From Bondings 2.0, New Ways Ministry’s blog:
Two incidents made headlines in the UK this week, which stress the reality that even in places where there is legal recognition of marriage equality, the Catholic Church’s need for renewal is still great.
Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth told a conservative Catholic website that Communion should be denied to Catholic members of Parliament who supported England’s recent passage of marriage equality and called it an “act of mercy.” The Tablet reports Egan told the interviewer:
” ‘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 favour of same-sex marriage – then they shouldn’t be receiving Holy Communion….I personally would be in favour of saying that somebody should not be receiving communion.’ “
He also added that any action should be carried out in consultation with the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. A Conference spokesperson denied that the country’s bishops would follow Egan’s suggestion and discuss the issue.
Meanwhile, legislators from both leading parties criticized Egan and there was no support for the bishop. Marriage equality was supported by 47 of 82 Catholic members of parliament last year. Conservative MP Conor Burns called Egan’s statement a “tragedy” and said “this bishop appears not to have noticed that we have a new gentle shepherd preaching a Christ-like message of inclusivity, love, tolerance, and forgiveness” in reference to Pope Francis. Even MPs who voted against equal marriage rights, like Labour’s Stephen Pound, criticized Egan’s position as “wholly disproportionate.”