Question Time & conscience

Tonight I appeared in the audience as part of BBC’s Question Time.

I hadn’t been planning to, I was asked by a friend on Tuesday who had a ticket and couldn’t go. The questions I had planned were about the fetal remains scandal and teachers.

I hadn’t expected gay marriage to come up, it’s done and dusted now in the UK and I don’t expect to see a reversal in my lifetime. That’s not to say that I am not sad about matters, in my view this contributes to a weakening of marriage and a denial that as study after study demonstrates, unless there are overwhelming circumstances such as violence or substance abuse, children fare better with and have the right to be brought up by both biological parents.

I am not going to regurgitate once more my views on the issue – if anyone is genuinely interested they can look at the category tag on this blog.

I didn’t recognise Marilyn who asked the question about gay marriage as being from my parish until after the show. She didn’t recognise me either. Probably because I had brushed my hair and didn’t have at least 2 young children hanging off each hip. Catholic parishes are large. Mine offers two Sunday Masses which are packed out. I am usually too preoccupied with stopping the kids from immolating themselves on the candle stands and making mischief therefore many people I only know by sight and the questioner is one.

So I hadn’t planned what I was going to say on the topic, otherwise I would have made a few other more salient points, elaborating more precisely on Roger Helmer’s theme about how freedom of religion and conscience will be affected.

Dr Evan Harris and others have picked up on my appearance and membership of Catholic Voices. Firstly, I disclosed my identity to the producer when my friend nominated me for the ticket. Far more salient and relevant than Catholic Voices (which is unpaid voluntary work and therefore doesn’t count as an occupation), I did disclose that I write a paid weekly column for the Catholic Universe paper, present a weekly radio show on UCR Catholic Radio and write professionally for a number of socially conservative publications. Google is a tool available to anyone and they were at liberty to use it and decline me a ticket. I wasn’t asked to do the BBC’s 100 women with my CV hat on and neither was it in the blurb. So you can complain to them all you like, but actually this is precisely what Catholic Voices is about. Enabling people to take the initiative in getting their voice heard in the public square whether that be around the water cooler or on TV.

It does show that the BBC are willing to air diverse voices and as my view offered a counter-balance to the panel, that’s why it was given time. A secret stitch up it was not. It was a toss up whether or not to go earlier, I actually needed a night to catch up on work. You are not told to disclose your political or faith views prior to speaking. Several members of the audience were political activists and party members, with all sorts of specialised views. I am not sure why my faith needs to be disclosed before I am allowed to speak. I knew that if I did speak, there would be the inevitable outrage from the usual quarters.

When the question on gay marriage came up, I hadn’t planned on saying much, because the questioner did so well, but when David Dimbleby asked who in the audience didn’t agree with the new law it was stand up and be counted time. Proposing a radical alternative point of view in that environment which was extremely hostile and pressurized, was I think, the hardest TV gig I have ever done. It was very much on the hoof and I was on the defensive rather than being able to reframe. Especially when David then interrogated me about my views regarding gay adoption and children which are far more nuanced.

I stand by my comment that children shouldn’t be made to order. Using a surrogate or sperm donor is exploitative, it treats another person along with a child, as a commodity. The practice of surrogacy, in particular, is beset with ethical difficulties.

Here is a more nuanced appearance.

Afterwards Lord Wolfson and Roger Helmer MEP both made a beeline for me to thank me for my ‘bravery’. I didn’t feel brave, I felt frightened and sick. I didn’t know whether or not I would be able to add much to what Marilyn had said. It was only when Dimbleby specifically asked who didn’t agree that I realised that not to put my hand up would be cowardly. I did it so as not to let down James, who had dropped out and who wanted to ensure a Catholic voice (with a small v) was heard. We both thought that fetal remains would be the topic but I also knew that had I sat on my hands, I would be letting him and every single Catholic who has ever supported me, down.

Getting up from my seat, the girl who had asked a question about help for those who rent, sought me out to tell me I was disgusting. I asked her if she knew me or my friends and how she could make that judgement. Other people came and stuck up for me, reminding her that one of the warm up questions was about good manners. The lady I was sat next to was very warm and good-natured and apologised (I told her none was necessary) if she had been aggressive. She respected my beliefs.

