By Hilary White

GLASGOW, January 19, 2006 ( – Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow has joined his more outspoken neighbour, Keith Cardinal O’Brien of Edinburgh, in condemning the assaults on the family by politicians and urging Catholics to oppose threats “from within and from outside the Church.”

Conti said that the attack today is “indirect” but that Christians still must defend the moral order. “Today the assault is indirect; the attack is on the moral order which is the heritage of all Christians, and which enshrines values shared by those of other faiths within our midst.”
  Conti said in a homily on the feast of St. Mungo, Glasgow’s patron saint, “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 love.”

At a time when the UK is undoing legal protections for families, the English Catholic bishops have remained largely silent. Last month Scottish parliamentarians voted to reduce to one year and two years, respectively, the minimum separation period for uncontested and contested divorce. The British parliament is insisting on legal equivalence of homosexual partnerings with marriage.

“The 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,” said Conti.

He went on, “All of this flies in the face of the Christian Catholic view of sexuality and marriage and stems from the basic mistake of separating the unitive and procreative aspects of marital love.”