Boy, do we have a Bishop!
Part of my initial response to the the news that our bishops were finally speaking out about the gay marriage consultation process was to wonder, somewhat uncharitably I'll admit, if the Archbishops of Westminster and Southwark were kind of forced into making their statement by Bishop Philip Egan's speedy response. Irrespective of why, I am glad they did respond, and I thought Archbishop Peter Smith, who I personally had the pleasure of hearing speak very eloquently on this matter last year at Southwark's Familiaris Consortio conference, gave a strong argument on the BBC website.
Whatever the motivation, I am just so glad Bishops of the U.K. are speaking out on this matter. It's probably not political expedient to say that it may in future be the fruits of Bishop Egan's Episcopacy that embarrasses others to speak out on important issues. It seems to me he is fulfilling his duty as it should be, leading Christ's people with firm information about public issues, in order that we are informed about the debate, and understand the Church's position on these matters. This has been sadly absent from the Catholic leadership in this country for far too long.
To this end, CCFather brought my attention yesterday to this. A further letter to David Cameron from Bishop Egan which clearly points out the fallacious nature of David Cameron's argument as well as the inevitable consequences for society with regard to the further dilution of society's understanding of marriage. This is clearly the case, as even the discussion I have entered into consider this move to be one of 'evolution' and 'progress', and further development of the institution of marriage away from the nuclear family and an understanding of relationship, commitment and our sexuality in that context. This consistently appears to me to be about what we want rather than what is actually best for us and society (which is what God wants). We don't want to have to curb our appetites or desires and so find the means to justify and rationalise our actions. We make excuses and do not like to be told we are wrong.
But we cannot argue that there is not an objective nature to our existence and what is right and what is wrong. It takes courage and humility to do what is right when it is not what we want and perhaps today, Gaudete Sunday, it would be appropriate to consider our mother Mary in this context. She gave her consent to God's will despite the terrible pain it must have caused her. The accusations, vitriol and abuse she suffered as a result of her fiat to God's will can serve as an inspiration for us to stop, think about what we are doing and let go of our own will, instead surrendering to God's will: to what's best for us.
I urge you to read the full text of the letter and, as CCFather suggests, follow Bishop Egan's lead and write to your own MP to re-inforce the excellent points he makes therein. Thank you Bishop Egan, and thank you God for sending us such a Bishop.