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Thursday, 15 June, 2000, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Sir Elton attacks Cardinal in gay row
Sir Elton John
Sir Elton John has accused the Cardinal of ignorance
Pop superstar Sir Elton John has publicly accused Cardinal Thomas Winning, Scotland's most senior Roman Catholic, of ignorance over homosexuality.

The openly gay singer claimed the Archbishop of Glasgow's "out-dated" views explained why people were deserting the Church.

Sir Elton's outburst followed an article by the Cardinal in last week's issue of The Spectator magazine, in which he stated "gay sex is wrong, because such behaviour is not good for the human person".

Cardinal Thomas Winning
Outspoken Cardinal Thomas Winning

The Cardinal also claimed: "Far from liberating a person, it ensnares them in a lifestyle that can never respond to the deepest longings of the human heart."

But Sir Elton, who has been in a relationship with partner David Furnish for several years, dismissed the views as "ill informed".

In a letter to this week's edition of The Spectator, the 50-year-old star said: "Cardinal Winning, and his ignorance, is totally representative of why people are turning away from the Church.

Astonished

"I am astonished to be told by Cardinal Winning that my sexuality is not good for me.

"He argues that homosexuality 'ensnares them in a lifestyle that can never respond to the deepest longings of the human heart'. From what practical perspective does he form this point of view?"

Sir Elton continued: "As a Cardinal and presumably a celibate and solitary individual, how can he possibly be in a position to judge?

"As a gay man I am perfectly happy with my sexuality and my life. I can honestly say that the deepest longings of my heart are satisfied.

"Like the Cardinal, I, too, have hope for our country. Over the years, Britain has proved itself to be a more tolerant and open-minded place to live.

Sir Elton John with partner David Furnish
Sir Elton John has been with partner David Furnish

"Gone is the outdated and ill-informed notion that homosexuality is a question of choice. The reality is that homosexuals have no choice - and no amount of hectoring or hypnosis can make us change."

A spokesman for Cardinal Winning said: "We would say that Sir Elton's views are eminently predictable. The Cardinal would not wish to dignify them with a response."

The Cardinal is no stranger to controversy and in recent months has come under fire for defending Section 28 - the law banning the promotion of homosexuality in schools.

He also caused outrage when he likened homosexuality to a "physical handicap" and has had run-ins with Prime Minister Tony Blair over his stance on abortion.

See also:

08 May 00 | Entertainment
Sir Elton gets the big picture
04 Apr 00 | Scotland
Cardinal comes under fire
24 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Sir Elton's Aida hits Broadway
23 Jan 00 | Scotland
Winning says sorry to gays
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