In Australia, the Catholic bishops of Victoria have joined their counterparts elsewhere in the English-speaking world, by expending extraordinary energies refusing to strengthen marriage by extending it to all couples. Instead, they are sending out letters to the state’s Catholics this weekend, repeating the familiar, flawed arguments that opposite – sex marriage is needed to create new life.
How so? Children do not need marriage to be born – animal species reproduce entirely successfully without marriage. What children need, is a suitable environment in which to be raised, and a committed pair of loving same – sex parents can provide that every bit as well as opposite – sex couples.
Church leaders driving the push say it would undermine family life and damage society.
Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart and five other bishops will send out 80,000 letters this weekend asking parishioners to take a stand against proposed new laws and influence politicians’ vote.
One bishop said the push was about protecting traditional marriage, and while today’s discussion was on same-sex laws, “next it might be polygamy”.
The bishops argue the foundation of marriage is the sexual difference between men and women and the “potential for new life”.
“Without this there would be no human beings and no future,” the letter says.
“Bringing new human life into the world is founded on the loving union in difference of male and female. Children are best nurtured by a mother and father.”
via Herald Sun.
As elsewhere however, the Bishops are not speaking on behalf of the Catholics they claim to represent. Michael B Kelly, the author of “Seduced by Grace” and a prominent Catholic gay activist who is known internationally for his work in integrating Christian spirituality and gay experience. , is having none of it, and points out that it is the bishops who are out of step with Australian Catholics, and with the rest of the country’s population:
He says Victoria’s bishops are out of step with most of the Australian population and many Catholics.
“The Catholic hierarchy also has a lot of housekeeping of its own to do in terms of dealing with issues of sexuality and power before it starts trying to tell gay people or society as a whole what it should be doing,” he said.
The bishops say their position implies no lack of respect for people who identify as gay or lesbian, but Mr Kelly says that is disingenuous.
“I think to say on one hand that they respect and love gay and lesbian people, and on the other hand that our relationships potentially damage the institution of marriage and damage society, is really quite offensive,” he said.
And he has described as “limited” the letter’s assertion that gay marriage is not possible because it separates marriage from its grounding in biology.
“I think it is a very limited view. I mean marriage clearly means a lot of things in contemporary society,” he said.
“The church itself accepts that couples who are infertile or who are very elderly can still be married and have loving sex.
“If that is the case, why can’t two women who love one another marry have loving sex?
“This idea that somehow because this bit fits there in a man and a woman, that somehow that is what should determine how society constructs its legal recognition of marriage, I think is almost infantile.
“We have to look beyond that to the quality of relationships.”
-full report at abc
- Bishop Robinson: Sexual Acts, or Relationships?
- Bishops’ Letter Divides English Catholics
- Queer Self- Ministry: Transforming the Churches
- Lay Catholics Stand Up for Gay Marriage
- Gay Marriage: Listen to your head and heart, not the Bishops’ bluff and bluster
- BBC ‘Let us be first-class citizens’ Includes Catholic Pair.
- Senior London Cleric: “Embrace Gay Marriage” (Contrast with Catholic Bishops)
- How the Bishops’ Letter SHOULD Have Read.
- As Maine goes…? (commonwealmagazine.org)