Friday, 30 March 2012

Victorian Bishops Pastoral Letter on Same Sex Marriage***updated

The bishops of Victoria have released a Pastoral Letter against same sex marriage legislation.  Have a read then go do the survey referred to!

"Dear Brothers & Sisters

We Australians live in a democracy which rightly places great value on human rights and protecting others from unjust discrimination.

We Catholics also believe deeply that God loves human beings very much. He especially loves those who are wounded and suffering. God loves each of us so much despite the fact that we are all sinners, make mistakes and often do not live up to our responsibilities.

The Church takes seriously that we must live the Gospel itself to be a credible witness to others. Deeply aware of Christ’s mission of compassion and justice - the Church cannot ignore the responsibility to speak the truth in love. Sometimes reminding people about the truth of the human person is one such task for all of us.

Some now seek to alter the very nature of the human person through legislation. Our Australian society is now at a critical turning point where truth is at stake.

We speak of current debates about the nature of marriage in our public life. Often it seems as if this matter is simply about human rights and the removal of discrimination. But in addition to ‘human rights’ there are also ‘human responsibilities’.

We are all blessed by God with the gift of our sexuality. The design itself comes from the Creator of Life. We all have a responsibility to follow that design.

The Church firmly believes that marriage is founded on the wonderful fact of sexual difference and its potential for new life. Without this there would be no human beings and no future. 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.

As one theologian has put it eloquently: “The God of love can be present in every true love. But ‘gay marriage’ is impossible because it attempts to cut loose marriage from its grounding in our biological life. If we do that, we deny our humanity.”

This will be a ’hard saying’ for some. It in no way implies that the Church accepts discrimination against other’s human rights. Nor does it mean we fail to understand the complex nature of human sexual identity and desire. It implies no lack of respect for people who identify as ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’. As Cardinal Francis George of Chicago recently pointed out: ‘… we all have friends or family members who are gay and lesbian… these are people we know and love and are part of our families.’

However as fellow citizens our concern is for the future of our whole society. We ask you to seriously reflect and pray about the ramifications for current and future generations, of legislation which completely redefines marriage.

A grave mistake will be made if such legislation is enacted. The Government cannot redefine the natural
institution of marriage, a union between a man and a woman. The Government can regulate marriage, but this natural institution existed long before there were any governments. It cannot be changed at will.

The argument that same sex marriage supports marriage is wrong. The natural institution will not only be
changed, it will be re-defined absolutely. It will become something different. Such a re-definition will undermine rather than support marriage.

Catholics, as responsible citizens of the Commonwealth of Australia, have a duty to remind their political representatives that much is at stake for the common good in this debate. We urge you to exercise that right and make direct representation to your Members of Parliament.

We encourage you to respond to the on-line survey set up by the Federal Government at their website:
www.aph.gov.au/marriage. The closing date for responses is Friday, 20 April 2012. The survey contains three statements with which you can agree or disagree. It then asks if you support the proposed changes to the two separate Bills, to which you answer yes or no. If you choose you can simply answer these few questions in less than one minute. The survey also provides space (maximum of 250 words) for you to explain your views. Some points that you might like to consider including are set out at www.cam.org.au/lifemarriagefamily/

Our Australian society will flourish only if the true meaning of marriage is preserved for future generations.

With every blessing.

Most Reverend Denis Hart DD Archbishop of Melbourne 
Most Reverend Peter Connors DD Bishop of Ballarat
Most Reverend Christopher Prowse DD Bishop of Sale
Most Reverend Leslie Tomlinson DD Bishop of Sandhurst
Most Reverend Peter Elliott DD Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Melbourne
Most Reverend Vincent Long DD Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Melbourne

**The Sydney response

And in an interesting contrast of styles, where the Victorian bishops have firmly stated their position, and urged the laity to engage, suggesting a nice practical thing that they can do, Cardinal Pell has today released his own submission to the Senate Inquiry on the matter.

And in the secular media the attacks begin...

Sadly, the secular media reaction is predictably summed up in the headline "Gay Catholic Activist Dismayed at Church Campaign".

And who is this allegedly 'catholic' activist?  One Michael Bernard Kelly, spokesman for the gay 'Catholic' activist group Rainbow Sash.

So here's my suggestion to the bishops: excommunicate anyone who belongs to this organisation for their attacks on the bishops today and their advocacy of positions contrary to Church teaching...

***PS And while you're at it, perhaps Cardinal Pell might finally act on  ex-NSW Premier Kristina Keneally MP, following her performance on the ABC News tonight on top of her past voting and leadership record on moral issues...

&&&&Archbishop Wilson of Adelaide is also in the process of writing to parishioners inviting them to respond to the Senate Inquiry.

7 comments:

Martin S. said...

Excellent.

A Canberra Observer said...

This is a great initiative in Melbourne but I have 2 questions.

Why did they wait until it is virtually too late for the due date for submissions?

Why hasn't the blasted ACBC done something in concert and in every individual diocese? Frankly they as a collective body are incompetent.

HolyCatholicApostoli said...

You may wish to vote in support of the Church in this online poll.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/national/catholic-church-mounts-national-campaign-against-gay-marriage/story-e6frea8c-1226314041252

A Canberra Observer said...

The Adelaide Advertiser story describes Kristina Kennealy as a 'devout Catholic'. I am sick of these high profile, trendy, shallow, liberals who present themselves as Catholics but who want to turn society into a sewer and a charnel house.

John Fisher said...

The government has no right to regulate marriage. The government has no power to marry any baptised person. The Church does not require government permission to marry anyone.
In amny countries there is no "civil" marriage and this mess we have is caused by the government getting invloved in an area it has no authority to be involved in. Until our bishops grasp that then the problems will mount. The Church assenting to applying for "civil celebrant" licences for its clergy blurs distinctions. Let each male anf female marry as they wish. Let the state make arrangments regarding properety etc. Let their be no civil marriage. Just contracts like prenuptila agreements.
The government should not isuue ANY celebramnt licences!

Kate said...

John - On what basis do you make this interesting claim?

Standard Catholic teaching, following St Thomas Aquinas and affirmed by a string of recent popes, is that the State not only has a right but a positive duty to make laws to uphold the common good and protect it, of which marriage is a clear example.

That is why the Church recognises non-Catholic marriages as valid in so far as they reflect the natural law.

The problem is surely not that the state makes laws, but when it mkaes bad ones and fails in its duty?

Anonymous said...

Please everyone read Romans 1:26-30 then Rom.2:1-16