Other people said that they wished they had also spoken up in support of traditional marriage but were too scared.

On the way back to the car, a group of young people spat at me. Marilyn then caught up with me, calling out “were you the lady at the front”, neither of us recognizing each other before the penny dropped. She is not an extrovert, doesn’t enjoy the spotlight and was shaking like a leaf. We saw each other to our respective cars safely.

I was expecting a Twitter hate-fest but have still been shocked by some of the vehemence and spite. I am not advocating penalising or punishing people on account of their sexuality and neither did I say that marriage was solely about children. The Twitterati were hearing what they wanted. What intrigues me as ever, is why no-one can see that not once have I judged individuals but instead made judgement calls on situations, which is what we are called to do as Christians. As ever ironically enough, it’s those who are accusing me of judgmentalism, who are in fact being the judgmental ones and claim to be able to gaze into my soul and confidently state that the position is based on hate.

But this is the kind of thing that faces those of us who will continue to stick to our guns and propound a traditional view of marriage. As the night has gone on, I am beginning to worry about my safety. Back in 2011 when David Cameron suddenly announced his intention to introduce gay marriage, I didn’t envisage things would get so nasty. Given my time again, I would still do the work I have done but definitely used the net under a pseudonym.

Anyway, have a look when it’s up on iplayer.

74 thoughts on “Question Time & conscience

  1. Well done. Sadly, we have lost this particular battle, and the new law is being rushed into effect without proper respect for the democratic process. Even so, we must continue to stand up for the Christian viewpoint that this legislation is nonsense. When you see the sometimes-Satanic behaviour of our enemies, you realise how right we are!

    Keep up the good work. You’re achieving far more to spread the Gospel than many of our clergy.

    1. It’s not just a Christian truth but a truth of the nature of mankind. It is not necessary to have heard of Christ to know that sexual relations between persons of the same sex is unnatural and immoral and harmful. Even our bodies make that obvious. As for marriage, that is the natural institution necessary for family and society generally. Marriage and sexual relations which properly belong to marriage can only be between a man and woman. Marriage is ordered to the union of a man and woman for the procreation and rearing of children.

  2. “I didn’t feel brave, I felt frightened and sick.”

    Going ahead despite the fear is precisely why you are brave, Caroline. It is knowing that, being aware of it and going ahead anyway that is bravery; not feeling nothing.

    You are a remarkable person. Looking forward to seeing the whole show on iPlayer.

  3. Caroline – from a ‘lurker’ who hardly ever posts – Congratulations I thought you were extremely brave to take on the baying mob – and also to the lady who asked the original question. Will offer up a prayer for your protection

  4. Well Done Caroline
    You spoke up and you spoke well.
    The way the legal framework is going, if is only a matter of a few years until there will only be state marriage in this country, as like the Catholic adoption agencies closing, the church will be unable to offer the sacrament of marriage to a man and a woman unless they also agree to marry same sex couples, which will lead to the sacrament being withdrawn country by country, to prevent the clergy being sent to the ‘chokie’ as Dimbleby calls it. This is part of the real agenda although if homosexuality had been instead considered a belief system things would be so different. Next agenda legalising paedophilia. As I teach my family, ‘just because it’s legal, doesn’t make it’s moral’

  5. Well done Caroline, you spoke well and you spoke up.
    Soon there will be no sacramental marriages as the clergy will be sent to the ‘chokie’ for refusing same-sex ceremonies. Like the adoption agencies they will be forced to comply or close shop. Next agenda legalising paedophilia. Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it moral.

  6. “I didn’t feel brave, I felt frightened and sick.” Yes, that’s a very familiar feeling to thousands of us who are, by virtue of our Queerness, othered and denied our rights. Once again ( looking at the comment above mine) I see being queer brought up alongside paedophlia. Now that does make me sick.

    1. Elsa, it is not a “right” to “marry” anyone you choose. Try marrying your brother, someone who is already married, or a child, and the law will stop you. Except that in 10 years time, it may not…

    2. The law does not belong to any one religious group. It belongs to everyone. If people of the same sex can marry in a civil ceremony what on earth harm does that do to, for example, the Catholic Church. Gay people pay taxes – I don’t recall ever reading that religious institutions refuse tax payers money when it is available or religious individuals refusing medical treatment, education, or welfare payments or civil protection where gay peoples tax contributions will be included. As a young person I was influenced by Martin Luther King’s entreaty to judge a person by the content of their character and not by ones perceptions of who or what they are. I think society would be much better if we followed King’s precept.

