Taking the lead of Pope Benedict XVI — whose Christmas message included the warning that same-sex marriage "threatens" humanity — the Right Reverend Mark Davies, Bishop of Shrewsbury, used his midnight Mass to say marriage can only be between a man and a woman, and to accuse Prime Minister David Cameron of attempting to redefine the institution of marriage for "generations to come" without any mandate from the electorate.
Following is an excerpt from his sermon, released ahead of its presentation:
Past generations have gathered in this cathedral on Christmas night amid many shadows which seemed to obscure the future for them.
We think of the ideologies of the past century, Communism and Nazism, which in living memory threatened to shape and distort the whole future of humanity.
These inhuman ideologies would each challenge in the name of progress the received Christian understanding of the sanctity of human life and the family. Winston Churchill, Britain’s wartime Prime Minister, a man without clear, religious belief, saw in this deadly struggle nothing less than the defense of Christian civilization.
Few of our political leaders today appear to glimpse the deeper issues when the sanctity of human life and the very identity of marriage, the foundation of the family, are threatened.
This Christmas we are also conscious of new shadows cast by a Government that was pledged at its election to support the institution of marriage.
The Prime Minister has decided without mandate, without any serious consideration, to redefine the identity of marriage itself, the foundation of the family for all generations to come. This is again done in the name of progress. The British people have reason to ask on this night where is such progress leading?
On Friday, Pope Benedict XVI said in his Christmas message that same-sex marriage is destroying the very foundations of the family and what it means to be human.
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