“It is just a fact of life” – Bishop Hugh Gilbert O.S.B.

From: Transalpine Redemptorists http://papastronsayblogspot.co.uk

As a monk and a priest, I don’t marry. This doesn’t make me better or worse than married people. It is just a fact of life. Someone out there has been deprived of the privilege of having me as a husband; it just is not my role.

Rt. Rev. Dom Hugh Gilbert, O.S.B.
Bishop of Aberdeen

There are hundreds of married people in the pews every Sunday and they do not celebrate Mass or hear Sacramental confessions. That doesn’t mean that God loves them more or less than He loves me. It is just a fact of life. It is not their role to be priests.

In the Church it is not possible for a priest to marry. This is a matter of Church law. It could conceivably change. In our society, it is not possible for two men or two women to marry. That is not discrimination. It is not just a human law which can be changed. It is a fact of life.


Someone swimming the English Channel.

Saying that everybody should have the right to marry is like saying that everybody should have the right to swim the Channel. The fact is that not everybody can do it, or should even try. It is simply not possible.

It seems to me that the government has looked at civil partnerships and decided that they are so similar in every way to civil marriages that we might as well simply change the name. You might think that is fair enough and there is no difference. The truth is that a government can pass any legislation it likes, it can legislate to say that everything with four legs is a table, even when it is a dog and not a horse, but that won’t make it so.


A Wedding in the East.

People have understood the meaning of marriage for thousands of years. Crucially, it has three limits. It is limited by number – you can only marry one person at a time. It is limited by relationships, a man cannot marry his neice, for example. And it is limited by gender – only men and women can marry.


A Wedding in the West.

Now a combination of misplaced kindness, fashion and a commitment to equality are leading the government to propose removing one of those three pillars. Why not the other two? Why is it alright for a man to marry another man, but not alright for him to marry two women? If we really want equality, why does that equality not extend to neices who genuinely, truly love their uncles? And, if you say that such things do not happen, that they are mere freaks of nature, extreme examples dreamed up for the sake of argument, I say you need to spend more time in the parish.

And do you really want your little boy being taught that when he grows up he can marry another boy if he wants?

Fifty years ago nobody would have believed we could seriously be discussing gay ‘marriage.’ Fifty years from now will we be discussing multi-marriages in the same way?

The God I try to serve does not condemn. He did not condemn the woman taken in adultery but, if she had asked him to conduct a wedding service with her lover, he would have refused. It would simply have been impossible.

As Bishop of Aberdeen, I know there are gay people amongst the community of the Church. I promise I will always respect and love them and uphold them in their relationship with the God who loves them. But I won’t marry them. It just cannot be done.

Bishop Hugh Gilbert, O.S.B.
Bishop of Aberdeen

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to “It is just a fact of life” – Bishop Hugh Gilbert O.S.B.

  1. toadspittle says:

    .

    “Saying that everybody should have the right to marry is like saying that everybody should have the right to swim the Channel.”…says the O.S.B.

    Well, of course everyone does have the right to swim the Channel if they want. Whether or not they are capable of succeeding in doing it, is neither here nor there. Plenty have managed to, anyway.

    And nobody has, or should have, the right to stop them trying. And how can the swimmers know if it’s possible for them unless they try?

    So there goes that argument. Thinks Toad

    If the O.S.B. had said everyone has the right to run the 100 meters in 5 seconds, that might have made some sense.

    Like

  2. JabbaPapa says:

    Including paraplegics, senile old ladies in nursing homes, and three week old toddlers presumably ?

    Perhaps they should all swim to the other side, and all enter into a hippy communal marriage arrangement with each other !!!

    Like

  3. toadspittle says:

    .
    Yes, Jabba, they all have the right to swim the Channel. Granted, it is unlikely that a senile old lady would opt to excercise this particular right.
    However a three week old toddler, being a superhuman phenomenon in him (or her) self, might well opt to swim the Channel while he still has the strength.
    And might even succeed, as maybe he (oe she) can swim even better than he (or she) can already walk.
    And seeing what paraplegics constantly achieve in the Olympics, the idea is probably already one or other of their minds, some of them have not succeeded already.

