Bishop Vincent’s pastoral letter on the same-sex marriage postal survey

13 September 2017
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv.

Pastoral letter on the same-sex marriage postal survey

 

Dear sisters and brothers,

As I write to you, the national debate on same-sex civil marriage is in full swing. It is an issue that many feel passionate about and hence, it has potential to polarise the community. I appeal to all Catholics in the Diocese of Parramatta to conduct this dialogue with a deep sense of respect for all concerned, and for the opinion and decision that each person is free to make.

It is important to remember from the very outset that the postal survey is about whether or not Australians want the legal definition of civil marriage changed to include same-sex couples. It is not a referendum on sacramental marriage as understood by the Catholic Church.

Many years ago, divorce was legalised in Australia; but this change did not alter the law of the Church. Therefore, whatever the outcome of the survey or the eventual legislation by the government, the Church will continue to hold that marriage is a natural institution established by God to be a permanent union between one man and one woman, directed both to mutual companionship and to the formation of a family in which children are born and nurtured.

For many Catholics, the issue of same-sex marriage is not simply theoretical but deeply personal. These may be same-sex attracted people themselves or that may be the case with their relatives and friends. In such cases, they are torn between their love for the Church and their love for their same-sex attracted child, grandchild, sibling, cousin, friend or neighbour.

As your bishop, I wish to reiterate the commitment I made at my installation: “I am committed to make the church in Parramatta the house for all peoples, a church where there is less an experience of exclusion but more an encounter of radical love, inclusiveness and solidarity.” As a community of disciples, we seek to accommodate, accompany and care for one another irrespective of sexual orientation, marital status and situation.

I invite all Catholics in our Diocese to exercise our responsibility as citizens to engage in this community discernment. It should not be a matter of a simple answer Yes or No to the postal survey. It should be an opportunity for us to witness to our deep commitment to the ideal of Christian marriage. But it should also be an opportunity for us to listen to what the Spirit is saying through the signs of the times.

Throughout much of history, our gay and lesbian (or LGBTI) brothers and sisters have often not been treated with respect, sensitivity and compassion. Regrettably, the Church has not always been a place where they have felt welcomed, accepted and loved. Thus, regardless of the outcome of the survey, we must commit ourselves to the task of reaching out to our LGBTI brothers and sisters, affirming their dignity and accompanying them on our common journey towards the fullness of life and love in God.

Let us pray, discern and act with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Catholics, in keeping with the tradition of the Church, are asked to exercise their consciences, ensuring that they are informed as they come to exercise their democratic rights in the coming postal survey.

Yours sincerely in Christ,

Most Rev Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv
Bishop of Parramatta

13 September A.D. 2017, Memorial of St John Chrysostom

Click here to download: Pastoral Letter on the same-sex marriage postal survey 13.09.2017

  • lukeweyland

    Very accurate, balanced welcoming loving and accepting

  • AussieCatholic

    There will not be many more bigger occasions during your time as a Bishop to stand up with conviction and clarity for the Catholic faith, and you have put out this ambiguous guidance. Bishop with the greatest of respect you have let the faithful down here. You’ve had plenty of time to consider what needs to be written, and you have produced something which is as weak as water. To say I am disappointed is an understatement. Let’s make it very clear, It is a mortal sin for Catholics to support and vote for same sex marriage. This is just another example of the flock being lead astray by weak leadership, lacking in moral courage. I’ll be praying for you bishop, and the faithful who you lead.

  • Bernie

    Couldn’t agree with you more Marcel White. While we were hoping for a leader who would lead us into spiritual battle, we’ve gotten a Bishop’s statement that basically leads his sheep into mortal sin.

    Your Grace, how can you not see the gravity of your statement?! Do you not realise that you will personally be held responsible for your sheep when you stand before God? May He have mercy on your soul when that time comes. Please change your errors before it comes to that!

    We are looking for strong direction, not smoke and mirrors.

    Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pray for us and Bishop Long!

  • littlest soul

    I second that.

  • Damian

    Thank you Bishop Vincent.
    There is hope for all of us when our leaders acknowledge that the most fundamental Gospel teaching is that of Love for our fellow brothers and sisters. I wonder if some of us are not looking for guidance from our leaders, but rather for affirmation of our existing views? I hope we can all take the time to reflect upon your considered and compassionate words.

  • @johngthomas

    I wonder how many Catholics who oppose allowing other Australians the legal right to same sex marriage would also like to remove their fellow citizens’ legal right to no fault divorce. I wonder how many would like to see the mortal sin of homosexual activity reinstated as a criminal offence. After all, in recent years the Vatican opposed efforts in the UN for a universal ban on the criminalisation of homosexual activity. Adultery is also a grave sin. Should that too be made illegal!? What about other grave sins? Should we place a legal ban on contraception too? I hope Catholics don’t try to impose their religious law on their fellow Australians. Catholics need to remember that this postal survey about same-sex marriage is not about Church law. It’s about Australian law. Same-sex couples won’t start marrying in Catholic churches. Relax, and vote yes for your fellow Australians. This won’t effect the sacrament of marriage in any way.

  • Damian

    Wow. Everything I wanted to say on the topic, minus the vitriol. Well said.

  • Rod Thomson Fms

    Well, actually, he just outlined Catholic theology based on the Gospel. His focus is on the person, rather than the temptation to pharisaism. Plain, good Catholic moral theology, taught with a pastoral focus. He’s put the ball in your court, while clearly outlining Catholic teaching on marriage. He didn’t outline the bigger implications of how a change in law might play out with thin-edge-of-the-wedge social engineering possible future agenda, which is extremely scary, yes, but one step at a time. Basically, if the ‘no’ vote wins, the ‘yes’ vote will probably win at some stage down the line, eventually. BUT, the early church held the line in their communities on all sorts of agenda that was counter-cultural. The church in our time is called to do the same. The church’s stance was culture changing … eventually. Our witness will again be in the goodness of our living, and culture will catch up … , to the health, wholeness and sanctity of our living. Or, we will discover some totally left-field, Spirit-led solution, that manifests itself as a way forward for both the church and society … in 20, 50 or 100 years time perhaps. In any case. his job was NOT to implore a No vote. His job is to empower you, citizen, in the political process. We believe that Catholic teaching has much to offer the whole of society, but Catholics, also, have always to learn and discern what the Spirit is saying to us in and through the culture. Some of what culture says leads to desolation, some leads to consolation. Our task, in ‘sensus fidelium’ is to listen and discern through the mess to ‘what the Spirit is saying to the churches’. God bless.

  • Peter

    I thought that this was a nice letter.

    I am amused at the amount of anger in the comments (although, at the same time, I am not surprised). These people arguing about mortal sins seem to have missed the point of the Bishop’s letter and the plebiscite in general. If you don’t want gay marriage, vote no. However, you are not the gatekeeper of Catholicism and cannot say who is or is not being a good Catholic. If we have a Pope who compels us to withhold judgment from each other, a Bishop who urges us to thoughtfully discern arguments and Christ who asks us to love one another, comments urging the Bishop to gear up for spiritual war are quite obviously antiquated and out of place.

    Personally, I do not think that secular Australia defining marriage in any which way will affect the Catholic church much. It is not up to the people of a single religion to stop people who do not share the same beliefs from achieving equality. A Catholic man will not marry a man, and a Catholic woman will not marry a woman. And, even if they do, I do not think that this warrants Bernie and Marcel heralding the end of the world as we know it.

  • Robert Bautista

    What a pathetic response. How can we expect Catholics to take courage and live the Faith boldly in the public sphere, when our own bishop is too cowardly to clearly and unapologetically state the timeless Catholic teaching on marriage? Marriage is the lifelong union of a man and a woman ordered to raising children. There can be no question for Catholics – the only morally permissible vote on changing marriage is “no”. May God have mercy on us for our many sins, as he has clearly given us the “leader” we deserve.

  • Marty Fleming

    The Bishop’s letter was a pastor’s advice to a complex question. Marriage is a state institution first and it has been regulated by the state since Napoleon. On the Continent you get married in the Town Hall civilly before you can go to a church to be married in a Catholic ceremony – a step away in the context of a Catholic Sacrament. In the UK a Catholic Marriage in a RC Church requires that you employ a State registrar to be present to sign the paperwork and witnessing to the ceremony. In Australia, RC priests are registered by the attorney General’s Dept to register any marriage they Bless in a Catholic Ceremony. It is the priests’ authority to act as celebrants in a marriage, given to them by the Federal Government which counts. The Faith dimension and sacrament of Marriage is a step away from this original Registration by the state. In the early church people came to the church door for a Blessing by the bishop. The theology of Catholic Marriage sees the Sacrament given by each of the parties to each other by virtue of their baptism. So Marcel it is useful to comment from the facts not just an emotional reaction as you have.

  • Jun Dulawan

    Well said Peter. Thank you
    for articulating so well what I was thinking but coul not express it the way you do. We got a very good bishop.
    Juan

  • peter confeggi

    A beautiful, sensitive and courageous statement.

    I am sure it will be a comfort to many gay and lesbian people in our congregations,to same sex couples who bring their children to the waters of baptism and entrust their children to our Catholic schools and to the many parents I have met over the years who have lovingly struggled to include their gay and lesbian children – and often their partners- in their families.

    Thank you bishop Vincent!

  • Squinty Wrinkles

    It is simply false that “it is a mortal sin for Catholics to support and vote for same sex marriage”. You might feel led by the Spirit to vote against it; do so. But do not state the lie that it is a mortal sin for those Catholics who feel differently to vote as the Spirit leads them.

  • Liturgist

    You might like to re-read what the Bishop has said, which clearly and unapologetically states the timeless Catholic teaching on marriage: “whatever the outcome of the survey or the eventual legislation by the government, the Church will continue to hold that marriage is a natural institution established by God to be a permanent union between one man and one woman, directed both to mutual companionship and to the formation of a family in which children are born and nurtured.” He has also clearly stated Catholic teaching to love one another, treating each person with respect, dignity and compassion, neither judging nor condemning.

