A Vatican representative has issued a call for the world’s foremost religions to unite to take a stand against gay marriage.
Archbishop Antonio Mennini, the “Apostolic Nuncio” (Vatican representative) to Great Britain has proposed enlisting the help of all Christian denominations, as well as Jews and Muslims, to oppose the proposition of legalizing gay marriage in England.
In an address to Catholic bishops from England and Wales, Mennini warned against political and cultural influences forcing reforms on religion, and suggested an alliance with Jews and Muslims in order to combat the immorality of homosexual marriage.
“It seems to me that, concerning the institution of marriage, and indeed the sanctity of human life, we have much in common with the position of the Jewish community, the Chief Rabbi and many of the more significant representatives of Islam,” the Archbishop said, according to a report in Britains’s Telegraph newspaper.
Local Quakers, Buddhists, and members of the Pagan Federation have already publicly supported the right of religious leaders to decline to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies, although their position supports basic freedom of clergy members to reject or support the marriages.
Mennini’s comments come after a series of high-level discussions between Muslim and Jewish leaders and Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone, who is investigating the possibility of legalizing gay marriage in the UK.
For now, English and Scottish Muslim groups, imams, and councils have opposed the plan to legalize gay marriage, as has the head of the Network of Sikh Organisations.
Liberal and Reform synagogues, on the other hand, have expressed support for same-sex marriages. Rabbis in the main United Synagogues have come out against the proposal. Soon-to-be-retired Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks has not come out publicly against the measure, but friend and advisor Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet of Mill Hill United Synagogue in north London called the potential legislation an “assault” on religious values.
Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark told the Telegraph that while no official contact has yet been made between the Catholic Church and Jewish groups, “We will work with anyone who agrees with us that to redefine marriage is not a good thing for society and will lead to more confusion.” He added that the Church of England is onboard with the Catholic Church’s position.Malkah Fleisher