Monday, 25 March 2013

"Vive Le Mariage!"

Anglo-French Rally: Braving the freezing cold of March in London, 2013
Sunday saw the biggest demonstration against 'same-sex marriage' yet witnessed in France, with 1.4 million French citizens descending upon Paris to protest against Francois Holland's proposal to redefine marriage in the country.

Ex-patriot French living in the United Kingdom, in solidarity with those protesting against the proposal in Paris, gathered to make their voices heard in Trafalgar Square in a three hour demonstration along with English supporters of 'Le Manif pour tous' ('The March for All') campaign. As many as 2,000 protesters were estimated to have been present at the foot of Nelson's column in support of traditional marriage as both English and French citizens railed against the French Government and British Government's plans to 'extend marriage' to include same-sex relationships.

 Parliament overshadows demonstrators at 'Le Manif pour Tous'
While the Trafalgar Square demonstration passed off without violence or major incident, the news from France was different today, with Life Site News today reporting that police fired tear gas at men, women and children protesting for the rights of all children to be given a natural mother and father, for the rights of public sector teachers not to have to teach this definition of marriage to children and for the rights of conscience to be upheld for all. Along the top steps of Nelson's Column stood children of the French mothers and fathers waving flags in defence of marriage.

The culture clash of the 21st century was evident in Trafalgar Square with a smaller group of counter-protesters jeering and attempting to drown out the voices of those speaking on the many anti-democratic and totalitarian outcomes expected if British and French 'same-sex marriage' proposals pass into law. But for the vocal crowd of pro-'gay marriage' supporters making chants of 'hypocrite', 'bigots' and 'your hate kills', the event was a loud if good-natured affair, as speakers from England and France encouraged those gathered to protest against the legislation to shout 'Vive le mariage' so that David Cameron and Parliament would hear. Despite freezing temperatures, the crowd gathered to protest against the proposals listened to talks from different speakers, including Alan Craig of Anglican Mainstream, one of the few Church organisations that have become involved in the joint French-English demonstration campaign.

1.4 million French citizens demonstrate against same-sex marriage in Paris
There was, sadly, no official representation that I could see from the Catholic Church. This was an excellent opportunity for the Catholic Church in England and Wales to gather momentum in the continuing campaign against the redefinition of marriage.

I found it sad that this initiative, which surely involves at least a small contingent of French and British Catholics, has received as yet no public backing from either the Hierarchy of the Catholic Church or that of the Anglican Church. There is popular sentiment against this proposal, so why is the Catholic Church not tapping into the natural feelings of the majority of British people against it and supporting such a demonstration publicly?

Speakers at the demonstration in London urged protestors on to join other 'manifestations' that will take place in the year and to keep fighting in defence of marriage, an institution which, if redefined in such a radical way, will surely crumble in the decades to come. Protesters were urged to fight now, since once the proposal becomes law, it will surely not be long before all protest against it will be silenced under the force of law. Already, in France, tear gas was used on those demonstrating. What will it be like for those who fight in defence of marriage once it is redefined?

The demonstration on Sunday had me thinking of the two crowds of Holy Week, for there were two crowds at the 'manifestation' in London. On Passion Sunday, we recalled those who lauded and honoured Jesus as He rode into Jerusalem upon a donkey, greeted by many as the Messiah and the long awaited King of Israel. We are led to believe that this was not the same crowd that called out 'Crucify him!' in His Bitter Passion. Two crowds swarmed at Trafalgar Square, one crowd defending Truth and honouring marriage in defence of family and children.

The other crowd, the crowd who are listened to by the modern day Pontius Pilates that fill Parliament mocked and jeered those standing up in defence of the one institution that guarantees the next generation to be raised in stability and with both maternal and paternal love. Those who seek the destruction, redefinition and crucifixion of marriage may very well win in England, France and all of Europe. Let not those in authority in the Catholic Church go down in history as those who, like our politicians, will declare themselves to be 'innocent of the blood of this man, as He who made man and woman for a sacred union for their temporal and spiritual welfare - and that of their children - is crucified once more in our times! We hear in the Gospel that children cried out 'Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord' as Christ rode triumphantly into Jersusalem on a donkey. Children cried out in defence of marriage on Sunday, in France and in England and for their cries were, along with adults, subjected to tear gas from the French State.

Shocked? Well, why are we not doing something about it?! What a disgusting vision of the state of things to come! What a bleak future for children and what a terrible sign this is for the World, when tear gas is used on people by their own Government, protesting against a war not on some foreign nation, but on marriage, family life and even children and the environment in which they flourish! This is not a march against a war but a march against a government proposal that is not yet even law - a proposal that had, in neither France, nor England, no popular mandate! It is children, their future, their safety, their education, even the livelihoods of their parents that are at stake now in this battle over the definition of marriage - a battle started not by the Church, or the populace, or by even homosexuals - but by the State itself. Let us fight and campaign for marriage. Long live marriage! Vive le mariage! Viva Christo Rey!