  • josephine

    Dear Bishop Vincent, Thank you, God Bless , you are in m thoughts always, Jo.

  • Bernie

    I’m sorry that you have been so poorly catechised in your life. What ‘spirit’ could lead you to do something against God’s law and against the Catholic Church’s teachings? Certainly not the Holy Spirit. Perhaps the spirit otherwise known as the father of all lies.

  • Moussa Taouk

    Logical deduction – Argument from Children
    1. The making (creation) and raising (nurturing) of children is of foundational and vital importance to society.
    2. (Edit: All things being equal), the more ideal scenario in our society is for a child to be nurtured by his biological parents, whilst other scenarios are less ideal.
    3. The word ‘marriage’ – as currently legally defined – indicates the relationship type that best allows for a child to be nurtured by his biological parents.
    4. From (2) and (3): ‘marriage’ – as currently legally defined – reflects the more ideal relationship type with respect to child making-raising, while other relationship types are less ideal in that respect.
    5. It is in society’s interest to make distinctions between various relationship types with respect to the importance of those relationships to society.
    6. From (1) and (4) and (5): it is in society’s interest to distinguish the ‘marriage’ relationship type – as currently legally defined – from other relationship types.
    7. Changing the definition of ‘marriage’ to include the same-sex relationship type negates the distinction between the ‘marriage’ relationship type – as currently legally defined – and the same-sex relationship type.
    8. Conclusion – From (6) and (7): It is in society’s interest to maintain the current definition of marriage as currently legally defined. Alternatively, it is not in society’s interest to change the definition of marriage.

  • Dingo000

    So many have put friendships on the line, some their jobs, and many more their reputations even though we have been extremely respectful and empathetic in our discussions. Us the people of the church, holding strong for not only what is right in what we have been taught, but also what is best for the natural rights and protection of our children, our family, our society. Us, the people on the front lines. Now we are given this foggy advice. I feel like a part of a flock that is being scattered by one of its shepherds. Our own children tell us of their experiences at high school (catholic) and the fact that everyone although different had no issues with each other, accepted each other, respected each other, accepted their differences. We the parents taught them that. Now we are being told to be sincere, empathetic, inclusive. Your Grace, we already have been and will continue. We will continue to look between the lines, look where others refuse, make decisions as best for our children, our family, our society. Politicians come and go and many will wipe their hands once they’ve had enough, however I am the father of my little flock. I, God willing, will not come and go and wipe my hands of my responsibility to my children and ultimately the innocent children or this society. God Bless All.

  • Chris Sullivan

    Thank you Bishop Vincent !

    When I read your magnificent pastoral letter (a model of how to communicate the gospel well), it felt like I was reading the gospel. And when I finished it, I realised that I had just read the gospel expressed in the language of Australia today.

    Many Blessings

  • Squinty Wrinkles

    I’m not interested in your holier-than-thou “I’m better catechised than you!” nonsense. Since allowing the legality of secular marriage of two people of the same gender is neither against God’s law nor against the Catholic Church’s teachings, the rest of your post is irrelevant.

    You need to learn the difference between the Church and its teachings and society and its laws.

  • Dingo000

    I think Robert knows that and has more faith in the God and the Church than he has in politicians. He did mention “boldy in the public sphere”. We don’t live in a “protected catholic community” that has no contact with the rest of society.

  • boocuddles

    Those who love Christ and follow the Word of God are our brothers and sisters in Christ.No one else.

  • Peter Bowron

    Bernie, there are 6 points in the Bible where Homosexuality appears to be condemned. 1. The story of Lot in Sodom. Which is about violent inhospitality. Lot escapes the destruction of Sodom, so God appeared to think he was “good”, yet he offered his two virgin daughters to the crowd to rape, if they’d just leave him and his guests alone. Not my sort of dad.
    2 & 3. Two verses in Leviticus – the same book which includes not eating pork, calamari, prawns. The same book that is quite happy with polygamy Lv 18: 18. There are many others I could quote which good Christians reject.
    4, 5 & 6, all from St. Paul. Paul, who was Saul, who persecuted Christians & was a Pharisee before he converted, and so strongly based on Leviticus rules. Saul converted after meeting Christ after he ascended to Heaven, where he was told to stop persecuting them, but there is no evidence that he otherwise knew Christ. Paul was not particularly keen on marriage at all, it was better that we all stay celibate until Christ returns,but if you must… Paul rejected women as teachers. Paul was quite happy about slaves.
    All the while we quote these sources, never once is there reference to the one whom we claim as the Son. Because He did not mention the issue. He was big on criticising the Pharisees, who followed the letter of the law. They tried to trick Him, by asking Him which was the greatest commandment. No trick answers. The first is to love God…, and the second is to love thy neighbour as thyself. The followup answer is one of the greatest stories in the bible, because the man who came to the rescue of the person set upon by brigands was not one of the upper class Jews. It was a stranger, a Samaritan. Samaritans had traditionally as much love for the Jews as many current Muslims. But he bound up his wounds and cared for him. Perhaps you can find such love for theother in your heart too.

  • Ann Chatham

    refresh my memory: what is mortal sin? If what we do is unloving then we have lost our place with God.

  • Lynne Newington

    Right up there by now pope Francis…..

    http://www.buenosairesherald.com/BreakingNews/View/38707

  • Lynne Newington

    Maybe when the church changes the Catechism of the Church peoples views will be permitted to change, it’s all about the fine print.
    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm

  • Mona Abdel-Mesih

    As a bishop he should put Bible teachings above all. Apart from the Bible, think of the babies who have no voice and who are deemed to be brought up in an unnatural environment and be forced to grow up away from their father or mother. This is not fair! In addition, surrogacy will boom after that. Poor mothers will sell their babies to gay couples. This is what they are after. If it was really about equality, they already have all rights now. Please don’t be misled by their deceiving claims (aquality) and think of the kids.

  • Leisha Stevens

    Vote No in the Plebiscite.
    There are many gay people that are actually opposed to it too, (check out the gay couple that appeared on the ABC over a week ago). They actually said: ‘you are not a homophobe if you vote No’
    Surprised?
    Dolce and Cabana (a well known homosexual couple are against same sex marriage & Andrew Pearce (a London reporter), who said: ‘I am homosexual and against gay marriage, does that mean that I am a bigot?’
    If you vote NO, you are against the controversial program: SAFE SCHOOLS program and many other agendas……… (interestingly Roz Ward founder and co-ordinator of the safe schools program is a confessed Marxist). Roz Ward said she ‘will not rest until the red flag is waving on top of Parliament house in Canberra: It is interesting to note that Marxism wants to destroy the family…….

  • Dingo000

    I’m guessing then that Marxism is well on the rise, which they say that religion is free to all, but only personally and with no organisation, so unfortunately the church will have no structure eventually. Corrupt Marxism leads to Communism. Humans are prone to corruption. Worth the risk? If you think this has nothing to do with the topic, think again and freely do the research. No point me posting any links, plenty out there that explain whats going on. To think SSM is only to do with what the acronym says is naive. To change the definition gives the state many powers that they wish not to reveal. The left side of politics when given the opportunity will begin the dismantling and the restructure. Please, do the research, its all out there. And its not on any biased sites. The Church won’t need to make any changes as the changes will be made by the state.

  • @johngthomas

    Mona, the postal survey has nothing to do with surrogacy or adoption. Both options are already legally available to gay couples in Australia. Poor mothers will not sell their babies to gay couples. Relax, and stop misleading people.

  • John

    Dear Bishop, thank you for your highly nuanced but clear pastoral guidance on this fraught issue. You show us the suffering face of Christ – and this, through the enduring action of the Spirit, answers to our individual and collective needs. We are truly blessed to have you as our Bishop. God bless you and give you strength in your ministry. Thank you again for your leadership.

  • Bob Mcewan

    Congratulations Bishop Vincent on your great pastoral letter on the same-sex marriage postal survey. I’m sure that Pope Francis would congratulate you too! This issue is nothing to do with the sacrament of marriage – it’s about giving equal rights to all people to marry in a civil ceremony. Catholics have no right to try and prevent others taking part in a civil ceremony!
    All this talk of mortal sins etc is utter nonsense! We look utterly stupid in the community supporting a “no vote” – the Catholic Church has little, or no, moral authority left in the community as a result of the horrendous sexual abuse of minors perpetrated by, and covered up by, the clergy!
    Marriage equality is everyone’s right!

  • Emilia Bresciani

    Mona, Catholics, as I know them are not Bible followers in the technical sense. They hear the Gospel. This uninformed view permeates through most of your comments. In order to develop as a good spiritual person no matter your Faith, we need to seek the truth and this involves informing ourselves.

  • Emilia Bresciani

    An intelligent view. It was about time those who profess Faith speak from the heart.

  • Peter

    Weak as water. We need strong church leaders to stand up for the preservation of the institution and definition of marriage, in society as a whole, as the gender-inclusive lifelong commitment between a man and a woman, open to procreation within that union and entered into with the intent of both parents to love, nurture and educate their offspring. Instead, we apparently have a Bishop who happily sits on the fence advising to witness commitment to the Church’s ideal whilst simultaneously succumbing to the perceived pressure of populism by counter-advising to “listen to what the Spirit is saying through the signs of the times”. This is not spiritual leadership; it is a self-preserving, ‘washing of the hands’, ambiguous approach that simply leaves the reader with the unfortunate and inaccurate perception that this ballot is a choice between the dignity of others and the belief held by the Church.

  • carn

    “4, 5 & 6, all from St. Paul.”

    So the theological solution is to put all of St. Pauls letters to the dustbin (*).

    So for example the words:
    “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of these is love.”

    are from now on completely irrelevant, meaning love is not so important after all.

