Leading Staffordshire Catholic criticises gay marriage plan as 'big social experiment'
LEADING Staffordshire Catholics have condemned Government moves to allow same-sex marriage.
Archbishop Reverend Bernard Longley – who leads the Archdiocese of Birmingham – declared his views on same-sex marriage in a letter read out to congregations on Sunday.
The Archbishop has now been supported by leading priests in the region.
In his letter, the Archbishop said: "The Government's proposals to legalise gay marriage would undermine the Christian view of the family.
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"The complementary love of father and mother is a precious gift that we should wish for every child."
Archbishop Longley warned that the Government could not predict the impact of its legislation on children.
He said: "Government policy cannot foresee the full consequences for the children involved or for wider society.
"Even so, the experience of growing up with our father and mother to teach and guide, to console and love us unconditionally, is an invaluable blessing in life."
The Dean of North Staffordshire, Father Peter Weatherby, today described the Government's proposal as a 'big social experiment'.
He said: "There are many issues to think about.
"That particular dimension of nurture is going to be lost with any children and that's obviously something to be concerned about. It's a big social experiment with a huge number of issues.
"I believe in the importance of children learning the different roles of men and women.
"The Government is changing the definition of the word, 'marriage'.
"The best way for a child to be brought up is in a loving relationship between a man and woman.
"We don't think the definition of marriage should change for what is a minority of people."
Father David Standen of St Patrick's Catholic Church, in Stafford, said: "The Archbishop is reiterating what the Church has and continues to believe.
"We are uncertain as to what might develop after the legislation is passed.
"The Archbishop reinstated Catholic teachings about family life.
"If you change the nature of marriage, it's a profound thing to do.
"The best way for children to be brought up is in a loving family with a father and a mother."
The coalition Government is committed to legislating on gay marriage by the 2015 general election, and a Bill is expected to be tabled in January.
Prime Minister David Cameron has promised his Conservative MPs a free vote on the issue.