MSP Patrick Harvie Reports Archbishop to the Police for Defending Marriage

Country: United Kingdom

Date of incident: January 13, 2006

Category: Social Hostility / Intolerance

Attack against: Morals

Area of case: Governmental



Member of the Scottish Parliament asked Strathclyde Police to investigate remarks made by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow. The Archbishop had defended the institution of marriage in a church service.

On 13 January 2006 the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow, Mario Conti, said in a sermon that the moral teaching of the church was being undermined. The Archbishop said that he and other "bishops are very concerned at the way in which the institution of marriage is undermined, and the family, which should be at the very centre of the state's concern, marginalised." He went on to say that: "Recent legislation to introduce civil partnerships dangerously weakens the uniqueness of marriage as a time-honoured, legally-recognised and protected social reality and a fiscally-privileged entity. It also implicitly places homosexual acts on a plane of moral equivalence to marital love."1 The Archbishop also pointed out that Pope Paul VI in his Humanae Vitae "warned about the dangers of separating conjugal love from procreation".2
The Green MSP and gay-rights activist, Patrick Harvie, wrote to the Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police asking him to investigate the Archbishop's remarks believing they should be prosecuted. Patrick Harvie said: "What he [Conti] said was clearly homophobic. This is a matter for the police."3
Ronnie Convery, Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of Glasgow, replied that "This particular publicity stunt is not worthy of serious consideration... It does however show once more that there are none so intolerant as the so-called champions of tolerance." He added it was the duty of bishops to preach the truth and "Attempts to bully them, and ultimately gag them... are a disgraceful attack on our traditions of free speech and religious freedom."4


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