    (* Sorry; either we assume all letters of St. Paul are divinly inspired; then we must not completely disreageard anything St. Paul says, meaning we must not disregard his comments about homosexuality;
    or some parts of his letters are bogus nonesense he personally came up with; as we have no chance to determine which parts except by using the Gospels to identify divinly inspired and bogus nonesense, it makes no longer sense to have a closer look to the letters, as using the original is far safer;
    there is no third.)

  • Lynne Newington

    Well said Emilia, no holy veneer for you.

  • Patty Andrew

    Thank you Bishop Vincent for the clarity and compassion you offer us in this critical community decision. I appreciate your intent to offset any fracturing or polarising of the community. “Live together in harmony” is an expression from the legacy of Angela Medici. I heard this echoing in your letter

  • Mona Abdel-Mesih

    Saying no is not againt loving them. For example, according to the Bible, we are required to love a prostitute but we can’t endorse her behaviour.

  • Sue Roediger

    Any honest priest will tell you he learned in seminary that more than half of true letters attributed to Paul were definitely not written by him. They were poenned by others who said they were his work.
    We only have Paul’s word of his vision of Christ.

  • Lynne Newington

    Don’t hold him to ransom, he’s most probably very earnest.
    The problem is his pledge of allegiance and loyalty to the pope [not to God, or the church] he was obliged to take at his consecration hardly credible to the simple laity.
    It was publicly revealed by retired Bishop Geoffrey Robinson sometime ago, giving an insight into how it all works in one of his many interviews.
    I wonder who heard or remembers it?

  • Gregory Barker

    Here, Here!

  • Gregory Barker

    or hear! Hear! where is spell check when you don’t need it!

  • You’re as daft as a Catholic as this bishop. He blasphemes the Holy Spirit and you are too blind to see it.

  • John Paul Doyle

    What are you saying Bishop? As Catholics there is no way you could possibly vote yes. If you as a Catholic vote yes you could no longer consider yourself a Catholic. As Catholics we say at every Mass in the Apostles creed, “i believe in the holy spirit the holy Catholic Church” Even if you wanted to vote “yes” you couldn’t as a Catholic because Christ and his Church come first. Always

  • PaulH

    Bishop Vincent, I am a person deeply committed to my Catholic faith and have been in a same sex relationship for 15 years. My relationship with God is strong, my conscience informs my relationship with the Church. Your statement affirms exactly what Jesus was demonstrating to the Pharisees in Monday’s Gospel when he cured the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath (Luke 6:6-11). The Pharisees knew the Law but practiced it without humanity; Jesus knew the Law too, but practiced it with love. God is a God of Mercy, your letter speaks clearly of a mercy, compassion and love which many of us same sex attracted people rarely hear from those who know the “Law”. Thank you for your leadership in love.

  • Eugene Lim

    He is putting Bible teachings above all: unconditional love, acceptance, defending the marginalised, not passing judgement, challenging inflexible enforcement of rules.

  • Eugene Lim

    The current key criteria of the legal definition of marriage is actually the exclusive union; child raising is not a criteria. The requirement of it being between man and woman was relatively recently introduced by the Howard govt.

  • AussieCatholic

    It is not merciful, compassionate or loving to allow someone to act out, or to continue to live in, a sinful relationship. The truth is often harsh, blunt and uncompromising. Nonetheless it still must be spoken, and spoken with love. Outside of true marriage (man/woman for life, always open to children), anyone living an unchaste life is living in sin.

  • Vanessa

    I agree to what our most Rev Bishop has to say. But what if after the same sex marriage law is passed, then Govt or the same sex couples won’t force the priests in the Catholic Church to get them married

  • Lynne Newington

    This and many other issues have been placed under scrutiny by a Jewish solicitor.
    http://www.jwire.com.au/no-marriage-equality-but-bonanza-for-dictionary-publishers-and-lawyers/

  • Lynne Newington

    Never mind about that, what happens if a Catholic same sex couple who have married seek an annulment.

  • http://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/er/mcp/marriagesandcivilpartnerships2016/

    I predict there will be less than 1,056 anal marriages in Ireland next year. This is not about sodomites “marrying” so much as about destroying the whole understanding of marriage in people’s minds.

    Australian men, for God’s sake, stand up. Tell the women that now is not the time for acceptance and togetherness. Command your women to vote no! Keep this tumor out of Australia! Just say no!

  • Nicola M. Costello

    If you vote FOR same sex civil marriage, you are voting FOR people to engage in sexual behavior that is mortal sin, that could send them to hell if they don’t repent for it. And, the Spirit is never going to lead one away from the clear teaching of Christ and the natural law.

  • Nicola M. Costello

    From the standpoint of civil society you are incorrect. The Church is not in an entirely separate sphere from the secular realm. The Church is part of society. And, the natural law, which the Church properly interprets, should be the basis for all just laws.

  • Nicola M. Costello

    Same sex relationships are fine. Two men can be best friends. Two women can be best friends. The Gospel affirms loving friendship. SEXUALIZING a same sex friendship is morally wrong, however, because only the generative act between a man and a woman within marriage is a natural and good sexual expression in accord with the way we are designed.

  • Nicola M. Costello

    So, you are for polygamy right? How about child marriage? Either you place conditions on civil marriage or you don’t! So, you’re either for absolutely no conditions or limits on marriage OR you are a hypocrite in criticize those of us who say civil marriage is for a man and a woman.

  • Peter

    Hello Vox, and thank you for your comment. I appreciate the time that it took for you to come to this view.

    In his pastoral letter, the Bishop did not say that he wants everyone to vote yes. In fact, he clearly asked for Catholics to exercise their consciences “in keeping with the tradition of the Church.” I do not think that this fits the definition of blasphemy. However, what the Bishop did urge (and this is what I think you take issue with), is discernment. He asked us to consider both sides of the argument. We have been asked to be considerate of LGBTI people, and people who know and love an LGBTI person. The Bishop’s letter is a call for peace and careful reflection. None of these actions or qualities are blasphemous.

    The other thing that you may take issue with is the Bishop’s observation that this debate is an “opportunity for us to listen to what the Spirit is saying through the signs of the times.” As inflammatory as this line seems to have been for many readers, including yourself, I do not think that the Bishop is advocating for same sex marriage here. Instead, I think the Bishop is asking us to restrain ourselves from passing judgment. Surely the Holy Spirit is asking us, now and always, to be respectful, non-judgmental and peaceful? Very soon, the times may include a world in which men are marrying men, and women are marrying women. What would you say that the Holy Spirit requires you to do at that time? It wouldn’t necessarily require you to show acceptance, because it is apparent that our Church does not accept this. However, what it would require is for you to still treat these people with respect and love, just as you would have other people treat you and your spouse with respect and love.

    So Vox, it would appear that the Bishop is not committing an act of blasphemy. Indeed, he is merely reiterating Catholic teachings and principles that seem to be lost in the heat of the public debate. I certainly do not think that my belief in these principles make me blind or a daft Catholic. In any event, I would not say that it is for you to pass judgment on my relationship with God or the Catholic Church, just as it is not for you to pass judgment on the relationships of other consenting adults.

  • @johngthomas

    They won’t be able to seek an annulment because they won’t be permitted to have a Catholic marriage in the first place. This postal survey is about State Law not Canon Law. Gays will not be permitted to undertake Catholic sacrament of marriage. They will be permitted to marry in other venues where legal marriage celebrants agree to undertake gay weddings.

  • Bernard Eugene Sheffield

    From one Bernie to another Bernie. You mention that this Bishop Will be held for g he guidance of the

  • Squinty Wrinkles

    That is nonsense. The laws applicable to a religious following should in no way be the basis or foundation for the laws of a secular society.

  • Squinty Wrinkles

    “People’s views will be ‘permitted’ to change”? Wow, can you say totalitarianism?

    News flash: people will and do have different views to yours. And they may be as certain that their views are in line with the teachings of the Church and with the Spirit as you are of yours. And you cannot prove that they are wrong.

  • Colin Corcoran

    Adultery used to be illegal, as was contraception, abortion, sodomy, and no fault divorce. Clearly our society has been in severe decline since we legalized these grave sins.

  • Lynne Newington

    I didn’t put it very well I’m sorry I was ahead of myself in thought. If the Anglican church starts permitting same sex marriage ceremonies and Catholics chose to take advantage of it, their sacraments are accepted as valid.
    We accept their clergy, married or not.

  • Patty Andrew

    With respect Brendan for your considered opinion I didn’t hear any contradiction of the Church’s teaching in Bishop Long’ s pastoral letter. I believe he is exercising good leadership which is inclusive of all. Instead Bishop Long should be commended for reminding us of the call of the Vatican II Council. The major intent of this Council was to launch the Catholic Church into the modern and post modern world. What a gift to the people of God!
    Bishop Long is expressing fidelity to the call of the Vatican Council in reading with wisdom and discernment the “signs of the times” So there is definitely no contradiction of the Church’s teaching in his letter.

  • Lynne Newington

    To be honest as much as I loathe to admit it, the whole gambit is tainted with mockery.
    When you hear of heterosexual clergy kids denied their rights due to the evident danger of scandal”….

  • Peter Franzi

    I guess Australians are just as bigoted, intolerant and insensitive as Americans. Who knew?

  • Squinty Wrinkles

    Again, that’s simply false. People will engage in homosexual acts whether or not same-sex civil marriage is legal. I have never seen any study (and I bet you haven’t either) which indicates that legalising same-sex civil marriage increases the amount of homosexual acts being performed. Same-sex civil marriage is entirely and solely about legalising an activity and nothing whatsoever about the morality or sinfullness of homosexuality or homosexual acts.

  • Maggie Sullivan

    Sodomy sends souls to hell….always has and always will.

