Holy matrimony

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Not only do Tim Hopkins of the Equality Network and Martin Dowds miss the point of Archbishop Mario Conti’s recent sermon on marriage, but Dr Mary Brown’s study of scripture is left wanting (Letters, 27 March).

However, I fear that there aren’t enough hours in the day to correct every instance of their misinterpretation of Catholic teaching on such matters as child abuse, Bible study, marriage, stewardship of nature and religious freedom, so let’s get to the crux of the matter.

Is anyone able to provide a definition of same-sex “marriage” that is equal to the long-held public and social purpose of marriage, namely to attach mothers and fathers to their children and to one another?

Ian Maxfield



“We CAN’T understand people, events and the way the world is if we don’t take religion seriously,” says the blogging Bishop of Bradford, calling for more religion on television (your report, 27 March).

If, as the bishop further claims, religion is not to be privileged by such an exposure, I hope he is calling for all the bad points of organised religion to be given equal weight and prominence as its good points.

For example, with regard to the bishop’s own faith, it is impossible to present the current society view of women, Jews, non-believers, single mothers, Muslims and homo-sexuals without understanding how Christianity has systematically oppressed and disenfranchised these groups over the centuries.

It is impossible to understand the slave trade without knowledge of how organised religion promoted and took advantage of it on the authority of scripture, just as one can’t comprehend the rise of fascism in the early 20th century without knowledge of how its dictators were supported by the Vatican in pursuit of its own agenda.

And it is impossible to understand the essential claims of Christianity without an unbiased presentation of the available evidence and how it usurped the rituals and beliefs of paganism and Mithraism and gave them a convenient Christian makeover.

I suspect, however, that the bishop has his ample bucket of whitewash at the ready.

Alistair McBay

National Secular Society

Atholl Crescent