LONDON (ChurchMilitant.com) - Two English bishops are criticizing an English government official's published statement against Catholic schools. On January 9, Dame Louise Casey, a top advisor to the U.K. government on the topic of community integration, said that Catholic schools shouldn't be allowed to oppose and advocate against so-called gay marriage.
She commented, "I don't really have a view on which religion it is that's promoting those sorts of views, but it is not OK, the same way it is not OK for Catholic schools to be homophobic and anti-gay marriage. That's not how we bring children up in this country."
In response, Bp. Mark Davies of the diocese of Shrewsbury commented, "These values would be undermined if an 'equalities agenda' in schools became the vehicle for an increasing intolerance of Christian teaching. Strangely, it is the historic teachings of Christianity and the Christian vision of marriage which might be in need of toleration."
Bishop Philip Egan of the diocese of Portsmouth also spoke out in defense of the Church's teachings on sexuality. He commented that society has become increasingly unreasonable on the topic of sexual morality, saying, "After a while, they won't argue with you on grounds of reason, they just become furious and respond that way. There is something in our culture increasingly like that."
The Catholic Education Service (CES), which represents the bishops of England on education, rejected any notions that Catholic schools are guilty of homophobia or discrimination.
In an official statement, CES asserted, "Catholic education focuses around the formation of the whole person, and all Catholic schools must be a safe, open and tolerant environment for all pupils. As such, we expect all Catholic schools to have a zero tolerance approach to homophobic bullying."
In the past, both Bp. Davies and Bp. Egan have spoken out against so-called gay marriage and the mainstreaming of homosexuality and sexual immorality in the wider culture.
In a 2012 Christmas sermon, Davies commented, "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."
In a 2014 pastoral letter, Davies wrote:
The first Christians required courage to overcome and transform a vast, pagan world whose ideas about marriage and sexual morality were not unlike those which prevail in our own culture. Today, we need this same, supernatural courage to live and give witness to all the Church believes and teaches about marriage, the family and human sexuality.
Likewise, Bp. Egan has forcefully defended Church teaching on human sexuality. In 2013, after the passage of same-sex marriage legislation in England and Wales, Egan told his diocese:
Parliament's Orwellian attempt to redefine marriage radically changes the social context, and this presents a massive challenge to the Church in England and Wales: to those who wish to marry in our churches, to Catholic parents bringing up children, to teachers in our Catholic schools, and to the clergy engaged in pastoral ministry.
In a 2014 interview with LifeSiteNews, Egan remarked, "When people are not in communion with the Catholic Church … in terms of the teachings of the Church on marriage and family life — they are voting in favor of same-sex marriage — then they shouldn't be receiving Holy Communion."
The Catechism of the Catholic Church officially teaches, "Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law."