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 niece, 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 nieces 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