ZIMBABWEAN clerics yesterday lauded a senior British Catholic for denouncing gay marriage, saying the clergyman is among rare church leaders from the West who have seen the light. The clergymen, drawn from various churches, said what Cardinal Keith O'Brien has done demonstrates that people abhorring gay marriages were not doing it as a publicity stunt, but because it was against biblical principles.
Cardinal O'Brien condemned gay marriage as an "aberration", likening it to slavery and abortion.
The remarks by the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland caused a storm in the Sunday Telegraph -- and on Radio 4's Today programme -- about gay marriage.
The UK's coalition government will hold a public consultation, later this month, on introducing civil gay marriages.
Scotland has held separate consultations on the issue and has stated it is "inclined" to introduce gay marriage.
Cardinal O'Brien said countries which legalise gay marriages are "shaming themselves" by going against the "natural law," and should not consider their actions "progress".
The Cardinal claimed same-sex unions were the "thin end of the wedge" and said it was "time to call a halt now to what you may call progress in society".
He said "society would be degenerating even further than it has already degenerated into immorality" if gay couples were given the right to marry.
Dr Noah Pashapa, Bishop of Life and Liberty Churches International, yesterday likened Cardinal O'Brien's comments as a revelation.
"He is like Martin Luther who had a revelation and has been inspired to get the truth," said Dr Pashapa.
Reverend Godwin Chitsinde, of Spoken Word Ministries, said it was refreshing to hear one of their own condemning gay marriages.
"Gay marriage is biblically, morally and socially wrong. We welcome what Cardinal O'Brien has said . . . it's quite encouraging," he said.
Pastor Abel Matimbe of End Time Message said: "We wish we could work with such progressive minds like him. Gay marriage is the worst kind of sin one can think of."
President Mugabe has described homosexuals as worse than "pigs and dogs."
In a series of comments, Cardinal O'Brien told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that if same-sex marriages were legalised, "further aberrations would take place and society would be degenerating even further than it already has into immorality."
The interview, conducted by John Humphries, followed an article Cardinal O'Brien wrote for the Sunday Telegraph, in which he likened gay marriage to slavery.
He wrote: "Imagine for a moment that the Government had decided to legalise slavery but assured us that 'no one will be forced to keep a slave'.
"Would such worthless assurances calm our fury? Would they justify dismantling a fundamental human right? Or would they simply amount to weasel words masking a great wrong?"
Cardinal O'Brien defended his comments, saying: "I think it's a very, very good example of what might happen on our own country in the present time."