1,000 Priests: Gay Marriage Means Catholic 'Persecution'
British Catholics fear a return to days of Henry VIII
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2013 4:54 PM CST
Gay marriage: a threat to British Catholics?   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – More than 1,000 Catholic priests have written a frantic letter arguing that same-sex marriage laws in Britain would "severely" limit their freedom to promote and practice their faith, the Daily Telegraph reports. "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," they write. But if enacted, same-sex marriage will restrict "the ability of Catholics to teach the truth about marriage in their schools, charitable institutions or places of worship."

The letter was signed by 1,054 priests and 13 other senior Catholic figures—nearly a quarter of Catholic priests in England and Wales—as the debate over gay marriage heats up in Britain. The letter even compares Prime Minister David Cameron to Henry VIII, who broke with the Catholic Church in order to divorce Katherine of Aragon in the 1500s. Henry VIII wanted to "redefine what was marriage," they write, which launched an upheaval in England and made life "very difficult" for Catholics. But British officials maintain that freedom of speech will be respected in schools, and one blogger has already returned fire: "Gee, we thought that marriage was a millennia-old institution that gays are only now trying to change," writes Dan Avery at Queerty. "Thanks for debunking your own argument, fellas."

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Jan 14, 2013 12:17 AM CST
People who think this is ridiculous need to wake up. British law is strict. It will make it illegal to speak your mind on this matter. To Catholics and faithful Christians, this will be like living in a Communist hell. This is not ridiculous. This is pure persecution. And guess what? You are next. It starts like this, but if this works, big brother will be calling on you. You give government thought police power and we all are doomed. The only thing ridicuous here are the people who think this is ridiculous!
Jan 13, 2013 5:58 PM CST
Poor dears. My disdain for them knows no bounds. Are we wrong to suspect the long arm of the Vatican, and the forces of England's Catholic bishops, behind this mass expression of "free speech"? One must smile at the image of perhaps 10 to 20 per cent of those priests, who are almost certainly homosexual, railing against the rights of fellow homosexuals. Persecution, indeed. For how many centuries has the Catholic Church (and almost all other Christian institutions) persecuted homosexuals? Religious persecutors and would-be dictators: keep your religion to yourselves!
Jan 13, 2013 12:05 PM CST
The 'truth' about marriage? They couldn't even tell the truth about abusing children in their parishes.