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Gay marriage could result in largest persecution of Catholics since Reformation

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 14th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Over a thousand Catholic priests and 13 bishops and abbots have signed an open letter saying the effort to redefine the definition of marriage in England is the greatest threat to religious freedom since the Reformation.

LONDON, ENGLAND (Catholic Online) - The concern is real. If politicians change the definition of marriage in English law, Catholics could find themselves compelled to teach and promote an agenda that is morally wrong. For example, Catholic teachers in secular schools will be compelled to discuss gay marriage in their classrooms, placing it on the same moral footing as traditional marriage.

Such a thing could even prevent faithful Catholics from certain jobs. Other Catholics might have to participate in gay marriages as part of their daily duties, such as signing certificates, for example.

Ultimately, the proposed change in law makes no exception for Catholics and others who believe as a matter of faith that such deeds are anathema.

The open letter was signed by 1054 priests and 13 bishops. Their concerns even extend to the pulpit, afraid that they will not be permitted to share Church teaching on the subject with parishioners without having such speech labeled as a hate crime.

The bid to redefine marriage is being led by David Cameron who is being compared by Catholics to Henry VIII.

The parallel is not just hyperbole either. During the Reformation, Catholics were barred from many professions and were the subjects of active persecution. Many Catholics were compelled to leave the country and others hid underground, practicing their faith in secret.

Similarly, Catholics might be compelled to remain silent on matters of faith because speaking the truth could result in dismissal, or denial of work altogether. In extreme cases, some could even be jailed.

Cameron's "Equal Marriage Bill" will be published later this month. The Bishop of Portsmouth told the Telegraph, "I am very anxious that when we are preaching in Church or teaching in our Catholic schools or witnessing to the Christian faith of what marriage is that we are not going to be able to do it, that we could be arrested for being bigots or homophobes."

The bill is expected to pass.

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