we’re treated.

  • Donald Hull

    It’s unfortunate that most people don’t have the foggiest idea of the ‘history of marriage’ or the ‘history of women’ in society.
    Up until the 19th century (the 1800’s), women were considered “property”…just like a piece of land, a chair, a cow, etc. What Sacred Scripture describes is a MALE dominated society where a woman (or a harem) was considered “possessions”, NOT an equal partner. Marriage, per se, didn’t even come about until the time of Charlemagne (who had numerous women, partners, etc.) and the churchs desire to ‘legitimize’ an heir to the Holy Roman Empire, to keep it going so they could ‘stay in control’… The churchs delusional concept of marriage is nothing more than part of their attempt to continue their ‘rule’ over people…and, to date, they’ve done a HORRIBLE job, lest we forget the centuries of VIOLENCE under ‘church rule’. While we are unable to change history, the church might BEGIN by responding to the EVIL it has put upon its people… “Christlike”? I sincerely doubt it. Jesus, the Christ, said, “the TRUTH shall set you free”…(I often wonder if He didn’t mean “from the chuch”. The churchs EVIL behavior throughout the centuries makes one ask if Jesus, Himself, would be a ‘cristian’ today…sad.

  • Donald Hull

    Please don’t be so ‘inclusive’ about all Catholics. Just because the church behaves badly does NOT mean it’s condoned by the laity. The church will NOT change ‘from the outside’…which means that to bring about change in the church one must “stay ACTIVE and VOCAL”. The laity, since the time of the DARK AGES, has been under the (mis)guided opinion that ‘fathers always right’, (a concept developed during the Dark Ages when the clergy, generally, had at least some education and the laity, in general, had little to NONE…and parishoners thought it advisable to ‘ask father’). As people have become more educated, they realize that ‘father’ is just as mortal as they are and that ‘father’ can be WRONG! The message for everyone, especially Catholics, is to remember to STAY ACTIVE AND VOCAL…SPEAK UP when you do NOT agree with what is being said.

  • Pete

    The ‘Penal Laws’ against Roman Catholics have less to do with Henry VIII than with the claim the throne of the Catholic, Scottish Stuarts and their Jacobite supporters. After the Catholic James II was deposed in the bloodless “Glorious Revolution” of 1688 The Pope refused to recognize the the Williamite and subsequent Hanoverian successions. When the last Stuart with a more legitimate claim to the throne by bloodline died in 1829, the Pope finally recognized the legitimacy of the Hanoverian succession. Only then did Parliament extend the franchise to Roman Catholics.

  • alexoloughlin

    @Donald Hull: To me its quite apparent that not enough catholics in disagreement with their church are speaking up. These recent tirades from the church in France, Rhode Island, Illinois and now the UK haven’t been countered by anyone to have had any impact. In France, they can get 200,000 oppponents taking to the streets and none from the supporters. I’m appalled at the apathy of those on our side and the reticence by those in government to challenge them. They’re all afraid of being labelled anti-religion or supporting abuse of religious freedom.

  • Samuel

    I dont know of a single gay person, me included who wants to get married and live a straight lifestyle. Civil partnerhsip is what all gays aspire for and this so called marraige equality movement needs to be removed from the gay agenda in faviour of social equality for gays: the right to be able to walk down the street freely as a gay person without fearing assualt, the right to live the gay lifestyle, and the right to openly live as a gay person including having a civil partner if that is what one wants.

  • alexoloughlin

    @Pete: It’s a pity that the Catholic Emancipation Act were ever repealed. A foreign church whose British clergy owe allegiance to a foreign potentate in Rome, meddling in the internal affairs of the UK and threatening government. The people in the UK need to wake up.

  • tavdy79

    Catholics conveniently ignore the fact that those centuries of persecution took place after a century of repeated Catholic plots to overthrow English sovereignty, first by invasion (1588) and when that failed by mass-assassination of the government and monarch (1605) followed by civil war (1642-51). In each case it blew up in their faces, so you’d think they’d have learned their lesson, but no – in 1685 they managed to get a Catholic on the throne, but James VII/II’s belief in the Divine Right of Kings (which would have allowed him to overrule Parliament) meant that within a few years he’d not only been deposed, but Catholics were banned from the throne, parliament and military. And with history like that, is it any wonder?

  • kevininbuffalo

    @tavdy79: Yes Catholics always conveniantly forget the blood they spilled, Inquisition, the Jewish Ghettoes, the Auto de Fe. The “Holy See” is soaked in blood. Thanks for giving us a needed history lesson.

  • jwrappaport

    Jesus Christ – no pun intended. Play the world’s tiniest violin for these people. They cry foul over “freedom of conscience” (an essentially meaningless term whose limits are never discussed) when there is an entire class of people whose inequality is enshrined in the very law of the land.


    Q: Auto de Fe? What’s an Auto de Fe?
    A: It’s what you oughtn’t to do, but you do anyway!

  • 2eo

    @jwrappaport: It was the act of public humiliation and torture by the inquisition before they executed the “heretic”.

    Like the Nazi show trials, which were directly based on the idea and carried out by catholics in the Nazi party, of which most of the German upper echelon were, including Vatican priests who condoned and worked with Germany in Austria and Italy to hand over a million jews.