  • Maggie Sullivan

    Saint Bernardine of Siena was a famous preacher, celebrated for his doctrine and holiness. Regarding homosexuality, he stated:

    “No sin in the world grips the soul as the accursed sodomy; this sin has always been detested by all those who live according to God.… Deviant passion is close to madness; this vice disturbs the intellect, destroys elevation and generosity of soul, brings the mind down from great thoughts to the lowliest, makes the person slothful, irascible, obstinate and obdurate, servile and soft and incapable of anything; furthermore, agitated by an insatiable craving for pleasure, the person follows not reason but frenzy.… They become blind and, when their thoughts should soar to high and great things, they are broken down and reduced to vile and useless and putrid things, which could never make them happy…. Just as people participate in the glory of God in different degrees, so also in hell some suffer more than others. He who lived with this vice of sodomy suffers more than another, for this is the greatest sin.”

  • Maggie Sullivan

    Welcoming to sin, satan, and sodomy.

  • Maggie Sullivan

    Saint Catherine, a great mystic and Doctor of the Church, lived in troubled times. The Papacy was in exile at Avignon, France. She was instrumental in bringing the Popes back to Rome. Her famous Dialogues are written as if dictated by God Himself:

    “But they act in a contrary way, for they come full of impurity to this mystery, and not only of that impurity to which, through the fragility of your weak nature, you are all naturally inclined (although reason, when free will permits, can quiet the rebellion of nature), but these wretches not only do not bridle this fragility, but do worse, committing that accursed sin against nature, and as blind and fools, with the light of their intellect darkened, they do not know the stench and misery in which they are. It is not only that this sin stinks before me, who am the Supreme and Eternal Truth, it does indeed displease me so much and I hold it in such abomination that for it alone I buried five cities by a divine judgment, my divine justice being no longer able to endure it. This sin not only displeases me as I have said, but also the devils whom these wretches have made their masters. Not that the evil displeases them because they like anything good, but because their nature was originally angelic, and their angelic nature causes them to loathe the sight of the actual commission of this enormous sin.

  • Maggie Sullivan

    Saint Catherine, a great mystic and Doctor of the Church, lived in troubled times. The Papacy was in exile at Avignon, France. She was instrumental in bringing the Popes back to Rome. Her famous Dialogues are written as if dictated by God Himself:

    “But they act in a contrary way, for they come full of impurity to this mystery, and not only of that impurity to which, through the fragility of your weak nature, you are all naturally inclined (although reason, when free will permits, can quiet the rebellion of nature), but these wretches not only do not bridle this fragility, but do worse, committing that accursed sin against nature, and as blind and fools, with the light of their intellect darkened, they do not know the stench and misery in which they are. It is not only that this sin stinks before me, who am the Supreme and Eternal Truth, it does indeed displease me so much and I hold it in such abomination that for it alone I buried five cities by a divine judgment, my divine justice being no longer able to endure it. This sin not only displeases me as I have said, but also the devils whom these wretches have made their masters. Not that the evil displeases them because they like anything good, but because their nature was originally angelic, and their angelic nature causes them to loathe the sight of the actual commission of this enormous sin.

  • Maggie Sullivan

    If you engage in sodomy you will go to hell………….Saint Catherine, a great mystic and Doctor of the Church, lived in troubled times. The Papacy was in exile at Avignon, France. She was instrumental in bringing the Popes back to Rome. Her famous Dialogues are written as if dictated by God Himself:

    “But they act in a contrary way, for they come full of impurity to this mystery, and not only of that impurity to which, through the fragility of your weak nature, you are all naturally inclined (although reason, when free will permits, can quiet the rebellion of nature), but these wretches not only do not bridle this fragility, but do worse, committing that accursed sin against nature, and as blind and fools, with the light of their intellect darkened, they do not know the stench and misery in which they are. It is not only that this sin stinks before me, who am the Supreme and Eternal Truth, it does indeed displease me so much and I hold it in such abomination that for it alone I buried five cities by a divine judgment, my divine justice being no longer able to endure it. This sin not only displeases me as I have said, but also the devils whom these wretches have made their masters. Not that the evil displeases them because they like anything good, but because their nature was originally angelic, and their angelic nature causes them to loathe the sight of the actual commission of this enormous sin.

  • John Murphy

    No we don’t. Their orders are considered invalid. They need to be re-ordained.

  • Lynne Newington

    Well that’s something considering who have to accept their clergy married or not.
    I wonder what eventually happened to John Hepworth…http://www.smh.com.au/national/one-mans-life-and-how-the-church-he-loved-let-him-down-20110916-1ke00.html

  • andy

    Mona, I think of the babies. As a gay man (therfore a kind of ‘Bishop’, or ‘Leader’ ) in this discussion, can I ask where the heck you have been in the last 30 or so years? We have been adopting, surrogating, and caring for children for many years. Its not new and CERTAINLY not anything to do with two people doing also what we have done for years! You sound soooo backward in saying this. Its wrong, and a stupid thing to say! Perhaps more time in the outside world may help you to see the errors of your ways! Please, everyone, think about how you would speak on behalf of say, for example, and talk about what they want, what they do and the fact that it will affect you! In essence, that is what we are seeing. Ask US, talk to US, and above all, try to understand us! but dont be an expert on who we are or what we do. You show gross lack of research and intelligence!

  • John

    Brendan
    In Bishop Vincent’s 2nd paragraph he writes:

    “It is important to remember from the very outset that the postal survey is about whether or not Australians want the legal definition of civil marriage changed to include same-sex couples. It is not a referendum on sacramental marriage as understood by the Catholic Church.”

    I can’t understand how you missed this – and particularly the sentence that unambiguously affirms the sacramental status of a male/female marriage as ordained by the Church.

  • John

    Maggie, another view is that it welcomes love and discernment.

  • John

    Dear Bishop Vincent – many thanks for your clear leadership on this matter. On this, and on the issues of asylum seekers and those in need of protection, you show the suffering face of Christ. Your emphasis on the pastoral and evangelical missions of the church is inspiring and, at a time the Church is suffering deeply because of child sexual abuse, greatly welcomed. We are blessed by your ministry. Thank you again for your leadership.

  • Lynne Newington

    I’m more inclined to believe he’s the public fall guy for Anthony Fisher not being wrapped over the knuckles.
    Kevin Lee resting in peace, comes to mind albeit he did things the wrong way, his untimely death saved a lot of stress with everyone ducking for cover.

  • Patty Andrew

    Fascinating opening line, Peter. “Weak as water” My definition of a strong leader is one who is compassionate, fearless, inclusive and unifying. I believe Bishop Vincent has all those qualities. So I would regard him as a strong leader. I am curious to know; Is your idea of a strong leader one who is aggressive, confrontational and disrespectful of difference?

  • Elaine Ambrose

    That goes for more straight couples, then . . . But lesbians are completely okay.

  • Eugene Lim

    And leviticus says: “Whenever a woman has her menstrual period, she will be ceremonially unclean for seven days. Anyone who touches her during that time will be unclean until evening. Anything on which the woman lies or sits during the time of her period will be unclean. If any of you touch her bed, you must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening.

    When the woman’s bleeding stops, she must count off seven days. Then she will be ceremonially clean. On the eighth day she must bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons and present them to the priest at the entrance of the Tabernacle. The priest will offer one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. Through this process, the priest will purify her before the LORD for the ceremonial impurity caused by her bleeding. This is how you will guard the people of Israel from ceremonial uncleanness. Otherwise they would die, for their impurity would defile my Tabernacle that stands among them.”

    I can only hope, should the government legislate on this too, that the pigeons would at least be GST-free.

  • Joan Seymour

    This is what Bishop Long is saying. I think most Catholics I know will be voting yes, because most of us know quite well this is not about sacramental marriage. It’s about the ‘registry office wedding’ and doesn’t affect our religious practice. My only objection to the document ‘Don’t Mess with Marriage’, which is against a change in the secular definition of marriage, was that its arguments applied only to the Church’s definition of marriage. Matrimony, for the Church, is about mutual comfort, fidelity and love but essentially in the context of rearing children. The document concluded that homosexual couples were unable to receive the sacrament because of the nature of the sacrament (not because of a flaw in their own nature. Fine – but civil marriage isn’t defined this way, and it isn’t about love, fidelity, commitment, children etc. The state isn’t interested in emotions or moral stances (nor should it be). There’s no reason at all why gay couples as well as straight can’t have their union registered in the civil sphere.

  • Joan Seymour

    “Don’t Mess with Marriage’ was respectful and non-vitriolic, too – but it didn’t distinguish, as Bishop Long does, between religious and civil marriage. In fact, the Catechism of the Catholic Church absolutely forbids unjust and contemptuous treatment of homosexual people. There are a few Catholics who need to have a close look at this.

  • Joan Seymour

    Adultery was never illegal, but it was grounds for divorce. It’s true that our society is in decline, but I’d suggest the Church has a lot to answer for about this. It’s failed to a large extent to evangelize our minds and hearts, relying on the law of the land instead to control our actions.

  • Bernie
  • Bernie

    Here is a beautiful video on homosexuality and the Church that I just found:
    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10155910399945832&id=315151565831

  • Joan Seymour

    No, he’s a Catholic Bishop. Catholics don’t put Bible teachings above all – we believe God’s will is revealed to us in an amazing way via the interaction of the Scriptures and the Tradition of the Church. ‘Sola Scriptura’ is a protestant understanding. (Not attacking protestants, just saying that’s the big difference between us)..

  • Joan Seymour

    How do you know, Maggie?

  • Bernie

    Watch this, a beautiful video on homosexuality and the Church:
    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10155910399945832&id=315151565831

  • Joan Seymour

    I’m not sure. I do think pressure will be put on the current surrogacy laws to enable male homosexual couples to access it more easily in this country. Women won’t sell their own babies, but some will be willing to rent out their wombs, as women in some countries do now. However, that’s a different issue. Equal marriage laws won’t bring this about in themselves. We’ll have to deal with this pressure if it happens.