    However what we are doing here (Toad’s fault, largely) is bickering about the meaning of words, as usual. It’s not a question of “rights” here but ability. We all have the basic right to marry, thinks Toad. Whether we excercise it or not is immaterial. Priest usually forgo that right.

    And Toad has no problem with a man “marrying” another man.
    Not a course he has so far followed personally, along with swimming the Channel, but things can change, as the O.S.B. himself points out: “In the Church it is not possible for a priest to marry. This is a matter of Church law. It could conceivably change.” a sentiment, which Toad might allow himself a little self aprobation by pointing out that he has been suggesting this very possibility for a considerable time. And he believes it will change.

    Like

  4. toadspittle says:

    .

    “In our society, it is not possible for two men or two women to marry. That is not discrimination. It is not just a human law which can be changed. It is a fact of life.”

    Well, as we all know, in several places in our society, it is entirely possible that two men legally can, and do, marry. That won’t stop some people saying, “They’re not really married.” But the couple don’t care. And neither does Toad, for that matter, one way or the other.
    Takes all sorts, he thinks. And it all depends on what we mean by “marriage. ”

    What does the O.S.B. think of one man and, say, three women being married, as some Muslims do? Married or not? Does he deny that such a marriage is a “fact of life”? Or does the “fact of life” argument only work for Christians?

    Are people who marry in a register Office really married? Is their marriage a “fact of life” even if they are not Christians?

    Is Toad going to get any coherent answers to these questions? Probably not.

    .

    Like

  5. Gertrude says:

    There is just one basic fact here Toad. Marriage is a Sacrament solemnised between one man and one woman. Simples. There is little point in being polemical for polemics sake.

    Like

  6. toadspittle says:

    .

    The basic fact is, Gertrude, that a great many people simply don’t regard your definition as a basic fact. For them, the basic fact is that two men, or two women, can now get married. Nor do they regard it as a sacrament, but as a legal contract.
    So the polemic has some importance. As usual.

    You know these things, and so does the bishop from Aberdeen.
    You both might disagree with them, and you do, and it is your right. But the gays and their supporters don’t care. And they will get married. Toad is neutral, but believes people ought to be free to do what they like, if it doesn’t adversly affect him, or his, too much.

    And I feel obliged to point out that the reason we are going drearily over the same old, same old, yet again, is because CP&S chose to run a piece reitterating the same old, same old, argument. So Toad is obliged to present the same old, same old, objections.

    And repeat the same old fact that it wasn’t all that long ago that a key element of voting was that it was something only men could do. Remember? So some things do change. Evolution at work.

    Let’s put it to a referendum, and cheefully accept the result, whatever it is. If the majority say “no” to gay marriage, that’s OK with Toad. Then we can all get back to the serious matter of foreskins.

    Like

  7. toadspittle says:

    .
    Incidentally, what does “Simples” mean? Simple? Is it supposed to sound childish, or what?
    Toad has quite recently started to see this word . Can someone help?

    Like

  8. JabbaPapa says:

    Incidentally, what does “Simples” mean? Simple? Is it supposed to sound childish, or what?
    Toad has quite recently started to see this word . Can someone help?

    It’s a fairly common grammatical variation to use the plural of a noun or adjective adverbially, as a form of reinforcement, often exclamatory (as in this case) — notwithstanding that some purists may occasionally frown upon it.

    It’s more common, therefore more accepted, in French and Latin (for example) than in English.

    It’s of quite ancient origin, not contemporary, even though the “simples” expression itself is probably a newer variation of the basic principle.

    Expression such as “Heavens!”, “congratulations”, “greetings” all derive from the same basic grammatical function.