  7. Straight off to the i-player after this! All the discussions I have seen ‘celebrating’ same sex ‘marriage’ yesterday talked quite openly about it being an historic change in the nature of the institution, which at least is a lot more honest than the ‘minor tweak’ rhetoric we were getting before. Interesting to see how the French campaign has now changed into a wider defence of sexual complementarity and opposition to gender theory. I think we also need to think very carefully about how Catholics can pass on a proper understanding of marriage to the next generation now that it has little in common with the common-or-garden understanding.

    Well done on standing up for this in public. The reaction sounds horrible (but only too predictable).

  8. I am speaking about government agendas Elsa. If and when the second agenda is legalised you will be expected to embrace it also.

    1. The people who were against interracial marriage made the same (stupid) claim and though interracial marriage has been legal for decades we still don’t have legal paedophilia or incest. Paedophilia however, already exists in the church… the Catholic Church has no moral authority regarding what’s right and wrong concerning sex. All same sex marriage does is allow CONSENTING single ADULTS to make vows to each other. This surely can only be a good thing? And a great example to their children too 🙂

      1. Man and woman were made to marry and form families, the basis of society. Sexual relations between two persons of the same sex is against nature. It always has been and always will be. Sexual intercourse is not possible between two persons of the same sex. As for different races, this is a complete irrelevance and shows that you do not understand the issue or are being mischievous.

      2. In the Catholic faith to my understanding part of the vow is to willingly accept children and if no intention to create children naturally together then the marriage can be declared null and void

      3. @Lynda Men and Women weren’t ‘made to marry’, you don’t have to be married to form families, marriage is a choice between two consenting adults regardless of whether they are gay or not, also you say ‘sexual relations between two persons of the same sex is against nature’, I think Bison, Brown Bear, Brown Rat, Caribou, Cats, Cattle, Chimpanzees, Dolphins, Dogs, Elephants, Foxes, Giraffes, Goats, Horses, Lions, Barn Owls, Chickens, Gulls and many more animals too numerous to list would disagree with your statement given that each one has displayed homosexual tendencies, how would you go about explaining that or are each of these animals unnatural. Are you sure that you people against gay marriage are not just bigots?

      4. NobleOx. When I addressed this very point in a blog comment a few years ago, explaining the differences between mankind and animals and precisely why we couldn’t be compared with primates where as you say, homosexual behaviour has been observed, one gay man incited a Twitter hate storm my way by saying “look see she has compared us with monkeys”.

        Sometimes it seems you cannot win!

        To answer your pertinent question, when we talk about natural, we don’t simply observing and replicating phenomenon that occurs in nature. Rather it’s a concept of natural law, which is a more complex philosophical principle. Briefly put it’s to do with what our bodies are ordered towards, and applying reason. What is the point of our sexual organs, what is our telos, what do they exist for.

        The answer is procreation. It’s not simply copying what other species do and pair bonding between same sex animals is rare, from what I understand.

  9. Well done Caroline. For what it’s worth, I thought you were utterly convincing and it was also clear that you were speaking from a conviction rooted in charity and nothing else. Accusations of judgmentalism and hatred and all the rest are sheer projection.

    Stand-up-and-be-counted time is hard especially when it is sprung on you. Thank God for the grace you were given when you needed it.

  10. Thank you for speaking up for the unchanging and unchangeable truth regarding man and woman, marriage and family. The truth remains the truth though no one may acknowledge it for fear of the tyrant. Twitter is not a good medium for communication.

  11. Lynda, with all due respect I understand the issue very well. I am a Queer person, I am a parent, I am a lifelong partner, I am a Christian. (I certainly manage to have a healthy sex life too – which you say is impossible) I merely consider my right as an adult consenting human to marry my partner just that, a right. I do not understand why my marriage affects yours? or devalues it? Marriage is a positive step!

