Everything that I've been reading about Bishop Frederick Henry of Calgary indicates that he is a gutsy, smart bishop who is not afraid to stand up for the truth, regardless of the cost. A news piece from LifeSiteNews.com further confirms that perception:
OTTAWA, June 8, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In the House of Commons committee hearings on the same-sex ‘marriage’ Bill C-38 Monday, Calgary Bishop Fred Henry was asked by Liberal MP Anita Neville for suggestions on possible action by government on the issue.
Neville, who has voted in support of homosexual marriage asked, “how do you see some potential reconciliation of the government's desire to honour the individual human rights of all Canadians with your own faith-based beliefs?”
Bishop Henry, a man very attuned to human suffering proposed a solution which, while being consistent with Catholic teaching, would also accommodate the basic needs of any adults in interdependent relationships. Thus homosexual couples would fall under this category of interdependent relationships along with, for instance, two adult siblings who live together with one looking after another with a disability. His basic message: no gay ‘marriage’, no civil unions, but adult interdependent relationships.
Bishop Henry responded, “Well, I think there are a number of things that could be done. One, I would hope that the government would decide to define the traditional understanding of marriage as a union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others and not go in the direction of talking about some kind of analogous marriage such as civil unions, but look for those social rights deemed to be denied to members of the gay and lesbian community under an umbrella such as adult-interdependent relationships.”
The Bishop explained, “I think that desexualizes it and it puts it within a context where it also take into account, say, my niece who is currently committed to sacrificing her own life to look after grandma. Inheritance rights ought to be accorded to her, visiting rights when she goes to the hospital and so on ought to be acknowledged, and she shouldn't be barred from doing so.”
Neville responded curtly rejecting the Bishop’s proposal: “Basically I hear that as no reconciliation between . . .” Sensing her gist, Bishop Henry cut in saying, “You're right. If you're asking me to accept a watered-down understanding of the institution of marriage, that's not going to happen.”
In a recent column in The Calgary Sun, Bishop Henry wrote:
There are many kinds of friendship open to all, but that particular kind of friendship that is marriage, involves gender complementarity and the life-creating potential that can be found only in the relationship between a man and a woman.
To construe anything else as similar to marriage or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and the family is to confront an insurmountable biological impossibility. A marriage is a union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others.
I fear that things are going to get even tougher for the good bishop, who acknowledges that he has received death threats due to his strong public stance on this matter. Say a prayer for Bishop Henry and all Catholic bishops as they battle the culture of death and lies. They need our prayers and our thanks and our support.