  • Joan Seymour

    An annulment of what, Lynne? Catholic couples currently don’t have their civil marriage annulled – they apply for a divorce to dissolve the civil marriage, and an annulment to cancel the sacramental marriage. They’re two different things.

  • Joan Seymour

    No, Anglican clergy have to be re-ordained if they want to cross the Tiber. (Not saying I agree, but that’s the way it is). Anyway, the more evangelical segments of the Anglican church (like Sydney) will never ordain homosexual couples. They’re like us Romans in that way,even though they’re generally not buddies with us).

  • @johngthomas

    Naughty! You might get people thinking! 😛

  • @johngthomas

    Colin, are you being serious or ironic? Sorry, but it’s hard to tell. Poe’s Law.

  • Joan Seymour

    The Church has major difficulties in renouncing the old purity codes of the Old Testament. Sixty years ago i remember attending my baby sister’s baptism (held in an empty church with just family, godparents and priest). My mother wasn’t allowed to sit with the rest of us – she had to sit apart, holding a candle, in order to be ‘purified’ of her uncleanness. That changed pretty soon afterwards – the Church does keep trying to reform itself!

  • @johngthomas

    I’m not sure about our society being in decline. Have you read Steven Pinker’s, The Better Angels of Our Nature? He amasses plenty of evidence to show that we humans are behaving much better than we used to. We don’t burn heretics at the stake any more. The chances of dying a violent death this century are substantially lower than the chances of dying in any previous century, and the evidence indicates that this trend of reducing violence has continued over millennia. Amazingly, despite the two horrific world wars of the 20th century, it was still a more peaceful century than the 19th. And the 19th was less violent than the 18th and so on.

  • Joan Seymour

    “Judge not, that you be not judged’, Maggie.

  • Joan Seymour

    They won’t do this, though they may try. The Church is not easily forced to do anything! The government believes in the separation of Church and State – it won’t dictate what Church practice should be. (It will try to force priests to break the seal of the confessional, but priests won’t do it).

  • @johngthomas

    I’m with you Luke. It’s well reasoned pastoral letter.

  • Joan Seymour

    I’m sure St Catherine actually believed all that. Doesn’t make it right.

  • Joan Seymour

    No, a Bishop’s job is not to give orders. It’s to teach us to apply gospel values and make decisions informed by them. Otherwise we remain obedient children when the world needs us to be adults.

  • Joan Seymour

    Which is pretty much what my PP said last Sunday, too.

  • Joan Seymour

    It’s a mortal sin to support same sex marriage? Who gave you the licence to add mortal sins to the list? You need to study a bit of moral theology before you elect yourself Pope.

  • Joan Seymour

    Where did God or the Catholic Church say we couldn’t support civil marriage for same sex couples? Scripture? Catechism? You’re the one who needs catechesis!

  • Joan Seymour

    In fact, the Catechism (which is only about thirty years old) doesn’t give any support to the anger and condemnation of homosexuals shown by so many posts here. it’s also very clear about the supremacy of the informed conscience. Canon law needs some radical surgery, for sure, but it’s not the Catechism that’s the viper in our Catholic nest.

  • Joan Seymour

    Yes, civil marriage is about registering the union in order to support certain property and relationship rights. It doesn’t have anything to say to fidelity, love, commitment, or nurturing of children. It’s totally different from religious marriage.

  • Joan Seymour

    And Christ has told you his opinion on civil marriage. I see…I think….

  • Joan Seymour

    I’m aware of the well-founded fear of a Marxist attack on the foundations of our society. (I read MercatorNet, too)! I also think the great majority of gays and lesbians have no idea of this. And Australians in general will resist lunatic ideas and practices such as the wilder parts of the Safe Schools program. (I have a sneaking faith in the Holy Spirit too – let’s not confuse all gay couples with militant atheists – let’s keep them on our side)! We will have to defend our religions in the next few years, but it’s a different battle. Bring it on!

  • AussieCatholic

    A mortal sin requires three conditions:

    1. The object is grave matter
    2. It is committed with full knowledge
    3. It is done with deliberate consent

    The Catholic faith teaches marriage is between a man and a women, entered into for life, open to children for life. Homosexuals don’t meet any of these requirements. Catholics support homosexual marriage are committing a mortal sin in accorandance with the above conditions.

    Stop spreading your heresy throughout this thread, you are going to confuse and mislead souls away from Christ.

  • Joan Seymour

    We’re called to be salt to the earth and light to the world. We have a mission, and it’s not a mission of exclusion.

  • Joan Seymour

    Vincent Long is not cowardly. Far from it.

  • John

    John – as Bishop Vincent points out, the Catholic sacrament of marriage is NOT the subject of the postal ballot. We are NOT voting on the Catholic faith. The topic of the survey is about CIVIL marriage.

  • Moi

    I’m trying to understand what this quote has to do with anything. Apologies if I am being obtuse.

  • Lynne Newington

    You missed my point Joan, not to worry.

  • Lynne Newington

    A damned disgrace I’m glad I wasn’t a Catholic in those days, not that it’s much in many ways.

  • Lynne Newington

    It may not dictate what the church should practice but the church has stepped over the mark themselves more times than not, if not collectively certainly individually.

  • Lynne Newington

    Not that old line again……a sure get out of trouble card.

  • Maggie Sullivan

    By saying “Judge not, that you be not judged’, you are making a judgment……..

  • Maggie Sullivan

    Hi John,

    Do accept people having a sexual relationship with animals? Or with their own children? Couldn’t those relationships, with love and discernment, be acceptable?

  • Maggie Sullivan

    Now you get the majority of Catholic who support child murder and sodomy…….

  • Maggie Sullivan

    The clearly tells us sodomy is a demonic sin…….just let me know if you want me to copy and paste the Bible passages.

  • Maggie Sullivan
  • Maggie Sullivan

    Loving our neighbor does not include leading them to hell….as sodomy does.

    And saying do not judge does not give a person the right to sin.

    So Bernard….you supported the Priests who molested children…after all you would tell us “not to judge” them.

  • Maggie Sullivan

    Sodomites are destroying their own souls….and they want others to go to hell with them by supporting sodomy.

  • Maggie Sullivan

    If you support civil unions for same sodomites you are supporting them going to hell………

  • Maggie Sullivan

    Joan, do support a man having a civil union with his own daughter? After all who are we to judge?

  • Mona Abdel-Mesih
  • Tung Trinh

    The definition of marriage, according to Bishop Vincent, may change depending on whether he is on the pulpit or he is walking down Oxford street. There is “religious marriage (holy matrimony)” and there is “civil marriage (where anything go)” and they are totally unrelated! How fascinating! Which “form of marriage” would the Bishop preach for? Which “form of marriage” would the Bishop bestow upon the people (including LGBTQIA community) that he really loves? How can he, as a civil celebrant, refuse to marry a gay couple outside the church when he is explicitly asked? If he refuses, would that make him a hypocrite after voting Yes?

  • Colin Corcoran

    You ignorance is galling. It is still illegal (though unenforced) in many states and it was illegal in all 50 states through 1950.

    http://www.womansday.com/relationships/dating-marriage/a50994/adultery-laws/

  • carn

    If half the letters are fake then all letters have to be disregarded as there is no method after 2000 years to actually reliably identify true letters.

    If one finds a bag with money and can verify that half the money is fake and for the rest of the money one could not reliably decide one way or another, then all money would have to be considered fake.

    So you confirm my conclusion, that we should disregard all letters of St. Paul; even the parts people like Peter Brown might like.

  • John Paul Doyle

    Sodomy is a Mortal Sin. So do you think God would think its ok to vote “yes ” because it’s a civil thing? If it became a law we’d have to teach our children that there’s nothing wrong with sodomy do you think that’s a good thing? And the other thing is if they get there way it will only be a matter of time before they want Catholic Priests to marry them. That’s whats going in parts of Europe now.

  • Sue Roediger

    I disregard Paul because he never met Jesus in life, writes long after Jesus’ time, and we only have his word for this “vision”.
    Scholars have compared style and syntax and determined that some letters attributed to Paul were by ” the same hand”. I can’t remember from my theology classes of they have any verified writing of Paul, but the disputed letters were deemed not “of the same hand”.
    His letters were also intended for only the communities he wrote to, not as universal truths…and when he wrote to the Romans he was addressing christian converts who had reverted to temple orgies.
    So yes ….I say no to Paul.
    Besides we do n’t claim to be Levite’s, or Pauline…
    We call ourselves Christian…so we should stick to Christ’s words.!

  • Lynne Newington

    Maybe because it’s been rampant within the church for centuries……..

  • Lynne Newington

    This too can be laid at the feet of clergy in some instances during our time.

  • Lynne Newington

    It’s a convenient tool too for unscrupulous superiors to bring someone into line.

  • Lynne Newington

    Fine – but civil marriage isn’t defined this way, “and it isn’t about love, fidelity, commitment, children etc”…
    A little over the top in my opinion Joan.

  • Lynne Newington

    Remind the bishops sometime if your game, it comes at a price and the claws soon become visible.
    You’ve been around long enough to know that if you want to be honest.

  • carn

    “I disregard Paul because he never met Jesus in life”

    At least you draw the logical consequence.

    “Scholars have compared style and syntax and determined that some
    letters attributed to Paul were by ” the same hand”. I can’t remember
    from my theology classes of they have any verified writing of Paul, but
    the disputed letters were deemed not “of the same hand”.”

    I am always amused by this logic; even my text have variations in syntax and style depending on my mood.

    In between some of his letters Paul supposedly got shipwrecked, imprisoned or dragged before court (court in that time probably meant a lot of psychological stress, as sentences were often harsh; probably quite stressful to have a single day in court deciding whether you get executed the next day) with sometimes years between letters; and yet because style and syntax is different we have solid proof that it certainly has not the same author.

