Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the president of the bishops’ conference of England and Wales, has said the Church will continue to be “obstinate” about gay marriage and other questions of sexual morality.
Answering questions after a talk at St Ethelburga’s Centre in London, Cardinal Nichols was asked about the Church’s response to homophobia. The cardinal said that society had become more empathetic and compassionate towards gay people, and that he “rejoiced” in the change.
But he said that Catholics “still stand for” a definition of marriage as “between a man and a woman” which is open to new life.
Cardinal Nichols went on: “There has never been a time when Christian sexual morality has been totally accepted in any society.” But, he said, Christians would “persist” in being “awkward” on such matters.
The cardinal was also asked about the future of the Church.
He said: “To me, it’s important that the impetus and sense of direction of Pope Francis is continued.” In particular, the cardinal said, he welcomed the Pope’s emphasis on Catholics being “missionary disciples”.
In his talk, the cardinal said that religious communities had a role to play in building community. He said: “So often it is the churches that bring together Remain voters and Brexit voters, those at the top of the economic pyramid sitting next to those who struggle; those with learning disabilities and those who pioneer breakthroughs in knowledge; entrepreneurs and trade unionists; to say nothing of the huge diversity of students in our schools and colleges, hospital and university chaplaincies.”
Labour plans to legalise abortion in Northern Ireland
A Labour government would aim to legalise abortion in Northern Ireland, according to the party’s manifesto.
The document states Labour will continue to ensure a woman’s right to choose a safe, legal abortion – and we will work with the Assembly to extend that right to women in Northern Ireland.”
Northern Irish law permits the practice only when a woman’s life is at risk, or there is a permanent or serious risk to her mental or physical health.
Previous attempts by Westminster politicians to force abortion on Northern Ireland have ended in failure, with a 2008 proposal blocked by then Leader of the Commons Harriet Harman over fears it could lead to the House of Lords challenging the existing UK law.
The manifesto does not mention assisted suicide or faith schools, but says Labour would “ensure that the new guidance for relationships and sex education is LGBT inclusive”.
On immigration, it promises unspecified controls on numbers, saying the system “will change, but Labour will not scapegoat migrants nor blame them for economic failures”.
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