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cardinal_obrienStudents at the University of St Andrews will greet Cardinal O’Brien with a silent protest following his comments about marriage equality.

Cardinal O’Brien is due to give a sermon on the Meaning of Discipleship this weekend at the Scottish university.

His description of same-sex marriage equality as a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right” has angered students.

However, a student representative told that the silent protest would not disrupt the church service and would “respect” people’s right to practice their religion.

LGBT President and SRC Member for Sexualities Lea Duchemin told the silent protest had one specific aim: “The protest is not against Cardinal O’Brien’s visit, nor against the fact that he has been invited by the University, but in response to his offensive comments.

“Sallies Chapel is a place of worship above anything else and we must absolutely respect people’s right to practice their religion. A verbal statement wouldn’t be as powerful as a silent and peaceful one, which shows people’s involvement in the matter in a much more appropriate way.

“What we are aiming for is to make a statement, to show our presence, in a way that words cannot express. By all means we want to avoid hecklings, picketing and any other disruptive behaviour.”

The LGBT Society has also invited students to wear colourful shirts to the Mass in order to represent all the colours of the rainbow and churchgoers with a range of sexual orientations.

The university’s Student Representative Council voted unanimously to support the silent protest.

Although the council supports the Cardinal’s visit, it held that “the Cardinal’s words (describing gay marriage as an “aberration” and likening it to slavery and abortion), were offensive to the LGBT Community as well as to members of the general public” and said it would support the silent protest and “encourage all students to attend”.

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