    1. Elsa, you use the word “queer” deliberately – as a politically loaded term – and I can understand you have reasons for doing this. However, your word draws attention to your own desire to be “abnormal”, “weird”, “strange” etc. because that is what the word “queer” means. It is curious therefore that you want to convince us that “strange marriage” is something we should see as ordinary and normal. There’s a whole display of linguistic and philosophical contradiction in this whole debate, and you exemplify it beautifully. I wish you well as a human being, but I am not convinced by your clamour to a “right” that does not exist. Like the “right” of that queer Judean Liberation Front chap in The Life of Brian to have babies…

      1. Frere, respectfully, I use the term to denote that I am on the other side of this discussion 🙂 not for any desire to be ridiculed by you. If you prefer then I am a woman who is also a parent, a life partner, a Christian etc.

    2. Elsa, if you’re a biological parent then a man was involved in the creation of your child. If you’re an adoptive parent, ditto. This demonstrates the fundamental difference between marriage and same-sex relationships. Marriage can produce children. Same-sex relationships can’t, without help from the opposite sex.

  12. Well done Caroline – I thought you gave an excellent account of yourself.

    The abuse you have received is clearly an example of the levels of tolerance to which we must all aspire to achieve.

    Rest assured of my prayers.

  13. Very well spoken indeed.The age of casual Catholicism is indeed over and we need to be Catholic by conviction. Thanks be to God for your courage.

  14. Well done, Caroline – it is important not to be frightened off by the haters – why, I wonder, are they so filled with hate for those who fail to agree with them? They talk of persecution, and yet they now seem to want to persecute? If they believed their own rhetoric they would respect you for holding to your – entirely orthodox Catholic – view. xx Jess

    1. Quite – where there is love and truth there can be patient explanation. Where there is only ignorance there can be either patient enquiry (seeking understanding) or quick dismissal. Unfortunately when the truth is dismissed out of fear, so too is the love…

      It is a sad and dangerous day when the truth is spoken only from voices trembling with fear. And yet we must continue to speak, because we must continue to love.

      God bless you, Caroline.

  15. I watched you defend marriage and was shocked by the braying of the audience at your point. Be assured of my prayers for you.
    Now you have witnessed at first hand the real bigots of this country. It will get worse.
    Keep the faith, there are a lot of poor souls heading to hell. Pray for them.

  16. Sorry I missed the programme, Caroline, I will try to view it today. But, I did see you on last night’s news and very well done. I keep quoting Fulton Sheen and this quote rings so very true today: “These are wonderful times in which to be a Catholic” meaning, it is easy to be Catholic when unchallenged but it is only when we are faced with a baying mob that the calibre of our Faith shows. Richard (LOTH)

  17. If you’re only interested in having comments that agree with you on your blog and you’re going to withhold or discard my comments as a result, please have the courtesy to let me know so that I don’t waste my time. You’re welcome any time to give opinions on my blog.

  18. Civil marriage has been a mockery since no fault divorce was introduced: the wide – spread use of contraception means that most marriages are defiled and corrupted.
    On another point: I know someone who went to her mother after being teased as school, and announced ( aged 11 or so) that she thought she was a lesbian. Her mother was silent for a moment, and then said: ‘There is nothing wrong with loving another person; there is nothing wrong with being deeply, even passionately committed to that person. However, sexual expression of that love is out.’ These words should be shouted from the house tops: why o why does this age suppose that the only ( or best, or truest or something)way to express love is through genital sexual activity? Why is eros promoted above philia, so that the latter is hardly possible in our age? You might argue that philia and eros can co-exist, and it is quite true that marital friendship is both beautiful in itself, and used as the image of the relationship between Christ and his Bride, the Church: however, eros untamed by marriage is in fact and experience destructive of friendship.
    Christians have always condemned sexual sin: so in the decrees of the council of Jerusalem, fornication was one of the things forbidden to the Gentile converts. For many of them, this will have meant a radical change in life style: but they, and Christians now are called out of subservience to eros, into the freedom of life in God.

  19. Caroline, I was watching the programme and, although
    one who takes an opposite view to the one you expressed, I have no hesitation in complimenting you on the way you put your views and were unfazed by the disgraceful behaviour of some in the audience. I am sorry you had such a bad time afterwards.