    Besides we can exclude for certain, that Paul employed different aides for writing, proof reading or discussions what to write and as Paul adressed different congregations separated by hundreds of miles in different cities, it is unalterable truth that he would never ever have considered for a nanosecond to adress different people differently; nobody does that.

    To a certain extent what passes for evidence with some scholars is just a joke.

    “We call ourselves Christian…so we should stick to Christ’s words.!”

    No problem there:
    http://www.usccb.org/bible/matthew/19
    “He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’
    5c
    and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and
    be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?”

    Sounds like boy and girl is the preferred option; hence, a state is wise to reflect that somehow in its laws, that this is the preferred option. Meaning complete marriage equality is preferably avoided from a christan point of view.

  • Lynne Newington

    If a couple choose to make certain reference’s to fidelity, love and commitment etc choosing a marriage celebrant they’re at liberty to do so.
    In my mock ceremony, I was able to weave God and spirituality within the service planning to be available
    to those believing in marriage but choosing to steer clear of the church for whatever reason.
    My main objective though was to perform a family marriage uncomfortable with giving a daughter ” away”. Mothers just don’t do that in my old fashion book.

  • Sue Roediger

    Boy and girl may be the usual combination….but Jesus didn’t denounce alternatives. He did have plenty to say about divorce…. But many Christians, Catholics ate silent about that !

  • Sue Roediger

    In places that allow civil divorce… no line us forcing the church to allow it,or to perform marriages for divorced people who want to marry

  • Sue Roediger

    Maggie… What a hideous comparison. Those things do not involved consenting adults.

  • Sue Roediger

    I advise gay Catholics to run,not walk away from a church that, sooner or later, will betray them.

  • Lily Blagus

    It would be funny if it wasn’t the truth in our hostory.

  • Lily Blagus

    My mother wasn’t allowed to attend my Baptism as I was 2 weeks old and she was seen as “unclean”.

  • Maggie Sullivan

    Who are you to judge…..if a man loves his daughter and she is of age and loves her father why can’t they get married? Come on Sue…you know as well as all of us that the acceptance of sodomy means we accept all and any sexual perversions….with no exceptions.

  • it shows the terrific grip of homophobia even on saints

  • John

    Obviously I can’t speak for the Bishop, but your questions are based on the wrong premise. To be clear: every sacramental marriage is also a civil covenant, but not every civil covenant is a marriage. And as has been repeatedly emphasised, no-one is saying that priests will be compelled to perform civil marriages.

    Like you and every Catholic I would suppose, I’d be gravely concerned if religious freedoms were under challenge (for example in the Royal Commission’s proposal to legally compel priests to break the seal of confession) – but, in this case, they’re not!

  • John

    It is a simple fact that civil marriage equality has nothing to do with the Safe Schools program.

  • John

    No – as “we” do now we’d have to teach that in general society there are m/f, m/m and f/f relationships but that while these require respect, only m/f relationships can be sanctified as a sacrament of the Church.

    On your other point, religious freedom is guaranteed by the Australian Constitution – no need to worry.

    Here is the clause if you’re interested:

    COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA CONSTITUTION ACT – SECT 116
    The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.

  • John

    Certainly not – and I know of no-one proposing such revolting things.

  • Victor Nicholas

    Reading this article and most of the comments gave me tears of joy! It only makes me feel closer and more a part of the Catholic community than I ever have before.

  • carn

    “but Jesus didn’t denounce alternatives”

    And did not mention them either; as he specifically said boy and girl is what God intended, not mentioning other “options” can reasonably only interpreted as other options not being that great; hence, preference for boy + girl should be standard.

    “divorce….But many Christians, Catholics ate silent about that !”

    Catholics should not be.

    Besides, if if A is wrong that does not change the slightest bit if B is also wrong, but people who should speak up about it, are silent.

  • Peter

    Agree with the characteristics you attribute to a strong leader Patty. That’s what we need from our Bishop – one who will speak fearlessly for a unified Church that supports traditional marriage, inclusive of both genders, whilst demonstrating compassion and respecting the dignity of all, married or not married. Your fascination may lead you to my last sentence above, regarding the ambiguity of his statement. Strong support for the retention of the definition of marriage does not prevent inclusiveness or any lessening of respect for the dignity of anyone in the Church who is not married.

  • Tung Trinh

    Dear John, I have made no premise and I am not worried about religious freedom at all.
    Bishop Vincent would surely preach on the pulpit about the goodness of sacramental marriage. Out on the streets he would confer an (inferior?) civil marriage to the LGBTQIA community to show them his love and acceptance. The Bishop believes gay couple should be able to have a civil marriage and yet I doubt if he would solemnise their marriage even AS A CIVIL CELEBRANT.
    Imagine this exchange between the Bishop and his gay couple friends : “Mates, I know a better form of marriage, but unfortunately you are not qualifiied. You are most welcome to have a civil marriage but don’t count on me to be your celebrant. It doesn’t look good on my job resume!”

  • Philip Lu

    John, but these are all listed in Leviticus, why can you accept homosexuality and not the others? That baffles me greatly! Here is a sermon I want to share with you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFr8Eh46-z8

  • Philip Lu

    Judging sin and judging a person is different.

  • Philip Lu

    Nevertheless, as a Catholic, one shall not encourage the society to commit sin. By voting ‘Yes’, you are essentially saying: “Yes, go and sin!”

  • Angela Rojas Tripodi

    God is love and whoever does not love does not know god. God is truth. As soon a debate arises on spirituality all truth disappears.
    We are all souls having a human experience and not one soul is more valuable or more important than any other. The people we share our lives with, we attract into our lives. We manifest our own relationships. A person is attracted to the soul of another person and we choose who we want to grow and share life experiences with. This survey is a next step forward from our human evolution, it is there because it is part of the collective consciousness.

  • Peter

    Hello Vox, and thank you for your comment. I appreciate the time that it took for you to come to this view.

    In his pastoral letter, the Bishop did not say that he wants everyone to vote yes. In fact, he clearly asked for Catholics to exercise their consciences “in keeping with the tradition of the Church.” I do not think that this fits the definition of blasphemy. However, what the Bishop did urge (and this is what I think you take issue with), is discernment. He asked us to consider both sides of the argument. We have been asked to be considerate of LGBTI people, and people who know and love an LGBTI person. The Bishop’s letter is a call for peace and careful reflection. None of these actions or qualities are blasphemous.

    The other thing that you may take issue with is the Bishop’s observation that this debate is an “opportunity for us to listen to what the Spirit is saying through the signs of the times.” As inflammatory as this line seems to have been for many readers, including yourself, I do not think that the Bishop is advocating for same sex marriage here. Instead, I think the Bishop is asking us to restrain ourselves from passing judgment. Surely the Holy Spirit is asking us, now and always, to be respectful, non-judgmental and peaceful? Very soon, the times may include a world in which men are marrying men, and women are marrying women. What would you say that the Holy Spirit requires you to do at that time? It wouldn’t necessarily require you to show acceptance, because it is apparent that our Church does not accept this. However, what it would require is for you to still treat these people with respect and love, just as you would have other people treat you and your spouse with respect and love.

    So Vox, it would appear that the Bishop is not committing an act of blasphemy. Indeed, he is merely reiterating Catholic teachings and principles that seem to be lost in the heat of the public debate. I certainly do not think that my belief in these principles makes me blind or a daft Catholic. In any event, I would not say that it is for you to pass judgment on my relationship with God or the Catholic Church, just as it is not for you to pass judgment on the relationships of other consenting adults.

  • Maggie Sullivan

    Well john, in America we have NAMBLA…..the man boy love association – very popular in New Your city where Cardinal famously said “Bravo” to mortal sin and sodomy.. Germany and Canada both with in the last year have decriminalized sex with animals.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/bestiality-legal-canada-supreme-court-a7073196.html

    I’m sure the Bishop would support this……..he is a sick man who is leading people into mortal sin.

  • Sue Roediger

    In Jesus’ time there really weren’t open same sex couples.
    There were many cultural practices common then that we have abandoned. Slavery, having more than one wife, stoning as punishment for adultery and other sins, beating one’s wives and children and slaves. There were archaic rules of “purity” and elaborate restriction of food.
    I don’t see how people can justify moving beyond “biblical times in some areas of life, but clinging to it in others.
    However….the fact that Catholics have a certain interpretation of “God’s will”…. does not mean all of society must follow their rules.
    I remember, as a child, how important it was to abstain from meat on Fridays. We did not expectations our not Catholic friends, or public places like restaurants to not have or serve any meat. So if society wants to embrace gays and lesbians as a part of God’s creation…..why can catholics and the church just let us be ?

  • Sue Roediger

    No….it does not. You are deliberately being obtuse.
    You are simply stuck in your thinking of same sex attraction as perversion.
    Relations between Father and daughter, or Mother and son are wrong because of the fact that parents are to be nurturers, not lovers. There is unequal power and the relationship is exploitive. I feel the same way about a man who marries a woman 20 years younger, and especially when he has known her since she was very young…as when he was he mentor. You know this.
    Two adults….can be responsible for their feelings and relationships.
    No one is saying you have to like it. No one is saying any church has to accept it. This bishop is actually just giving his opinion about being inclusive….but the church hasn’t changed the catechism …so you don’t need to worry. The Roman Catholic church will continue to exclude gays, lesbians and transgender people. Oh gays and lesbians can be useful to the church as long as they are celebate

  • Sue Roediger

    I tell my LGBT friend to run, not walk as fast as you can…away from the Catholic church. There is non place there for us
    Which is fine for you all…but you don’t get to make all the rest of society live by your policies.

  • Elisa Marie Mandis

    So in agreeing with the redefinition of marriage so that gay couples can marry, are we all happy for ss couples to have children through surrogacy and adoption? Is this God’s Plan?

  • Maggie Sullivan

    The sad reality is sodomy leads to hell………….

