Senior Roman Catholic Bishop links push for gay marriage to Nazi attack on religion in controversial Christmas sermonRight Reverend Mark Davies will use his midnight Mass to say marriage can only be between a man and a womanThe Bishop of Shrewsbury will say that both Hitler
and Stalin challenged Christianity with the notion that what they were
doing was ‘progress’
00:53 GMT, 24 December 2012
A senior Roman Catholic will today use his Christmas sermon to liken plans for the legalisation of gay marriage to the way the Nazis and Communists tried to undermine religion.
The Bishop of Shrewsbury will launch a vociferous attack on the Coalition’s decision to fast track a vote on same-sex marriage in the New Year.
The Right Reverend Mark Davies will use his midnight Mass to say marriage can only be between a man and a woman.
And he will accuse the Prime Minister of attempting to redefine the institution of marriage for ‘generations to come’ without any mandate from the electorate.
The Bishop of Shrewsbury will launch a vociferous attack on the Coalition's decision to fast track a vote on same-sex marriage in the New Year
Most controversially, he will equate the support for same-sex marriage with the way totalitarian regimes acted in the twentieth century.
The bishop will say that both Hitler and Stalin challenged Christianity with the notion that what they were doing was ‘progress’.
He will argue that, in a similar fashion, the supporters of same-sex marriage also use the idea of ‘progress’ to support the ‘redefinition’ of marriage.
The bishop will conclude: ‘The British people have reason to ask on this night where is such progress leading’
And he will tell the faithful that a moment has arrived for them to ‘stand up for what is right and true as previous generations have done before us: to give witness to the value of every human life, to the truth of marriage as the lasting union of man and woman… the foundation of family.’
In his sermon, Bishop Davies will say: ‘Past generations have gathered in this cathedral on Christmas night amid many shadows which seemed to obscure the future for them.
We think of the ideologies of the past century, Communism and Nazism, which in living memory threatened to shape and distort the whole future of humanity.
‘These inhuman ideologies would each challenge in the name of progress the received Christian understanding of the sanctity of human life and the family. Winston Churchill, Britain’s wartime Prime Minister, a man without clear, religious belief, saw in this deadly struggle nothing less than the defence of Christian civilisation.
The bishop will say that both Hitler and Stalin challenged Christianity with the notion that what they were doing was 'progress'
‘Few of our political leaders today appear to glimpse the deeper issues when the sanctity of human life and the very identity of marriage, the foundation of the family, are threatened.’
He will add: ‘This Christmas we are also conscious of new shadows cast by a Government that was pledged at its election to support the institution of marriage.
‘The Prime Minister has decided without mandate, without any serious consideration, to redefine the identity of marriage itself, the foundation of the family for all generations to come.
‘This is again done in the name of progress. The British people have reason to ask on this night where is such progress leading’ In another part of his sermon, the bishop calls this country’s treatment of the elderly and sky-high abortion rates ‘the darkest shadows of our time’.
He will say: ‘The widespread neglect and ill-treatment of the frailest, elderly people in our society: concerns highlighted in the Care Quality Commission’s recent report. The growing concerns about end-of-life care and what is happening to the most vulnerable in our hospitals.
‘This dark side to our society is surely connected to the discarding of human life from the beginning in legalised abortion on an industrial scale, in reproductive technologies, in embryo experimentation which our laws have sanctioned.’
The bishop’s comments come despite the fact that polls repeatedly show the public is largely in favour of allowing gay marriage.
Ruth Hunt, of gay rights group Stonewall, said: ‘Gay people are all too aware of the horrific results of Nazi ideology due to the countless casualties of the Holocaust.
‘Bishop Davies’s comments are both deeply offensive to gay people and their families.’
The Coalition has tried to defuse Church of England opposition to its plans by specifically saying it would be illegal for any Anglican vicar to marry a gay couple.