Archbishop Antonio Mennini, the 'Apostolic Nuncio' (Vatican representative), called for closer cooperation with other faiths as well as Christian denominations to put pressure on the Government over its plans to allow same-sex couples to marry, Britain's The Telegraph reported last week.
In an address to Catholic bishops from England and Wales, he echoed the recent comments of Pope Benedict who said the Church faced "powerful political and cultural currents" in favor of redefining marriage.
Mennini’s comments come after a series of high-level discussions between Muslim and Jewish leaders and Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone, who is investigating the possibility of legalizing gay marriage in the UK.
Opinion in the Jewish community is sharply divided. The Liberal and Reform synagogues have given their support to same-sex marriage but rabbis within the main United Synagogues have expressed opposition.
The Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, who is retiring, has so far resisted pressure to voice opposition to the proposal.
But Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet of Mill Hill United Synagogue in north London, who advises him on family issues, recently accused the Coalition of launching an “assault” on religious values.
Meanwhile Lord Singh, head of the Network of Sikh Organizations, recently said the proposed reforms represented “a sideways assault on religion”.
“It seems to me that, concerning the institution of marriage, and indeed the sanctity of human life, we have much in common with the position of the Jewish community, the Chief Rabbi and many of the more significant representatives of Islam.”
Speaking in London yesterday the second most senior active Catholic cleric in England and Wales, Archbishop Peter Smith, of Southwark, said there had been no “formal” contact with Jewish groups to form a united front on the subject of marriage.
But he said: “We will work with anyone who agrees with us that to redefine marriage is not a good thing for society and will lead to more confusion.”