Oh and by the way, just because people are on opposing sides of the 'debate' on marriage does not mean that they have to be totally at emnity. A fellow protester against the redefinition of marriage and I took one of the pro-'gay marriage' for a drink at a nearby pub afterwards. We got on well and discussed some of the issues. Turned out the guy was a former Mormon who had been married and had had children but now wants to marry his male partner. He came all the way from Norfolk to protest against the protest, so it goes to show the strength of feelings that some have in terms of the legislation, for and against. So while one commenter on my blog is suggesting that people defending marriage from redefinition are narrow minded haters of homosexuals, I thought I'd just nip that one in the bud. He was a nice guy, pray for him.


BJC said...

This will make you laugh. Its an article by Brendan O'Neil on 'gay penguins' etc

Frederick Oakeley said...

Long live marriage. Not an institution threatened by gays who want to declare life long fidelity but by heterosexuals who see it as a secular convenience. Just get a sense of proportion. I uphold the Church's teaching on marriage but attacking all who are trying to make some sense of our disordered society and calling them names is neither Christian not rational.

blondpidge said...

To be fair Laurence, Manif pour Tous only began to seriously publicise this at the beginning of last week. Many of us had existing commitments.

Also I remember having a discussion as to whether or not we ought to tap into this and organise similar. My feelings are very strongly in favour, but there are Catholics who believe that actually a march could backfire. Their reasoning is that the English mentality in terms of marches is different and the support might not be there, drawing parallels with the March for Life.

Yes, I think widescale support could be marshalled but where the French have been successful is that they have managed to harness gay, Marxist and atheist support all in defence of marriage. Would that happen in the UK? A fringe Catholic event may not have the same effect.

Also bear in mind the French are very attached to their "code civile" which is being ripped up. Gay marriage is against their constitution which is why they are so outraged.

I'm not saying that we couldn't or shouldn't mobilise but that the French political situation is very different. Plus the French love a good march. They go out on the streets at the drop of a hat. It's in their blood!

pelerin said...

Your link to the article in the Independant was interesting although a quick glance at the comments gives an idea of the readership. At least they mentioned the Trafalgar Square demo unlike the Daily Mail who only had a very small piece about the violence in the Paris demo.

I had intended to go to London this time but the cold got to me and as it was not a march I had to give it a miss. The weather for the demo in Paris in January was just as cold but walking did eventually bring the circulation back!

I agree it is a pity that such a demo here has not been officially supported by the Church. In France even the Primate of the Gauls has taken part in similar demos along with an Islamic leader. One could imagine a delegation of English Bishops approaching No 10 lead by Archbishop Nichols - well we can all have dreams!

Regarding the Paris demo this time and the violence. You don't mess with the CRS - the Riot Squad. I've seen them in action. In January because everyone behaved themselves the watching CRS were no problem. However this time the people were told they would not be allowed on the Champs Elysee and some went against this order resulting in the CRS using tear gas and batons. Nasty but they were doing what they were told to do.

I understand that the dynamic organiser is not giving up even though the law allowing SSM will be presented in the Senat in April. She really is a remarkable woman.

SzukmV said...

I nearly didn't go because of the cold, but it was worth it. I was surprised by the size of the anti-marriage protesters and felt somewhat intimidated. Their anti-democratic behaviour undermined their case. If those who support true marriage are shouted down now, what will happen when the law is on the side of those who seek to destroy marriage? Accusations of bigotry and homophobia become a self-fulfilling prophecy. What have we come to when supporting true marriage becomes a hate crime?

A year ago the Archbishops of Westminster and Southwark encouraged Catholics to sign the C4M petition, but now there appears to be silence. It seems parishes were reluctant to advertise the rally. But why?

Lynda said...

Thank God for all those who lead us in these necessary demonstrations against evil.

pelerin said...

blondpidge is right in saying that we have a different mentality in Britain for demos. I think that here we tend to associate them with students, animal rights supporters and EDL supporters. The French do indeed love their civil code and it was an eye opener for me in January when I heard the chants of those who were defending mariage for this reason and not for a religious reason.

There were indeed many different kinds of supporters of true mariage and not just Catholic families and even the National Front were present in January. However even such a wide variety does not stop the French press from usually linking disparagingly such demos with 'integristes' and 'traddies.' They have to find someone to 'blame'.

Lazarus said...

There have been anti-SSM demonstrations in Scotland: eg

Admittedly, they have been relatively small and no one's yet attempted a march. (When the pro-SSM side tried one in Edinburgh, turnout was pitiful.) I think I agree with Caroline: street protests are a French thing!

On creating a broad coalition, Muslims and evangelical Protestants have been heavily involved in the Scottish campaign. As to why the French have managed to get non-religious support whilst in the UK, apart from some isolated commentators such as Brendan O'Neill, we haven't, I suspect the difference is to do with the nature of left wing politics in the two countries: much more cerebral and Marxist in France; much more opportunistic and emotional here. (SSM doesn't make sense -but why should that get in the way of a nice do?)

Unknown said...

I think it's all rather a grand opportunity for evangelisation. Don't u?

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