  20. Well done for saying your piece Caroline. Far too many people stay quiet rather than risk any sort of confrontation, hence “the silent majority”.

    Sadly it is on topics such as this that the supposedly tolerant show just how intolerant they actually are.

  21. Im an atheist but respect anyone who has the courage of their convictions and says what they think regardless of it being unpopular with left wing question time audience

  22. Dear Caroline,

    I just watched your performance on QT on YouTube (I’m an expat overseas).

    Well done.

  23. Hi Caroline,
    The following is for publication or not, as you prefer.

    Well done for speaking up. You came across well (and certainly not ‘mad’) and I’m really not sure why it provoked such a response on Twitter. I suppose for many supporters of SSM, people who oppose it are literally no better than racists who might argue, for example, that non-white people should not be allowed to go to university. Seen in that light, you can understand their reaction, as we would struggle to listen politely to someone propounding such views too.

    One thing I did notice that perhaps slightly undermined your case was that you didn’t look at the lady next to you at all when she was answering your point, nor did you look at her when you were responding to her. I understand that you were nervous and that in a debate arguments are presented through the chair, but it would have come across better if you had acknowledged her a bit more. Also in your response to her point that marriage has nothing to do with children I was rooting for you to say ‘yes for a lot of people marriage is not about children, but it SHOULD be. What otherwise is the point of marriage? What IS marriage?’

    Anyway, for what it’s worth, my personal view is that the common understanding of marriage departed a long time ago from the Christian concept of marriage and as such we have no grounds to oppose it being extended to gay couples so long as the Church is free to hold true to its definition of marriage.

    1. Hi Rose, those are all excellent points. Yes, I think I was focused on the chair, trying to process what she was saying and also very aware of her hostility, which made me nervous. It would have been much better had I looked at her and to be fair off camera she was very kind.

      I am aware that I may have implicitly offended those who were or are adopted, my point being not that adoption is a terrible thing, but neither should we promote it as a desirable thing either. It’s a generous option as opposed to abortion, but really no mum should feel she needs to abort her baby or give it away.

    1. “…forced…”

      there are people who are very much attached to those ideas of coercion, intimidation and forcing. I guess it must give them a frisson of pleasure, to engage in a fantasy of forcing their ideas on those who had defied, ignored or overlooked them in the past. Pathetic, really.

      Anyway, in the broader picture, the CofE, its Fifth Columnists and various confusions, alarums and excursions are really rather fringe. It is even in danger of being ostracised by other branches of the Episcopalian Church, especially by the vigorously growing Churches in Africa and other parts of the emerging world. It is, in reality, a tiny part of the Christian world.

      Some assume it is more important because it is local and those who toe the ‘zeitgeist line’ get favourable coverage on the BBC and other media outlets, and some within the Church – such as the Bishops of Buckingham and Salisbury – think it has more influence since fellow-minded interlopers undermined it. But when you compare it to the size of the Roman Catholic or Orthodox churches globally, it really is very small fry.

      As for other religions – I can offer only condolences in advance to anyone who seeks to ‘force’ Muslims to adopt Brighton standards of relationships.

      That is not to say that the Establishment will not try to impose conformance on the Catholic Church and any others that choose to remain true to their teaching; it may very well do so. On that day, there will be martyrs, as there have been before. While History is no longer as well taught as it once was, I’m sure there will still be many in this country who are aware that Catholicism was once outlawed across Great Britain, its priests were hunted down and executed, and followers were ostracised, saw their property sequestered and maybe even found themselves in gaol or on the gibbet. But the Faith survived, long after the persecutors were dead, buried and forgotten.

      1. Well written, When I spoke of the C of E withdrawing it’s opposition, it clarified it’s position as a State Religion. The other religions I meant were all those except the Cof E.

  24. Mrs. Farrow,
    I have not commented here before, though I have been an enthusiastic reader for some time. I only wish to thank you for your words during Question Time. You may not have felt brave, but you certainly had more courage than I did, sitting as I was, heart thumping, even at home, having read your post and knowing what to expect! And even now, even after all that the generation above mine has changed so terribly quickly, I was taken aback when the mere word ‘child’ met with gasps and (synthetic?) laughter. It was chillingly telling, though not of the whole tale, as Alan Love’s and Ian Stewart’s comments make plain, and you have mentioned in your account. All the same, it had all the madness of the school playground. I think that it will be one of the moments I remember about the introduction of this law, making as clear as it does the positions and natures of the two sides. Thank you once again; and thank you in general for your work – I am always encouraged by it.

