The past couple of days have seen lots of opining, preening, name calling and condescending comments on the matter of same sex couples being allowed to marry. Catholic Voices has represented the argument beautifully with Fr Edmund Montgomery of the diocese of Shrewsbury and Fiona O’Reilly giving a factual, messured, polite response to those in favour of single sex marriage. And I’ve not noticed either of them turning to social media to make the argument about themselves either. Their focus has remained the teaching of the Church throughout
This morning I’ve seen Christians of many traditions ripping into each other. I was heartened to see Peter D Williams conversing with Fr Andrew Cain, both at odds with each other, but both putting their points respectfully. Mind you, having met both these chaps, I would not expect anything less.
I was not surprised to see some silly Catholics asking where the bishops were in all this, as if Archbishop Smith had not been in the middle of it all last year. But Catholic Voices were out there. As I said, Fr Montgomery and Ms O’Reilly had both done an unsurpassable job, and unless I am mistaken, the bishops fully endorse the work of Catholic Voices, complete with spondoolics (at this point I want to say ‘you don’t have a dog and bark yourself but one bunch of, shall we say bloggers, would pounce on it, so I shall not)
But there is one thing I have not seen, and it surprises me; a call to constant prayer. I saw a tweet from Peter Ould, who I knew would be very measured in his response to the brouhaha, and I knew I would agree with him too, he said “Oh good grief. We don’t need a day of prayer tomorrow,we need a year of careful contemplation about witness in the new paradigm”.
The witness stuff really works, but so does the prayer. Think of only last year when Pope Francis called us to pray for Syria, and look what happened, on the day this new initiative from a modern day pope occurred, the empass was passed. Now, that would not have happened here, the law would not have been revoked, but cast your mind back old folk when at Benediction we would pray The Prayer for England for the conversion of Russia (I was a child, why would it not make sense) and look what happened.
As we’ve seen some high profile gay people also agree that marriage should not be redefined and 20% of Brits would not go to a same sex wedding. I won’t be looking at this as a victory, I’ll be looking at it as hope. I’ll be praying for a re-redefinition, it will take time, possibly not something I will see in my lifetime, but our prayer, our witness and our love are what makes us Christians, so let’s do that.