Bishop of Shrewsbury: Same-sex marriage 'cannot change' Christian definition

The Right Reverend Mark Davies
Image caption The bishop said "legislation does not, and cannot, change our understanding of marriage"

A new law allowing same-sex marriage "cannot change" the Christian understanding of the word, the Bishop of Shrewsbury has said.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill received Royal Assent on 17 July.

The Right Reverend Mark Davies said the bill was a "seismic shift" away from the UK's Christian foundations.

The Roman Catholic bishop's comments were made in a letter to congregations in Cheshire, Shropshire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Derbyshire.

Under the terms of the bill, religious organisations will have to "opt in" to offering weddings.

In the letter, the bishop said that "in contrast to the new law, Christian teaching holds that marriage is a lifelong faithful union of a man and a woman, ordained by God for the creation of the family and future generations".

"The legislation does not, and cannot, change our understanding of marriage."

A spokesperson for gay rights charity Stonewall said that "our strong advice to any of the Bishop's parishioners who disagree with same-sex marriage is not to get married to someone of the same sex".

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