News by email Donate


UK News

Andy Burnham: I lost my faith because of Church's 'obsession with sexuality'

by Antony Bushfield

The MP said he started to fall away from the Church following the death of Pope John Paul II.

He told the Huffington Post: "I'm Catholic by upbringing, but I'm not particularly religious now.

"But because of my background, when I voted it always caused a kind of tension in terms of people I know, friends, family, so I do find it fairly hurtful when people accuse me of lacking commitment [to gay rights - he once voted for an amendment seeking to put a named father on IVF registrations]."

He said the Catholic Church's approach to issues like gay rights and contraception left him disillusioned with his faith.

"I find that quite difficult because if I think of the church of my youth, and the priests that I knew, the feeling and overriding mood was quite forgiving really, quite humane, humorous, irreverent, even the priests.

"That's my memory of the church that I grew up with. And it seemed at some point with the change of Popes to click into a more judgemental mode and became much more obsessed with sexuality and issues related to sexual behaviour. And in that period, I drifted more and more away and Ratzinger [Pope Benedict XVI] said he wanted a 'smaller, purer' church, which I found quite terrifying actually.

"I did feel that those years were difficult ones but I have high hopes for the new Pope. A humble man with great warmth and a fantastic character. When the vote happened in Ireland recently [the gay marriage referendum] I did hope that it might be a moment for him to move the church on. I still live in hope."

He adds: "Catholic social teaching underpins my politics, we did have to read the catechism at school but it is powerful and strong and right".

He said his children attend a Catholic school because he still believes "in the values and the grounding it gives you".

Andy Burnham faces challenges from Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall and Jeremy Corbyn for leadership of the Labour Party.

In a YouGov poll for The Times newspaper on Monday, Jeremy Corbyn was found to have the support of 53 percent of those currently eligible to vote in the leadership contest.

Andy Burnham was second, with the support of 21 percent of those eligible to vote.

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email