    Like

  9. kathleen says:

    Toad, what the whole argument boils down to is this: the Catholic Church will never, ever sanction homosexual “marriage”. It is an impossibility, and will never happen, no matter how much they kick and scream, or argue and insist, they are just sort of “banging their heads against a brick wall”. Such an idea goes against Divine law and Church teaching on Faith and Morals. (And we all know the Church cannot err on such matters.)
    The fact that gays “marry” in other places – in register offices or some Protestant churches – is well known of course, but it will never happen in a Catholic Church. That is what Bishop Hugh means when he says: “But I won’t marry them [gays]. It just cannot be done”.

    Priestly celibacy is a different issue. Here we are talking about Church discipline, not Doctrine. In theory it is something which could change……. though that seems extremely unlikely to happen in the near future, if ever.

    Like

  10. JabbaPapa says:

    Well spoken kathleen !!!

    In the Latin Church, it’s been HUNDREDS of years since priests have been forbidden from marrying — the current situation is actually that the possibility for dispensations of celibacy *after* ordination has been suspended for a very very long time.

    The Pope continues to enjoy the sole prerogative of providing such dispensations ; and if it became desirable, he could change things tomorrow.

    However, to change things so that others than the Pope could provide such dispensations is extremely unlikely, and even though “priests may not marry, unless given dispensation to do so by the Roman Pontiff” is disciplinary, it’s still a doctrine, rather than just a matter of Church Law.

    I’m actually more optimistic about the prospect of some married deacons being accepted as candidates for priestly ordination, than any other sorts of changes…

    Like

  11. JabbaPapa says:

    Expression such as “Heavens!”, “congratulations”, “greetings” all derive from the same basic grammatical function.

    Also — “cheers”, “bottoms up”, and “et cetera”

    Like

  12. toadspittle says:

    .
    Well, all, we are getting somewheres.
    We seem to have been talking at cross purposes. Toad was talking about marriage in general, whereas others are talking only about Catholic marriage. Not surprisinglys, on CP&S.
    Toad fullys agrees that the Church shouldn’t be forced to do anything it doesn’t want to, and if it doesn’t want to marry gays, it certainly doesn’t have to.
    And I agree that the Catholic Church will nevers marry a pair of gays, at least not any time soon.
    But it seems the British Government is planning to sanction it. So gays will be able to get married, as they see it. And everyone will be happys.
    Except gay Catholics, maybe. Well, tough luck on them, thinks Toad.
    You can’t please all the people all the time. Certainly not all the gays and Catholics.

    And bottoms up, indeed, to Jabba. Which leads us elegantlys back to foreskins….

    Like

  13. toadspittle says:

    .
    So…
    In our society, it is not possible for two men or two women to marry.” said the bishop, and we are all in agreement that he was wrong.
    He should have said, In our Church, it is not possible for two men or two women to marry.

    Which would have avoided a considerable amounts of hot airs, on both sides.

    Like

  14. Giovanni A. Cattaneo says:

    This is the mercy of the World that would let, the people that would surely die attempting something that they are clearly not suited to do. For the World will always prop up your right that should die while the mercy of God through his Holy Church will always maintain that you should have life and have it more abundantly.

    Like

  15. JabbaPapa says:

    So…
    “In our society, it is not possible for two men or two women to marry.” said the bishop, and we are all in agreement that he was wrong.
    He should have said, “In our Church, it is not possible for two men or two women to marry.

    Nevers !!!

    (though, technically, this particular word should be an invariable)

    Like

  16. The Raven says:

    Jabba

    As ever, we are not in agreement.

    Our legislature may tell us that they have determined that two men or two women may enter into a contract that they (the legislature) has decided to use the term “marriage” to describe, but that doesn’t make it a marriage, either either the eyes of the Church or in society more widely.

    Like

  17. toadspittle says:

    .
    You put it succinctlys as usual, Raven. You clearly see what Toad is maladroitly trying to get across.

    My contention is that a sizable number – a majority probably – of the U.K’s population are quite prepared to regard it and accept it as exactly that – a proper, legal marriage, that will take the law to dissolve.
    Just as it is effectively nonsense for anyone to suggest that a marriage in a Register Office, even between a man and a woman is not a “reals” marriage.

