A video taken from This Morning on ITV 1 from last Thursday. Anthony Ozimic, representing the opposition to the Same Sex Marriage Bill, was introduced as a member of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. I give money to SPUC and I do so to further the campaign against abortion. That is what I had assumed my money is being used for. You can understand, therefore why I was shocked by this video and this is from someone who I hope made my views clear on the Same Sex Marriage Bill with my post on the letter to The Telegraph on the subject from a thousand priests that appeared the other week. Why are they getting distracted from combatting this ultimate evil by the unrelated issue of so called same sex marriage?
It has to be said that the other guest, Kelly Rose Bradford (from the Daily Mail), did not put forward any convincing arguments for the measure, nor did the show's hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield who just berated Ozimic instead of engaging with him. The Catholic position of Same Sex Marriage is one that is reasoned and loving. Ozmic was neither.
I did though find his views unsettling, embarassing and contrary to Catholic teaching. On his personal Twitter page, Ozimic claims to be a "Catholic traditionalist", I assume this does not mean he is out of full communion with the Catholic Church. If my assumption is correct, maybe he would like to explain why he thinks that a person being gay is unnatural, when all the Church says is that homosexual acts are unnatural. When the Catechism says that homosexuality is "objectively disordered" it does so in the technical sense of natural law, as Ozimic knows full well. It tacitly recognises its natural origin when it discusses homosexuality's presence across the centuries and cultures. His discouragement of teenagers coming out does smack of a lack of "respect, compassion and sensitivity" for teenagers who are gay. I don't know what he thinks a homosexual lifestyle is or why he thinks it per se is a problem. Certainly he is misguided if he thinks that his views are upholding the Catechism. His assertion that gay relationships do not last is a nonesense. He's making himself look silly and with him the SPUC. Also, I for one, will be delighted if God blesses me with children and will be equally delighted if they are gay, straight, land somewhere inbetween or are asexual. I hope that I'll be a good enough father that they can talk to me about it as Ozmic suggests, but I'll certainly never encourage them to repress God's incredible gift of sexuality.
The SPUC justifies its campaign againt the Same Sex Marriage Bill because they believe that the undermining of marriage will lead to an increase in abortion. This seems a little spurious to me, I have to say. The strongest argument against Same Sex Marriage is that marriage is not appropriate for relationships that are not about children. If those relationships aren't about children, which though not popularly said, is obvious, how will they lead to abortions? It makes a nonsense of the SPUC's position. The two issues are not related, why pretend they are? Perhaps it is true to say that since pro choice and pro gay marriage positions often themselves as the "liberal" positions in the separate debates, people who self identify as liberal are drawn to both, but there is no greater causal link between the two and the outcome of the one debate won't effect the outcome of the other.
I also note that SPUC oppose the proposal in Wales to change the organ donation system to one in which an individual opts out rather than getting a donor card (NB I just this minute got a new one to replace mine which I've lost and it took me less than a minute). This measure seems eminently sensible considering our problems in this country with a lack of organs. How this is a pro-life issue I have no idea, except that it means that people's lives will be saved. People who feel strongly about it will opt out, as is their right, and those who don't will do others a great deal of good.
Please, SPUC, use donors money, my money, for what we give it to you for, campaigning for the recognition of the human rights of the not yet born. If I were giving money to a campaign for the legal affirmation of true marriage, which I have every reason to do, I would give it to the Coalition for Marriage. Be specialist, be excellent at what you do and do so by confining yourselves to the struggle you are the best equipped to deal with: don't get bogged down in unrelated campaigns. Anthony Ozmic's appearance on This Morning was an embarrasment and may well have harmed the pro life movement. Ozmic's appearance may also have done harm to the genuine programs of pastoral care for gay people that the Church runs in this country. The Church has no interest in changing someone's sexuality, why would they? That's how God created humans, with variations of sexuality. Diversity is a sign of God's love of His Creation. You lose credibility by trying to deal with issues outside of your remit and lose sight of your real goal and ultimately, in so doing you fail in your duty to protect unborn lives.
I'm going to carry on giving to SPUC because its work against abortion is important, but I would like all of the donations it receives to be spent on its pro life work and to leave its other campaigns to groups better equipped to deal with their issues.
Fr Tim takes the opposite view.