Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Same-Sex Unions in Britain and Catholic Response: Testimony of Terry Weldon and Michael Bayly

As this day goes on, it occurs to me it's very important to add an addendum to what I posted earlier today about William Oddie and the Catholic Herald.  And this is to say quite simply that Oddie's stance on marriage equality and the human rights of LGBT persons, or Austen Ivereigh's stance, does not, I suspect, represent where a majority of British Catholics come down on these issues.

And vis-a-vis where many British Catholics really stand on these significant questions of human rights, as opposed to where powerful media mavens who claim to speak on their behalf in the public square stand, I think it's very important to cite the testimony of Terry Weldon.  Who has blogged over and over about these issues for some time now.

As Terry noted back in November, when the Herald ran another "typically deranged rant" by Dr. Oddie about marriage equality and the human rights of LGBT persons, there was strong pushback by many Catholic readers of the article--despite the Herald's history of supporting anti-gay causes.  A week later, Terry also offered readers of his blog a valuable analysis of the statements about same-sex civil unions of Archbishop Nichols that Oddie is currently now attacking, and for which, in collusion with the right-wing Catholic journal Catholic News Agency, he's seeking to stir up Roman action against Archbishop Nichols.

And since I'm drawing readers' attention to valuable analysis of Archbishop Nichols' statements, I'd also like to mention two equally excellent postings Michael Bayly has made in recent weeks on the same topic at his Wild Reed blog.  The first engages Oddie's initial attack on Nichols's statements, and the second takes the principles Archbishop Nichols is defending as he reflects on the goods that marriage brings to society, and argues that these principles can be applied equally to both same-sex marriages and heterosexual ones--though Archbishop Nichols maintains otherwise.

It's worth noting that Michael's Australian by birth, and therefore grew up within the British Commonwealth.

Again: my point here is to note that what Oddie is seeking to do through his attacks on Archbishop Nichols, and above all, his attempt to shove gay and lesbian persons back into the closet and strip them of rights, does not resonate with many of his fellow Catholics in Britain who are (please see again the first link to Terry's postings about these issues) decidedly unhappy that their church and their faith are being used to attack the human rights of a vulnerable minority group.

And on this historic day in which the American Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has made a powerful address at the Palais des Nations in Geneva to mark Human Rights Day, in which she stated clearly and unambiguously that gay rights are human rights because gay persons are fully human persons, this is important to note.  It is shameful in the extreme that there are still highly placed Catholic spokespersons who miss this bottom-line point about human rights, and who are working hard to place the Catholic church on the wrong side of history in the historic battle for gay and lesbian rights.  And it's shameful that many Catholics, including highly placed ones in universities and the media, keep silent about the misuse of their religion to support insupportable hatred.

At the same time, it's refreshing to see many "ordinary" Catholics move against these shameful currents.  And indefatigable bloggers like Terry Weldon and Michael Bayly, who have written so much about these issues for some years now, deserve credit for helping us to hear the testimony of those far from ordinary Catholics!

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