  25. Caroline, you were fantastic, your points succinctly put, you spoke with conviction, you were coherent and great on your feet. You were also brave and kept your cool. Many thanks for voicing what needed voicing. Well done!

  26. Caroline,

    I have not commented here before, though I have been an enthusiastic reader for some time. I only wish to thank you for your words during Question Time. You may not have felt brave, but you certainly had more courage than I did, sitting as I was, heart thumping, even at home, having read your post and knowing what to expect! And even now, even after all that the generation above mine has changed so terribly quickly, I was taken aback when the mere word ‘child’ met with gasps and (synthetic?) laughter. It was chillingly telling, though not of the whole tale, as Alan Love’s and Ian Stewart’s comments make plain, and you have mentioned in your account. All the same, it had all the madness of the school playground.

    I think that it will be one of the moments I remember about the introduction of this law, making as clear as it does the positions and natures of the two sides. Thank you once again; and thank you in general for your work – I am always encouraged by it.

  27. I watched you and was disgusted by you,you clearly hate gays,after all your holy book says kill them all.Im not gay by the way,unlike you im not a bigot and have no problem with gays.Not surprised your catholic,how anyone can go to a church that covered up and enabled child molesters is beyond me.

    1. Calm down, bruvver Steve, and have a cup of tea. Then try and think of an argument in favour of same-sex “marriage”. You can’t, can you?

      Have you noticed that most people who support traditional marriage do some from a logical point of view, whereas all its opponents have to offer in return is abuse?

      1. Marriage is an acknowledgement of the love of two people, it’s a union between two spouses that establishes obligations and certain rights. If the people getting married are of the same sex or not is irrelevant. The reality here is so called Christians have no real argument against it and just hide behind archaic beliefs contained in the bible. For some reason you believe that your ‘traditional’ marriages are under threat from gay marriages, I would suggest that if you feel so threatened by it then your marriages are not as solid as you like to pretend. How many gay divorces have there been, surely divorce would be more of a threat to marriage.

      2. A naive and uninformed point of view, NobleOx. Do you really think that marriage, between man and woman, is exclusively Christian, or Judeo-Christian? If so then your knowledge on the subject is so slight that it can barely be described as even superficial.

        EVERY ordered society in history, from when societies first started writing things down, has established marriage as the recognised means of ordered procreation, of raising the next generation – on whom today’s generation will ultimately depend – of recognising the genetic inheritance of children, and protecting that core partnership from external interference.

        The parties to a marriage DO natter because marriage has ALWAYS been about children. Anything else is not actually a marriage, it is a tax-mitigation agreement. That may sound harsh but in the absence of the possibility of children – in its impossibility, in fact, as infertile and even quite elderly couples have found themselves producing children – it is difficult to argue otherwise. On a narrow interpretation anyway. “We love each other” is all fine and well but the commitment to be open to children is a different thing. That is the error that all who promote the shallow “we love each other” position make.

      3. ‘As far as I am aware, to be open to children’ is only a part of the Catholic marriage rite and certainly in civil marriage this concept is not present. In 1836, the Government of the day had to establish civil marriage because for some groups, Catholics and Jews for example, it had finally been recognised as untenable that they should continue to be obliged to marry in an Anglican church if their marriage was to also be a legal contract. As time has gone on, it has been necessary to update the laws on civil marriage as times and custom have changed. As divorce was unacceptable to the Anglican and Catholic churches, making remarriage impossible in one of their places of worship, at least civil marriage was there to ensure that people could marry again without prejudice. The law finally allowing for same sex couples to marry fits with this progression. Admittedly, it is a different concept of marriage than that held by some (by no means all) religious bodies, but it rights an age-old wrong in our society, allowing all adults to marry the person they love. If people do not like this idea, there is no compulsion on them to like it nor is there any compulsion for a religious body to introduce its own version of same sex marriage. However, Catholics and Anglicans who wish to marry someone of their same sex will, I am sure, begin to lobby their own organisations on this issue. But in the meantime, if they wish, they can be married in a civil ceremony and be legally recognised as spouses. I have to admit being at a complete loss to understand why there should be any objection to this.

