Archbishop supports homosexual civil unions

Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, has publicly expressed support for homosexual civil unions.

In a move that seemed to put him at odds with the Catholic Church, on November 26 Nichols said, “As a Church we are very committed to the notion of equality so that people are treated the same across all the activities of life.”

“The Church holds great store by the value of commitment in relationships and undertakings that people give. Stability in society depends upon the reliability of commitments that people give. That might be in offering to do a job but especially in their relationships with one another. Equality and commitment are both very important and we fully support them.”

While also saying he was “very disappointed” with the government’s plans to move in the direction of legalising homosexual “marriage,” it did not stop Catholics from criticising his initial statement.

Responding to the Catholic criticism, Nichols says he was simply trying to defend the “profound human good” of traditional marriage.

“We’ve got to find the ways of speaking to people about the positive values of marriage as it’s always been understood, while not getting boxed off by somehow being accused of being homophobic,” Nichols told CNA.

Nichols clarified that he was not saying marriage and civil relationships were equal.

“We would want to emphasise that civil partnerships actually provide a structure in which people of the same sex who want a lifelong relationship [and] a lifelong partnership can find their place and protection and legal provision.”

“The convictions about marriage mean that this is not something that the Church has invented nor the State has invented. And therefore it is not, as it were, at the disposal of the Church nor the State, if you like, to change,” he said.

The Church believes that marriage is “part of what is best in human nature,” he added.

“I respect the Prime Minister’s insistence and emphasis on the importance of equality in relationships and the vital importance of commitment. Those are things that we recognise as very important to the health of society.”

“But commitment plus equality does not equal marriage,” he said.

“The distinctive nature of marriage is something that is very important to the well-being of society because it is the foundation of family life as we know it and as it experienced by the vast majority of people.”


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