  • jwrappaport

    @2eo: I should have cited Mel Brooks’s History of the World, Part I =)

  • 2eo

    @jwrappaport: And I should have got the reference, I think it’s time for bed.

  • Ken

    Maybe the Catholic Church needs to be persecuted.

  • Ellipse Kirk

    Moreover, the number of priests signing something they were ordered to sign by their employer is pointless. One person has directed his workers to press this point, so it can be inferred that one non British man issued the order. The British politicians should ignore the edict of the nasty little German ex-pat now living in Italy.

  • gaym50ish

    @Samuel: Samuel, you are forgetting that there are about 1,100 rights and benefits of “marriage” in federal law alone — many of them financial benefits, which is the basis of the DOMA case before the Supreme Court. As long as DOMA exists, those federal rights are not granted even to married gays, let alone those in civil partnerships.

    It’s not about whether you call it a civil partnership, a civil union or a marriage — that’s just semantics. It’s about equality under the law

  • murphy0071

    What about the centuries of persecution that GLTBTA individuals and the centuries of persecution they have endured at the hands of the church. The Vatican, based on tales of common homosexuality among the Aztecs, ordered that alone was reason to slaughter them. Before, that news he had hesitated to murder an indigenous population. You Christians deserve whatever condemnation you have brought on others.

  • Provine

    @Donald Hull: Yeah. Change from within has really worked wonders. What drugs are you on?

  • Billysees

    @Donald Hull: 5 and 6

    Interesting commentary.

    A reminder of how easy it is for organized religious activity to profoundly mislead and become untrustworthy.

    Jesus said the holy spirit will guide us into the future.

    I’ll trust in that work any day.

  • alexoloughlin

    @Samuel: All gays aspire to civil partnerships? So present the facts please. If that were the case, why have eleven countries introduced equal marriage for gay couples and more to follow, France on January 27, 2013? Who are you to speak for all gays? Civil partnerships have and never will be the universal gold standard for gay couples. If they were, why aren’t more countries imitating them if they’re so equal? There are only two places in the world where they are legal, the UK and Eire, the latter not even having identical rights to the UK version as all non-marital unions for same-sex couples don’t. The French equivalent for example, otherwise known as a PAC confers far less rights than the British version. If you lived in France, roughly half of the rights you enjoyed in the UK wouldn’t be covered in France. Where’s the equality in that?

  • alexoloughlin

    Some of the priests who signed the petition are gay. Some were involved in pedophilia. One Fr. Tim Hopkins is under investigation for involvement with an 11 year old girl. The nerve of these men voting against equal marriage.

    One thousand priests amounts to a paltry 0.03% or 25% of the total catholic priesthood in the UK, laughable. What does that say about the 75% who didn’t sign? Nothing to take too seriously in my view and who really cares? They’re going nowhere with this one.

  • Charli Girl

    S N O R I N G…WHO SHIVS A GIT!…They are finally realizing their thoughts are irrelevant !


    I guess Henry VIII and Elizabeth I should have done more to just get rid of them back then. It would be a lot less trouble now.

  • FStratford

    This I say to my brethren in the UK: NEVER listen to Catholic priests. If they had their way, they will make not only abortion and divorce but also contraception – see what is happening in the Philippines where they are opposing the use of condoms. Condoms!

    You guys are lucky you have neutered the papacy. Some countries are still trying to get out of its clutches.

  • Billysees

    The Holy Spirit “stung” Catholicism big time with the reformation.

    It brought them down to size, to their chagrin even till this day.

    That church is a vast propaganda machine, having an appearance of godliness but limiting the real power of true godliness.

    Too much academia which spirituality is not.

    A pretty show of fancy dressed clergy and beautiful looking sanctuaries.

    But they also do great works for the poor and needy and other good things.

    And we can thank God for that.

    Conclusion — Catholicism is a power for righteousness and good.

  • Evji108

    Just like the religious nuts in the USA, these priests, instead of recognizing the humanity and rights of other people, they have to make it all about themselves and how persecuted and discriminated against they are because of gay marriage. This kind of paranoid illogical reverse thinking apparently seems to be universal. British Catholic priests are just as nutty as their American counterparts, who knew?. These people should just get on with their lives and let us live ours. If they were truly secure in their faith they would not feel threatened by something that has no effect on them at all.

  • Billysees

    @Evji108: 29

    You’ve said it well.

    Many churches and their adherents complain too much.

    They don’t want to recognize the “good things” that human diversity expresses and the “good quality” folks that are the essence of all in the gay community.

  • Jeffery

    Fitting, the comparison to Henry VIII. Had they been more involved in religion and less involved in power, the pope may have granted the divorce. But it backfired and their influence over the most powerful country at the time vanished. Many believe that is why England separated from Roman Catholic Church, but it’s not the sole reason.

    The extortion of their followers, failed plots and assassination attempts on the royal family during those times more than merited a couple hundred years ban on Catholicism.

    What these Catholic Clergy are saying now, is basically “We’re persecuting LGBT because of our belief system. If you pass this law, we won’t be able to persecute them and we’ll in turn feel persecuted because we can’t spew hate under the guise of religion.”

    No wonder, after 400-500 years, there is still a ban on Roman Catholic Monarchs in England.

  • Billysees

    @Jeffery: 31

    You’re 3rd paragraph is correct.

    That’s a shame too.

    And that church could be brought down a notch or two cause of their poor attitudes.

Comments are closed.