The Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth, Dean of the St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow, has issued an open invitation on his blog for anyone who wants to be able to worship in a church “where gay people are welcomed and not marginalised” to worship at the cathedral at 10.30am tomorrow.
Kelvin says he and some of his colleagues have been approached by members of Catholic congregations who are upset at being told what to think by senior bishops and members of the clergy. On the blog Kelvin desribes the Catholic Church’s stance on same-sex marriage “hugely negative”.
He said: “Over the summer, I’ve been contacted a number of times by people who have asked me whether they can come to St Mary’s Cathedral on a one-off basis on Sunday. The people who have contacted me about this upcoming Sunday to ask if they can join us for a week are quite varied. Some are straight people and some are gay. Some are Roman Catholics who simply don’t want to be told what to think about this topic and who reject the current rhetoric coming from the Scottish Roman Catholic Church.”
“I believe in equal marriage and hope it comes soon. The trouble is, the rhetoric that is currently coming from the Roman Catholic Church on this topic can be hugely negative. We saw that on STV’s Scotland Tonight on Thursday evening when one of their spokesmen once again asserted that gay people live shorter lives than straight people and seemed to suggest that people needed to be ‘warned’ against being gay.
“I don’t think that it is unreasonable to describe it as homophobic and that is a word I almost never use. It is also my view that the attitude of the Scottish Roman Catholic Church’s hierarchy seems to be at odds with the membership of that Church whom I generally encounter as gentle, respectful, and kind.”
The Catholic Church, which has been hugely critical of plans by the Scottish Government to legalise same-sex marriage, is reported to have reacted with fury. The Church declined to comment on the Episcopal Church’s invitation to its congregation. But one senior source said: “This is an unprecedented attack on another Christian Church, using language which is incendiary and uncharitable, and it is probably best left for the hierarchy of the Episcopal Church to deal with.”
A spokeswoman for the Episcopal Church said Mr Holdsworth’s views were his own, and that he was not speaking for the Church as whole.