By Hilary White

  ROME/PAISLEY, February 22, 2007 ( – In comments preceding the upcoming international congress, “Conscience in Support of the Right to Life,” the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life said Britain is poised to overturn centuries of legal development in human rights.

  Bishop Elio Sgreccia told reporters the provisions of the Equality Act that claim to defend human rights, are a “violation of liberty.” The Equality Act’s Sexual Orientation Regulations will make it illegal to deny goods or services based on sexual orientation, including adoption of children.

“I think that conscientious objection is fully justified and I would be surprised if a nation, such as Great Britain, usually considered as the homeland of fundamental liberties, would deny at least on one occasion recognition of this objection,” Bishop Sgreccia said.

  Zenit Catholic news agency quoted the bishop saying, “I hope this won’t take place or that, in any case, it will trigger an appeal before the Court of Human Rights.”

  Responding to the same legislation, the bishop of the Scottish diocese of Paisley wrote in a pastoral letter that there is “something sinister” happening in Britain. “For the first time in the modern era in this country, the Catholic Church is facing the prospect of being forced to act against her faith and against her convictions, or else face legal challenge and possible prosecution.”

  In a four-point manifesto, Bishop Tartaglia said the Church has no desire to unjustly discriminate against homosexual persons, but said that “no one has the right to be an adoptive parent,” and that Catholic adoption agencies base their decisions on the belief that children are best served by being adopted by “a mother and father who are married.”

  The bishop urged his flock to be prepared spiritually for persecution. “We are so much at home in contemporary society that we have probably not seen this coming.”

“Affluence, prosperity, aspiration and a pervasive spirit of relativism may tempt some to set aside the principles and values of the Catholic faith and life.” He warned Catholics, however, not to allow the Christian voice to be pushed “to the margins of society.”

“This unfortunate episode may well herald the beginning of a new and uncertain time for the Catholic Church in the United Kingdom.”
  Read related coverage:
  British PM ~ No Religious Exemption to Law Forcing Provision of Goods and Services to Gays

  Homosexual Activists Target UK Faith Schools, Adoption Policies