    What Toad and the rest on CP&S think is immaterial.

    Do we think a marriage in a mosque is not a “real” one? Even if the man only marries one woman at a time? Suppose he marries two at once? Not our problem?

    Like

  18. kathleen says:

    Toad,
    A marriage is a legally valid marriage everywhere, if it is celebrated between a man and a woman. In that sense they are “real”, if you like. IOW, they are recognised as marriages for non Catholics.
    A Catholic marriage, celebrated by an ordained Catholic priest, is also a Holy Sacrament.

    What everyone keeps repeating, and what Raven is saying here – and that naturally I entirely concur with – is that two people of the same sex CANNOT marry. IT IS JUST A FACT OF LIFE.

    Yes, in our jargon we may use the word “marry” to describe a homosexual union, but that is wrong, and doesn’t mean that it really is. (I put it in inverted commas in my above comment precisely for that reason, because although this word is used, it is not of course a “real” marriage.)

    Like

  19. JabbaPapa says:

    Jabba

    As ever, we are not in agreement.

    Our legislature may tell us that they have determined that two men or two women may enter into a contract that they (the legislature) has decided to use the term “marriage” to describe, but that doesn’t make it a marriage, either either the eyes of the Church or in society more widely.

    ???????

    Well that’s pretty weird, you say we’re in disagreement, then post a statement that I’m in full agreement with to “prove” the point of this “disagreement” ???

    I’m confused — what’s the precise point you’re making ?

    Like

  20. kathleen says:

    (Raven, sorry if I am interfering here when it’s none of my business, but ….)

    Jabba to Raven: “I’m confused — what’s the precise point you’re making ?”

    I might be wrong Jabba, but I think Raven didn’t realise that you were actually quoting Toad from his (Toad’s) previous comment! 😉

    Like

  21. toadspittle says:

    .
    Well, nowToad is confused, because he dosen’t remember saying he was confused, or even being confused, during this particular bout.
    But he generallys is, on CP&S, so it’s probablys all right.

    Although, it does look as if he has fought Kathleen to a draw, with respect to her last paragraph on 15th Aug, at 11.51.
    Which, for a small green toad, is akin to a win.

    Remarkable lack of interest in $atanists eating dead babies, though. Toad would have thought that was right up CP&S’s street. Too boring, probably.

    Like

  22. The Raven says:

    Toad

    The polling evidence on your contention that “…a sizeable number – a majority probably …” of the population are willing to treat these contracts as “marriages” is surprisingly similar to that in the US, where pollsters have found that people will tell them that they are going to vote in favour of gay marriage and then promptly do something different when they get into the polling booth (this has happened in every state where the public has been offered a vote on the matter). Why do you think that the SNP has resisted calls for a referendum on the matter?

    Like

  23. The Raven says:

    Sorry, Jabba, as Kathleen has deduced, I had not realised that you were quoting Toad.

    Like

  24. toadspittle says:

    .
    “Why do you think that the SNP has resisted calls for a referendum on the matter?”

    Raven asks Toad. Who presumes the that SNP is frightened they might lose.
    As might the pro-gay marriage lobby, for all he knows.

    But let’s hold it anyway, he thinks. Clear the air. Bit of fun!

    Like

  25. toadspittle says:

    .

    .

    “And do you really want your little boy being taught that when he grows up he can marry another boy if he wants?” ..queries the bish.

    Toad would sooner have him taught that he could marry another man.
    Leave the boys to the pederasts.
    Oops! Don’t start that up again!
    It’s gone quiet for the time being.

    Like

  26. Will says:

    There seems to be a presumption here that all gay people want or believe in same sex marriage. Many of us are happy enough with civil ceremonies and have no desire or belief in a concept called ‘marriage’ for gay men or women.

    Like

  27. toadspittle says:

    .
    As indeed, are many “straight” people Will. But, as a sentiment, it is not very a la mode on CP&S, as you may all too swiftly discover.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s