Following the legalisation of same-sex marriage Catholics are in an alien land with unfamiliar language and customs, the Bishop of Portsmouth has said.
In a statement released by his diocese, Bishop Philip Egan said that with the greater use of contraception, the unitive and procreative aspects of sexual intercourse have become separated, leading to pleasure without responsibility and widespread sex outside marriage.
Bishop Egan said: “As Catholics, like Israel in Egypt, we now find ourselves in an alien land that speaks a foreign language with unfamiliar customs. For what we mean by matrimony, sexual intercourse and family life is no longer what today’s world, the Government, the NHS and policy-makers understand by marriage, sex and the family.
“Parliament’s Orwellian attempt to redefine marriage radically changes the social context and this presents a massive challenge to the Church in England and Wales: to those who wish to marry in our churches, to Catholic parents bringing up children, to teachers in our Catholic schools, and to the clergy engaged in pastoral ministry. It may also be a legal minefield, although we will have to wait before the full implications of the new legislation take effect.”
He continued: “We will certainly need to review our preaching, teaching and school curricula, which henceforth must recognise that our Catholic system of meanings and values is strikingly different from what secular culture now deems normal or acceptable.”
Bishop Egan reaffirmed that “the Church loves homosexual persons, even if we hold firm to our Christian conviction that sexual relations find their true place within marriage”.
He concluded with a call to the faithful: “As Catholics, let us be on our guard, and continue compassionately to warn our society of the wrong turns it is taking.”
Bishop Egan said that the passing of the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill was “the inevitable outcome of a process that has been gathering pace since the sexual revolutions of the 1960s.”