Keith O’Brien: ‘We must work for the broader good of all’

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The concern for those who demand equality cannot allow us to consign to history our understanding of the basic goods of human society.

We risk becoming an atomised collection of individuals rather than a society if we only respond to the demands of individual desires rather than the broader good of all. An authentically democratic society will nurture what is best for all whilst allowing considered reflection on how best to support the social fabric of society. The dangers of the changes that are being proposed to the very meaning of marriage will entail a breadth of change that most people, including our politicians, have simply not reflected on.

Do people really understand that they will be sweeping the terms husband and wife from our marriage laws? Do they really understand that those who merely wish to modestly uphold their understanding of marriage could be disciplined in their places of work?

Do they realise that a public sector duty to promote the new vision of equality will cast grave doubt on the ability of Catholic schools to uphold their own ethos? Do they really understand that equality laws have been so structured that it will enforce public sector workers to promote an understanding of marriage that leaves no room outside the government-dictated morality?

Scotland aims to be an enlightened society. Let us not disregard the lessons of history as we continue to build such a country but let us nurture the best that our history has learned among which is the vital importance of supporting mothers and fathers in raising children.

• Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Archbishop of St Andrew’s and Edinburgh