EDINBURGH, August 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After suspending discussions with the government over “gay marriage,” Britain’s most senior Catholic prelate issued a pastoral letter this weekend declaring Sunday August 26 as “National Marriage Sunday”. The letter was read in all 500 Scottish Catholic parishes this weekend.

“We reaffirm before you all the common wisdom of humanity and the revealed faith of the Church that marriage is a unique life-long union of a man and a woman,” the letter said.

The letter by Keith O’Brien, the cardinal archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, was promulgated by all the Catholic bishops of Scotland. It announced the launch of the Church’s National Commission for Marriage and the Family that will help co-ordinate a campaign against “gay marriage”.

The Commission will be composed of a bishop and laymen and will seek to promote the “true nature of marriage as both a human institution and a union blessed by Jesus.”

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O’Brien announced last week that he would no longer meet with Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond on the “gay marriage” issue, leaving all discussions to “officials” from now on. O’Brien, whose actions in defence of natural marriage have been praised by the Vatican, has also called for a public referendum on the topic, citing the overwhelmingly negative response to the government’s idea in their consultation. 

“Our faith teaches us that marriage is a great and holy mystery,” states the cardinal’s letter. “The Bishops of Scotland will continue to promote and uphold the universally accepted definition of marriage as the union solely of a man and a woman.  At the same time, we wish to work positively for the strengthening of marriage within the Church and within our society.”

Earlier this month, Bishop Hugh Gilbert of Aberdeen said that once the nature of marriage is re-written, it can be changed again to legitimise whatever pairings the zeitgeist decrees, including polygamy or incestuous relations.

“The truth is that a government can pass any legislation it likes. Why is it all right for a man to marry another man, but not all right for him to marry two women?” Bishop Gilbert said.

“And, if you say that such things don’t happen, that they are mere freaks of nature, extreme examples dreamed up for the sake of argument, I say you need to spend more time in the parish.”

The Catholics have been joined recently by the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, which issued a statement earlier this month saying they are concerned “the government will legislate without being able to effectively protect religious bodies or their ministers whose beliefs prevent them from celebrating civil-partnerships or same-sex marriages.”