Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham Vincent Nichols has issued a strong warning to the Government over new pro-homosexual legislation, saying the Catholic Church will no longer cooperate with the government on schools, charity programs and adoption agencies if the government attempts to force the Church to accept homosexuality.
Archbishop Nichols said the government was "engaged in an intense and at times aggressive reshaping of our moral framework", taking on a role it has "no mandate or competence" to carry out, The Evening Standard reported.
"[T]hose who are elected to fashion our laws are not elected to be our moral tutors," Archbishop Nichols said.
"Take the notion of the family and the moral equivalence being forced upon us between marriage of a man and a woman, on the one hand, and on the other, a legally recognized partnership of two people of the same sex."
Speaking in a sermon in St. Chad's Cathedral, Archbishop Nichols said, "The Government must realize that it is not possible to seek co-operation with us while at the same time trying to impose upon us conditions which contradict our moral values."
"It is simply unacceptable to suggest that the resources of faith communities, whether in schools, adoption agencies, welfare programs, halls and shelters can work in co-operation with public authorities only if the faith communities accept not simply a legal framework but also the moral standards at present being touted by the Government."
The Catholic Church has said it will close down the seven adoption agencies it runs if the law forces the Church to place children with homosexual couples. That threat carries significant weight, the Standard reported, since 1 in 20 adopted children are placed in homes through the Catholic agencies.
The Sexual Orientation Regulations, which will take effect in England in April, are ostensibly aimed at preventing discrimination against homosexuals in the workplace. The impact on Christian communities will likely be significant, however, as the regulations would prevent churches and faith-based organizations from refusing to permit homosexual groups from using their facilities. Christian or Muslim businesses could be sued for refusing to accept homosexual clients – hoteliers and printers would not be free to withhold their facilities and services from same-sex couples or clients.