QUOTE TO NOTE: London Cardinal ‘Rejoices’ in LGBT Acceptance, While Still ‘Obstinate’ on Marriage

London’s Cardinal Vincent Nichols has been one of the global church’s strongest advocates of pastoral outreach to the LGBT community.  At the same time, he has opposed marriage equality though, unlike U.S. bishops, he seems comfortable in making social and ecclesial accommodations for lesbian and gay couples.

The Catholic Herald recently reported on remarks Nichols made at a public lecture.  His remarks show the two sides of his approach to matters of gay sexuality.  The news story stated:

“Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the most senior Catholic cleric in England and Wales, has said the Church will continue to be ‘obstinate’ about gay marriage and other questions of sexual morality.

“Answering questions after a talk at St Ethelburga’s Centre, London, Cardinal Nichols was asked about the Church’s response to homophobia. The cardinal said that society had become more empathetic and compassionate towards gay people, and that he ‘rejoiced’ in the change.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols

“However, he went on to say that Catholics ‘still stand for’ a definition of marriage as ‘between a man and a woman’ which is open to new life.

“Cardinal Nichols went on: ‘There has never been a time when Christian sexual morality has been totally accepted in any society.’ But, he said, Christians would ‘persist’ in being ‘awkward’ on such matters.”

No doubt some will criticize Nichols’ opposition to marriage equality and his upholding of traditional church teaching on sexuality.  Nichols is no stranger to criticism, though. For years, conservative Catholics in England have been criticizing the pastoral outreach he began to London’s LGBT community, some of these critics even bringing their complaints to the Vatican. Nichols, however, stood firm, and the pastoral outreach program, LGBT Catholics Westminster, is alive, well, and thriving today.

While Nichols may be correct that Christian sexual morality has never been totally accepted in any society, that doesn’t mean that Christian sexual ethics hasn’t changed as new scientific information and social understandings and customs have evolved.   The fact that ethical principles have changed over the centuries is the best argument that they can change in the future.

Still, Nichols serves as a model to other prelates that their opposition to same-gender marriage does not mean that they cannot welcome LGBT people into the church community.

Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, May 15, 2017


0 replies
  1. John Hilgeman
    John Hilgeman says:

    It doesn’t matter what the Cardinal thinks Catholic marriage should be. But when it comes to civil marriage, he rightly has no say. I must admit, however, It is rather odd to approve of Catholic marriage for couples who through age or biology are unable to have biological children, and to claim that those marriages are open to life, but those of gay couples are not. Also, the doctrine that Mary and Joseph were husband and wife, though Mary never had sex with Joseph, is flawed. If they never had sex, and Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit (which is what the doctrine claims), they as a couple were never open to life, because they never had sex.

    • mrnickvirga
      mrnickvirga says:

      Yeah but Mary was told she was gonna have Jesus. Jesus was the new life! They didn’t have sex yet there was already a guarantee that she would have a child.

      That aside, I believe a marriage or a good relationship is life giving in many ways not limited to having a biological baby. For this reason among others, I support same sex relationships. Not that it matters what I think.

  2. Thomas
    Thomas says:

    Has Cardinal Nichols not wondered why Christian sexual morality has never been fully accepted in any society? Perhaps because it runs contrary to human sexual nature ?

    • mrnickvirga
      mrnickvirga says:

      To be fair, we can’t overlook the gross hyper sexuality and sexual abuses that go on and have gone on throughout history.
      The pagans were pretty depraved and even down to things like the hookup culture,incest etc Christians are right to fight against all of that.

  3. Tom Bower
    Tom Bower says:

    It is nice that the Cardinal wants to be welcoming to LGBT individuals. If he really means what he say he needs to go beyond saying we can enter the door, but must stay in the lobby away from the dining room. If you welcome someone welcome those they love as well; otherwise, as he says, he is persisting in being awkward and obstinate – not terms Christ ever used as I recall. Loving someone of the same sex is what it means to be LGBT. If a spouse isn’t offered a seat at the table with me, then I am not welcome. Please don’t insult me with double talk.

    • Martin
      Martin says:

      You won’t find anyone not being ‘offered a seat at the table’ at Farm Street Jesuit Church, nor for that matter children, nor anyone else, being refused the waters of baptism.

  4. David J Martin MD
    David J Martin MD says:

    I for one am tired – fatigued – of the non-Christian treatment of me and my FAMILY by the the Roman Church’s rejection/persecution. o I have taken an altrnate route to nourish my Faith as a TRUE Christian-CATHOLIC by joining the Faith community of the Reformed Catholic Church which has communities in the USA – mine in Long Beach, California. They have a valid ordination of priests and cosequently valid Eucharist & Sacraments with direct Apostolic Succession hailing back to Christ by virtue of their clergy being ordained by Roman Catholic Bishops who helped established said clergy. Is their ordination licit – no but I really don’t care. I have no interest anymore about the several thousand rules established NOT to protect the Faith but to guard the bloated – self-righteous- power hungry Church hierarchy. I wish to WORSHIP, SERVE, and LOVE my brothers & sisters – regardless of sexual orientation. Christ will not be mindful of the Church’s desire to exclude people but of inclusion – I will place ALL my trust in HIM – not in the institution.
    Namaste – David J Martin, MD

  5. Don Siegal
    Don Siegal says:

    Staying the Course with the Roman Catholic Church

    My severest critics in my choice to remain within the Roman Catholic Church are from LGBT people who have made the choice to either leave the church entirely or to associate with parallel (but separate) Catholic communities or join other liturgical communities such as Anglican or Lutheran denominations. I understand and appreciate the frustration of persons making those choices.

    Regardless, I have made the conscious choice to remain within the Roman Catholic community. I have done so because I believe that is the best way to effect change within the Church. The sensus fidelium of the laity is strongly in favor of being inclusive of LGBT persons. It will happen. In fact I believe we are very close indeed to the tipping point of this issue.

    In addition, I believe that being part of New Ways Ministry is a wonderful and efficacious way to achieve the inclusion and acceptance for which we are all longing.


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