The following is adapted from a letter by the Rev. Dr. Charles R. Catto to the Observer which it declined to print, except

for 3 sentences which we have omitted.

The United Church of Canada is crying out for responsible Leadership. It is now acceptable for our ordained clergy to perform a ceremony of what is called "equal marriage" of any two persons regardless of sex. Recently on the Sunday following a United Church clergyperson 's church wedding of two lesbians, not one member of the congregation appeared at divine service. Many are now attending other churches; some are not attending any church. And all are searching their souls.

Jesus spoke about marriage with unmistakable clarity. "Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one' ? So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together let no one put asunder." For the Christian Church, marriage has always been a sacramental part of faith, and the traditional family was the bedrock of a healthy society. Same-sex marriage is heretical on Reformation grounds too. Now two of the pillars of the Reformation — the Lord­ship of Christ and the authority of the scriptures — are being flouted.

As a veteran of many years with the new churches of Africa, I must testify that our Third World brothers and sisters are incredulous at the direction the United Church has chosen. "You came here a century and a half ago to condemn our non-monogamous sins and teach us the righteousness of one man and one wife. Now you're trying to sell us this garbage!"

Please, Moderator and General Council, let us hear loud and clear through Head Office and through Conferences and Presbyteries the voice of our Master. To expect individual congregations to reinterpret our Lord's teaching represents not only a catastrophic abdication of leadership but an invitation to na­tional church mutiny. Our Father's house "shall be called a house of prayer" — a far cry from a place to sanctify marriage between two people of the same sex.

I repeat, please hear us.

Dr. Catto is the Founding Director of Frontiers Foundation/Operation Beaver, an aboriginal charity which has undertaken highly successful community projects in Canada and overseas.