  • Lynne Newington

    Maggie well said…….the rules haven’t changed and Jorge Mario Bergoglio now pope is on the same page and his views haven’t changed only dressed up make it palatable.http://www.buenosairesherald.com/BreakingNews/View/38707

  • Tung Trinh

    Dear John, I have made no premise and I am not worried about religious freedom at all.
    Bishop Vincent would surely preach on the pulpit about the goodness of sacramental marriage. Out on the streets he would confer an (inferior?) civil marriage to the LGBTQIA community to show them his love and acceptance. The Bishop believes gay couples should be able to have a civil marriage and yet I doubt if he would solemnise their marriage even AS A CIVIL CELEBRANT.
    Imagine this exchange between the Bishop and his gay couple friends : “Mates, I know a better form of marriage, but unfortunately you are not qualified. You are most welcome to have a civil marriage but don’t count on me to be your celebrant. It doesn’t look good on my job resume!”

  • Bob Larkin

    This is a very intelligent letter, the whole debate is allowing people to vent their personal predudices one way or another, when really the law if it is changed will mainly effect the distribution of wealth and property either after divorce or death. Plus it will provide personal dignity to the individuals concerned. If anything this debate has strengthened my personal beliefs, making me really think about the consequences to my many friends and acquaintances of all religions, and pursuations who will be affected by this.But not once did it cause me to reassess my beliefs other than to reafirm them

  • Tung Trinh

    Hi Bob, you don’t know the predicament the good Bishop is in.
    Bishop Vincent would surely preach on the pulpit about the goodness of sacramental marriage. Out on the streets he would confer an (inferior?) civil marriage to the LGBTQIA community to show them his love and acceptance. The Bishop believes gay couples should be able to have a civil marriage and yet I doubt if he would dare to solemnise their civil marriage EVEN AS A CIVIL CELEBRANT.
    Imagine this exchange between the Bishop and his gay couple friends : “Mates, I know a better form of marriage, but unfortunately you are not qualified. You are most welcome to have a civil marriage but don’t count on me to be your celebrant. It doesn’t look good on my job resume!”

  • Tung Trinh

    Hi Victor, you don’t know the predicament the good Bishop is in.
    Bishop Vincent would surely preach on the pulpit about the goodness of sacramental marriage. Out on the streets he would confer an (inferior?) civil marriage to the LGBTQIA community to show them his love and acceptance. The Bishop believes gay couples should be able to have a civil marriage and yet I doubt if he would dare to solemnise their civil marriage EVEN AS A CIVIL CELEBRANT.
    Imagine this exchange between the Bishop and his gay couple friends : “Mates, I know a better form of marriage, but unfortunately you are not qualified. You are most welcome to have a civil marriage but don’t count on me to be your celebrant. It doesn’t look good on my job resume!”

  • Tung Trinh

    Hi PaulH, you don’t know the predicament the good Bishop is in.
    Bishop Vincent would surely preach on the pulpit about the goodness of sacramental marriage. Out on the streets he would confer an (inferior?) civil marriage to the LGBTQIA community to show them his love and acceptance. The Bishop believes gay couples should be able to have a civil marriage and yet I doubt if he would dare to solemnise their civil marriage EVEN AS A CIVIL CELEBRANT.
    Imagine this exchange between the Bishop and his gay couple friends : “Mates, I know a better form of marriage, but unfortunately you are not qualified. You are most welcome to have a civil marriage but don’t count on me to be your celebrant. It doesn’t look good on my job resume!”

  • Tung Trinh

    Hi Patty Andrew, you don’t know the predicament the good Bishop is in.
    Bishop Vincent would surely preach on the pulpit about the goodness of sacramental marriage. Out on the streets he would confer an (inferior?) civil marriage to the LGBTQIA community to show them his love and acceptance. The Bishop believes gay couples should be able to have a civil marriage and yet I doubt if he would dare to solemnise their civil marriage EVEN AS A CIVIL CELEBRANT.
    Imagine this exchange between the Bishop and his gay couple friends : “Mates, I know a better form of marriage, but unfortunately you are not qualified. You are most welcome to have a civil marriage but don’t count on me to be your celebrant. It doesn’t look good on my job resume!”

  • Elisa Marie Mandis

    As Christ himself said; I will seperate the sheep from the goats. It is not enough to say “I’m Catholic” and that will save you whilst deliberately rejecting The Word of God. It is being in Christ Jesus. Plenty of Catholics, Anglicans, GO, Etc who believe they are saved whilst cherry picking the bits of the bible that suit and rejecting parts that are an inconvenience to their life.

  • Elisa Marie Mandis

    The Church forbids unjust and contemptuous treatment against all humanity particularly children

  • Elisa Marie Mandis

    So as a modern Christian I cannot share my faith in Christ and The Gospel because I never met Christ in person? I think you’ve missed the point.

  • Sue Roediger

    You are free to believe that…..but in the USA you don’t get to try into make the whole world obey your rules.

  • Sue Roediger

    You can share your faith, as you believe it, as you interpret it…..but if you tell me Jesus came to you and told you some exclusive “good news”and expect me to live by your alleged “vision”…well no thank you !

  • Elisa Marie Mandis

    Your argument falls short. Luke wrote the gospel of Luke and he was not one of Jesus’s original followers, neither was Mark who wrote his gospel. Luke also wrote the book of Acts. Peter also talks about Paul in his letter 2 Peter 3:16. The CC doesn’t exclude homosexuals from church and community per se and are welcome to participate in the church.
    The practise of Homosexuality aswell as other sin such as adultery,Sodomy, lust,greed, sexual immorality,etc is a sin against the Word of God. I can see why a lot of Christians despise Paul. Perhaps we don’t like everything we hear because it makes us accountable.

  • Lynne Newington

    Remember the days when HIV/Aids was taking it’s toll? The above writer would’ve had a field day……her and many others.
    The Conversation was celebrating all the unsung heroes of Australia’s crisis, if your interested. https://theconversation.com/friday-essay-recognising-the-unsung-heroes-of-australias-aids-crisis-81030

  • @johngthomas

    Our views are too far apart for fruitful engagement, Maggie, so I’ll leave you in peace.

  • veritasetgratia

    Many years ago,Australian legislation was passed to financially provide for people living in de facto relationships including ss relationships including inheritance law. This Postal Vote is not about giving same sex relationships financial protection! It’s not even just about giving any gender the right to marry any gender. In other countries, after passage of ssm, very few gays take up the offer to marry. So think about this : It’s all about who would be affected by its implementation. Everyone will be affected. Already high profile business people are losing their jobs because they say marriage is between a man and a woman. That’s freedom of speech down the drain. A change to marriage means every child will be formally taught from Kindy that a man can be born thinking he is a woman and vice versa. It’s called Gender Fluidity. It teaches biology does not matter. It teaches whatever a person says, goes. That’s just a couple of examples. So every school, faith school or government, will be required to immerse the kids in this kind of thinking. Stories coming in from the States, are saying some little kids are traumatised because they cannot handle what they are being told and some are afraid they will “turn into” the opposite sex. Did you have a fairly happy childhood? Why cant we continue to do our best to give our kids happy times in schools today ?

  • veritasetgratia

    Good insight. Commercial surrogacy is kind to no one especially women in third world countries. The kids have zero rights.

  • Sue Roediger

    What times those were ! So much ignorance, so many judgmental people !

  • Lynne Newington

    Absolutely.

    Christianity went for a long long walk.

    There was a wonderful hymn I learnt in my youth as a non Catholic and I often wished at the time they would’ve had access to it, a comfort in their solitude but hardly likely.

  • Peter

    Elisa, I suggest that you read Leviticus in its entirety when referring to God’s plan and not just chapter 20, verse 13. In Leviticus 11:7-12, for example, God’s plan is that we do not eat pigs or anything that lives in water but does not have fins or scales. This would include prawns and crabs, for example.

    What I am saying is that the Bible may say that a man must not lie with a man, but if we are going to obsess over that verse then we should also be following God’s plan regarding our diets. As far as I’m aware, not a single Catholic I have ever met has abstained from pork or prawns. I had ham today actually. Plans change, times change and so should we.

  • John

    Sacramental marriage is not being redefined by this measure.

  • Peter

    So we agree that Leviticus is irrelevant? Great!

  • carn

    “I don’t see how people can justify moving beyond “biblical times in some areas of life, but clinging to it in others.”

    So not only abondoning St. Paul but also leave Jesus words behind. Because keeping Jesus words is clinging to some things of biblical times, which you just rejected.

    “why can catholics and the church just let us be ?”

    Cause laws always are indication what society considers to be ethically ok. Saying “yes” to legally “identical” “same-sex marriage” indicates that “same-sex” “sexual activity” is ethically indistinguishable from “opposite-sex” “sexual activity”.

    Hence, church cannot and catholics should not give their “yes” as it would include the lie, that they are ethically indistinguishable, which is untrue (at least if one does not ignore St. Paul’s words or the implication of Jesus words about men and women).

    For my part i have a hard time to understand why so many people make a fuss about church and catholics being against “same-sex” “sexual activity”; everybody knows, that church considers it sin, and everybody knows, that church should teach what is sin; but yet everybody is suprised when church teaches against “same-sex” “sexual acitivity” and against “same-sex” “marriage” (as marriage nearly always implies some sort of sexual activity).

    And maybe i also get one day invited to a “same-sex” “marriage”; then supposedly i am to celebrate that two men/two women promise each other amont other promises a life long mutually exclusive sexual relationship; why would anyone be suprised if someone like me, who tries to stumble into a catholic church on most sundays, might have reservation about celebrating that?

  • Maggie Sullivan

    Thankfully I am free to believe and obey Jesus……and the Holy and Blessed Trinity is very clearly that active homosexuality is a grave immoral crime against God and human life. Your augment is not with me it is with God.