      4. I don’t think I said that marriage was exclusively Christian.

        Marriage was not about procreation it was seen as a strategic alliance between families, before you say I’m not suggesting that they didn’t have children but it wasn’t the main motivation, some folk used to marry dead people to strengthen the family.

        Here’s an interesting fact for you, the early Christian church was a trailblazer in arguing that marriage was not contingent on producing offspring. The early Christian church held the position that if you can procreate you must not refuse to procreate, but they always took the position that they would annul a marriage if a man could not have sex with his wife, but not if they could not conceive

        Religious people like to spout on about how marriage is all about children when the reality is it isn’t, you don’t have to be married to have children after all. But then your way of thinking means you can persecute gay people whilst hiding behind ‘the words of god’.

      5. NobleOx, you have strayed across the border from being merely irritatingly uninformed (and consequently wrong) into the territory of unfounded offense.

        You have absolutely no idea what my attitude to gays is. None whatsoever. Keep your tiresome and uninformed opinions to yourself.

      6. Firstly I direct my comments to most people who are commenting here not just you.

        Secondly, if you are religious then I don’t think you are in a position to accuse others of being uninformed, religious books are not fact books they are books of mainly hate, oppression and contradiction, full of stories that can be warped into any way of thinking based on your own shortcomings. If you are not religious then I suggest that you research before making claims and stop living in ignorance.

      7. NobleOx, all you have done is demonstrate how little you know about it. You appear to be basing everything on second-hand instructions received from someone who is either wallowing in the depths of ignorance themselves or has a hostile agenda.

        Just as a matter of interest, have you ever come across “In Praise of Folly’, by Erasmus? “The Great Divorce”, by CS Lewis? “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas a Kempis? I suspect the answer is ‘no’, which makes your generalisations extremely sweeping.

        Just as a guide, if you do not intend a comment to be taken personally by the person to whom you are making them, you have two remedies: Either, do not make them in the first place; or preface them with some mealy-mouthed statement along the lines of “this criticism may not apply to you and i direct it more broadly…” But as I said; the former is preferable. You have made quite clear the lack of knowledge you have so it is best to keep it quiet.

    2. Steve, you should make up your mind. Are you objecting to the practice of some clergy to engage in homosexual sexual activity, that they should be held to account (in conformity with the Church’s teaching on sex outside of marriage) or do you object when the Church upholds its teachings? Or are you objecting that the Church has held people who abuse their position for sexual favours, in contradiction of the way society has gone over the past 40 years?

      Or was it simply that your brain was a little over-lubricated for effective functioning?

  28. I listened to Celtic Connections on the local Catholic station in Arizona. Not being in the public eye, I nonetheless had to make known my refusal of what I call counterfeit marriage both online and in my workplace. I was on the opposite side a couple of years ago, but was moved by grace & mercy to the real instruction of the Holy Spirit; and have received additional graces since. You’ve already been given the grace to stand forth; I pray for peace & strength for you in Our Lord as well. — Recall, too, that those trying to twist marriage to suit their appetites & the world need targets, need, like ENGSOC in “1984”, fifteen minutes of hate, because nothing else sustains the untruth — the only way they can channel the revulsion that they themselves sense underneath the propaganda is to direct it towards those whose testimony affirms the conscience that they are trying to silence within their own souls. All blessings this Lent.

  29. Very well done, Caroline. I didn’t see the BBC programme (I completely gaven up on TV two years ago) and actually hadn’t even heard of you before but I heard your interview on Celtic Connections. Unfortunately, I think the meaning of marriage was already eroded when the rational arguments of GK Chesterton against the introduction of divorce went unheeded. However I am appalled by the immature – indeed, positively infantile – and ugly behaviour of those who cannot bear to hear even a single voice speaking against what they want. I can only assume they realize what a threat would be presented by your coherent arguments if people were given an opportunity to listen to them. At what point will it be judged safe to introduce polygamy and other arrangements without the need to have a debate, I wonder?

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