Former Archbishop of Westminster: Gay marriage is part of ‘greatest evil in our country’

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The former head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales has said same-sex marriage contributes to the “greatest evil” in the country.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor was President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales until 2009, and is a former Catholic Archbishop of Westminster.

As the Republic of Ireland heads to the polls to vote on a proposal to introduce civil same-sex marriage, the retired Archbishop lashed out at equality in comments at a book event.

According to the Telegraph, he said at the Hay Festival: “I hope they vote no. I do think marriage is marriage.

“We’re not talking about civil unions; they are quite acceptable.

“I think marriage has always been part of the language of family and children and community. If you say for gay couples it’s also the same – well, I don’t think it is. You have another name for their union with all legal rights.

“At the heart of my book is my support for the family. That doesn’t mean I don’t understand families break down, [that there are] homosexual couples – the point is that the heart of the structure in our country is the family.

“And the more the family breaks down in different ways, I think, the less we have a healthy community. And I would say the greatest evil, in my view, is the breakdown of family life.”

It is interesting that the former Archbishop now claims to think civil partnerships are “quite acceptable” – because at the time they were passed he said he was “deeply concerned” that they would undermine marriage.

In 2012, the Archbishop Emeritus spoke out against equality ahead of a same-sex marriage bill in England and Wales, which he claimed was an “abuse of language” which would ultimately weaken the institution of marriage.

In 2004, he allegedly fired an adviser because he is gay – telling him his sexuality was “incompatible” with his position.