Christian MPs and peers should follow their consciences rather than the leadership of their parties to reject plans to redefine marriage, the Bishop of Shrewsbury has said.
The Rt Rev. Mark Davies said that a change in the law to re-define the identity of marriage from the life-long union of one man and one woman would represent “nothing less than a seismic shift in the foundations of our society” that would dangerously undermine the institution of marriage and obscure its identity for future generations.
Many who do not share the Christian faith, the Bishop observed, “recognise the timeless institution of marriage” as the key foundation of the family and society as a whole.
The Bishop criticised the “mindset” that, he said, “see progress only as a continuous shifting of our society further and further from its Christian foundations” and said that the time has come for politicians to resist the will of party leaders by actively opposing a change in the law in order to protect the foundations upon which our civilisation is built.
Preaching at the annual diocesan celebration of marriage, the Bishop also urged the Catholics of his diocese to raise their voices in defence of the authentic meaning of marriage “for the sake of generations to come”.
In his homily, given at St Wilfrid’s Church, Northwich, Cheshire, on Saturday February 11, Bishop Davies also reminded the congregation that Parliament does not have the authority to redefine marriage. “Marriage is not a merely a human institution made or un-made by any generation,” he said. “God himself is the author of marriage.”
The Coalition Government will launch its public consultation on the proposals next month with a view to legalising civil marriage for homosexual couples before the next General Election in 2015.
Bishop Davies said: “By attempting to redefine marriage for society, politicians will find they have not only undermined the institution of marriage but obscured its identity for generations to come.
“For politicians of Christian conscience this will be a moment to resist the leadership of their own political parties together with every parliamentarian who recognises the Judeo-Christian foundations on which our society rests.”
He added: “Our voices must now be raised as clearly as they can be, in order to proclaim the God-given meaning of marriage not only for the sake of this generation, but for the sake of all generations to come.”