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George Galloway, MP
"Cardinal Winning should have known the atmosphere it would have created"
 real 28k

Sunday, 23 January, 2000, 18:44 GMT
Winning says sorry to gays

The executive have plans to repeal Section 28

The leader of Scotland's Roman Catholics has apologised to the gay community following reports claiming he made comparisons between the homosexual lobby and Nazis.

Cardinal Winning expressed regret for any offence which may have been taken from a speech he made recently in Malta.

The word Nazi does not appear at any point in my address and I believe it would be inappropriate, offensive and fatuous to compare the current debate to what happened in Germany in the war years
Cardinal Thomas Winning
The wide reporting of the address comes as a debate rages over the Scottish Executive's plans to repeal Section 28 - the law which bans the promotion of homosexuality in the classroom.

A high-profile campaign was launched this week by a group which supports retention of the clause.

It is being funded by Scottish businessman Brian Souter and supported by Cardinal Winning and the Scottish School Boards Association.

Cardinal Winning said on Sunday: "I appreciate that the current debate over Section 28 involves a dilemma for many people in Scotland.

"While trying to respect the rights of homosexual people to fair treatment, at the same time there is a genuine concern among two-thirds of those surveyed that a homosexual lifestyle should not be promoted in schools.

'Loving the sinner'

"In presenting the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church on this issue I constantly return to the principle of loving the sinner while rejecting the sin.

"Unfortunately, this distinction is rarely reported, with certain sections of the press preferring lurid headlines.

I've been a priest for 30 years, but I've been gay for longer
Fr Gordon Brown
"I am therefore shocked and saddened by the way in which certain Sunday newspapers have deliberately misinterpreted and misrepresented me.

"The suggestion that I compared homosexual activists to Nazis is utterly false.

"The word Nazi does not appear at any point in my address and I believe it would be inappropriate, offensive and fatuous to compare the current debate to what happened in Germany in the war years."

Nevertheless, Cardinal Winning remains under fire from several quarters - including politicians and his own clergy.

Cardinal Thomas Winning Cardinal Winning: Apologised
Father Gordon Brown, 61, who heads a small parish in Edinburgh, believes his boss is "wrong".

He went on to say that a network of gay priests had been set up to offer each other support.

"I've been a priest for 30 years, but I've been gay for longer.

"I'd have to tell Cardinal Winning he is wrong. When Cardinal Winning referred to it as a perversion, I thought: 'Enough is enough'.

"There are some who are fairly militant by nature, and want to publicise the stance, but until today, I've not been so brave.

'Inner peace'

"I'm still scared to have taken this step. But somewhere inside me I feel an inner peace."

The priest, who worked in a series of parishes in Edinburgh and the east of Scotland, stressed he was celibate.

"I don't have a partner and I lead a celibate life, but there's a major part of me that has had to be shelved."

Meanwhile, two Sunday newspaper opinion polls showed support for retention of the clause.

Gay campaigners Gay campaigners want to see the clause go
An ICM poll for Scotland on Sunday, revealed 64% of people questioned said they opposed repealing the law.

But a poll carried out by Mori Scotland for the Sunday Herald showed a more complex picture.

While 60% of those polled backed keeping the clause, 59% said children should be taught that homosexuality is neither right nor wrong and should be tolerated as a lifestyle.

And a majority of Scots did not back the view of Cardinal Winning that homosexual relationships were a "perversion".

A total of 60% disagreed, while among the Catholics polled the figure was 62%.

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See also:
22 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Dewar refuses showdown with Souter
21 Jan 00 |  Scotland
'Little support' for gay rule repeal
20 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Minister's new Section 28 promise
19 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Section 28: Church leaders
19 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Section 28: A parent's view
19 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Section 28: Education Minister Sam Galbraith
19 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Section 28: A gay man's view
19 Jan 00 |  Scotland
PR firm hit by Section 28 'hoax'
20 Jan 00 |  Scotland
When gay became a four-letter word

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