  • Maggie Sullivan

    Sue…..you stated perfectly why sodomy destroys souls.

    People who give in to same sex attraction must run from Christ and His Holy Catholic Church or else turn from their sin and return to the love of God.

    You tell your LGTB friends to run away for the only peace, love, hope and chance of salvation in this life – Jesus and His Church.

    Your tell your LGTB friends to choose sodomy over Jesus, life, love, and heaven.

    You tell your LGTB friend to run to mortal sin and to eternal separation from real love and God.

  • Sue Roediger

    Oh Maggie….you are so thoroughly “catechized’…another word for indoctrination.
    Little by little I began to see reality. The church’s position on birth control is cruel. The idea that only Catholics will get into heaven. When a priest told my friend that the reason her brother was killed by a hit ands run driver….was because she was not married in the church. Priests and Bishops defending pedophile priests….keeping it secret ….for the good of the “reputation of Holy Mother Church”. When Bishop Mahoney of Los Angeles was asked about the suffering of the innocent children….he replied ” Jesus was innocent too, by their suffering they will be closer to Jesus”. As if getting molested by your parish priest is almost a sacrament. This is the church you follow.
    The modern Catholic church have become the Pharisees Jesus abhorred.

  • Sue Roediger

    As I said believe as you will. Read….Matthew 7:1-5

  • Sue Roediger

    Everyone gets that you reject it….and us.
    What you don’t get to do is compel the rest of the world to follow your tenets.
    Back in the day when Catholics didn’t eat meat on Fridays you didn’t expect restaurants to not serve anyone meat on those days, nor did you trynto pass laws restricting meat on Fridays.
    Likewise with divorce…Jesus was quite clear about divorce. Where is the national catholic movement against the mortal sin if divorce ?
    No…..you have the lovely little trick of annulment…where people affirm that there were reasons their marriage wasn’t valid in the first places. The mayor of L.A. gave the Cardinal in L.A. diocese a helicopter….right before his marriage annulment was announced.
    Bah !

  • Sue Roediger

    If it was written by a non Catholic they wouldn’t allow it.
    I go to an Episcopal church now. The music is so eclectic ! Old Latin hymns, traditional Anglican hymns, African American spirituals, African, Native American, South American songs.
    We celebrate MLK as a prophet.

  • Maggie Sullivan

    Thank you Sue for the “thoroughly catechized” comment.

    It’s interesting with birth control……..Catholic couple who use birth control have a 60% divorce rat….Catholic couple who use NFP have a 3% divorce rate.

    Many studies have shown the pill can cause breast cancer and strokes. I know a girl who was on her H.S. swim team and had a stroke. I was told it was because of the pill.

    As for the Bishops who hide the sodomite Priests who abused children….that was the lavender mafia within the church that wanted to protect fellow homosexuals. Even Jesus had His Judas and Judas in the Church today supports homosexuality.

  • Lynne Newington

    Recalling Benedict as pope giving him a make-over…….”he was fulfilling gods plan” and coming from Christ’s earthly representative who could challenge that expediency.

  • Lynne Newington

    Here in Australia we have clergy who practice the “old Spanish tradition”……

  • Lynne Newington

    That is a disgraceful comment Maggie, Lord preserve us from such a mentality.
    I can see how easily European Jews suffered under Catholic domination.

  • Susannah Bacon

    Actually if you don’t want gay marriage don’t have one.
    But think carefully before you cast your vote. This is about allowing or denying others the same rights that you have.

  • Lynne Newington

    Oh dear….that’s about right.
    We had a journalist, [handy to have under your belt] was married three times….I often wondered about all those apparitions he promoted around the world…..

  • haypa2

    St Catherine is a doctor of the church. That means everything she has written is in full accordance with the Church’s teachings. Thus Maggie’s quote is what the church has always taught.

  • Brendan Quinn

    I posted a comment in this forum that was removed. I would appreciate it if Catholic Outlook had a transparent and open editorial policy where reasons where given why peoples posts are removed without notice. Are the only posts allowed those that grovel to some select few ? I thought this would be a forum that would be somewhat Catholic in administration whereby one could express support for the position taken by the Catholic Bishops Conference however it appears the editorial policy would be more at home in North Korea.

  • Brendan Quinn

    Vatican 2 said nothing about redefining the Sacrament of Marriage to include Sodomy. For anyone to attempt to justify Gay Marriage with Vatican 2 is inaccurate. The Archbishops of Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Hobart have encouraged the faithful to vote NO and I would not suggest that they are ignoring Vatican 2 either.

  • Diocese of Parramatta

    Hi Brendan, the Diocesan policy is “The Diocese reserves the right to remove posts and comments. Any links to external websites or other Facebook pages may also be removed.” This is also reflected under About Us and on our Facebook page. As you can appreciate, we have several comments posted on our communication channels, including this thread, which has alone attracted almost 200 comments.

    If you scroll down, your comment should appear in the below thread.

  • carn

    “What you don’t get to do is compel the rest of the world to follow your tenets.”

    What you do not get is that decisions about laws often are decisions about ethics and hence people decide according to what they consider to be ethical or not.

    Hence, it is a normal feature of laws that some people are required to live with laws that follow “tenets” or ethics they personally do not hold.

    Hence, your argument is either valid against nearly any law; or it is not a valid argument.

    But one can not honestly argue that its in principle wrong that some “tenets” are used to compel the rest of the world and that at the same time its in principle right that some other “tenets” are used to compel the rest of the world.

    If catholics or whoever finds homosexual acts and/or marriage to be ethically wrong, such person may and should vote for according laws which express this ethical position; others can argue and vote against; thats called democracy.

  • Lynne Newington

    “In his pastoral letter, the Bishop did not say that he wants everyone to vote yes. In fact, he clearly asked for Catholics to exercise their consciences “in keeping with the tradition of the Church.”
    Well for anyone with some insight would automatically read a No vote surely.

  • Lynne Newington

    Boy that’s certainly freedom with a capital F.
    And with all those tax emptions to boot!

  • Brendan Quinn

    Thankyou. It appeared as “removed” last time I looked so I am not sure as to what happened. Thank you for your response.

  • John

    You use the word “allow” as if the business of the Church is to boss its folk this way or that. But Christ never robbed people of their agency – he treated people as adults. Infantilising the laity just doesn’t cut it on any level.

  • Sue Roediger

    Granted….but our Democracy is not a theocracy.

  • Sue Roediger

    I wish I knew what you are trying to say ?

  • Sue Roediger

    The campaign to protect the name of the church was not confined ton gays among the clergy. And ….pedophiles are almost always straight.
    I would like a source for your statistics above !

  • Maggie Sullivan

    Sue…..if you are an honest person you will admit you are wrong.

    The National Review Board, recruiting a research team from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, released its initial report in 2004. The results were conclusive: This was not a “pedophile” scandal, but a homosexual scandal. Eighty percent of the alleged victims were male, and nearly 90 percent were post-pubescent, with “only a small percentage of priests receiving allegations of abusing young children.”
    An updated report, issued in 2011, revealed similar numbers: 81 percent of sex abuse victims were boys, and 78 percent were post-pubescent.

    1-3 percent of the population identifies as homosexual but homosexuals commit 30% of sexual abuse cases…….to put it simply….homosexual men like teenage boys…they will even admit that.

  • Lynne Newington

    I’m sorry Sue, those in this part of the world would know to whom I’m referring to.
    The comment is valid although I don’t choose to name him.
    Those with connections within the church as in priest, good for donations, politicians etc. already have a foot in for favourable considerations for annulments.
    Even laicization’s providing your not a heterosexual friar seeking a rescript to publicly acknowledge his child before he dies……

  • Sue Roediger

    If you want to be honest yourself……research the difference between pedophiles and homosexuals !
    Pedophiles are not homosexuals. Their targets can be male or female . the one requirement is prepubescent. Male pedophiles target boys because it is harder for them to gain access to girls. Pedophile priest targeted the most vulnerable boys, and compounded their crime/sin by making the child go to confession for their “sin ” !
    Homosexuals are attracted to others in their same age range

  • Ronky

    Very imaginative. But the fact is that we have a Pope who has repeatedly and strongly urged us to judge supposed “same sex marriage” as wrong, harmful, and indeed diabolical. Indeed Francis has been far more outspoken against the idea of SSM than any of his predecessors. It is a pity that Bishop Long seems to lack Pope Francis’ courage to plainly address this issue.

  • Maggie Sullivan

    Sue….in the Church over 80% of the abuse cases were homosexual. Homosexual men target young boys.

    You can defend priests who raped little boys all you want but in the end we all know homosexuality is a disorder of the mind and soul and disorders lead to sexual perversion.

  • Joan Seymour

    The question, however, is not “Do you believe sexual relationships between people of the same sex are morally good and should be legal”? Such relationships are already legal, and the time for voicing our opinions on this has gone. The question is whether homosexual couples should be able to have their unions recognized by the secular authority in the same way as heterosexual couples do. This is not a question on which God has revealed His holy will. (I don’t think He’s said anything about homosexual relationships specifically, either, but that’s a different question).

  • Joan Seymour

    No arguing with that!

  • Joan Seymour

    If the Trinity is so clearly against active homosexuality, please share your insights into where this is shown. Also, what this has to do with civil marriage, not the Sacrament of Matrimony.

  • Joan Seymour

    I’m a practising Catholic, and for many years we’ve sung hymns and sacred songs according to their spiritual beauty, theological strength and musical suitability. Many of them were certainly written by non-Catholics. (In fact, if I hear Amazing Grace one more time i’ll scream – it’s been done to death in my parish!

  • Joan Seymour

    Read the full report. You’ve misunderstood its final findings.

  • Joan Seymour

    ‘Judging’ in this context, has a particular meaning. It doesn’t mean forming a negative opinion about something. It means deciding that a person is in deadly sin and will be punished eternally unless s/he repents. It’s that kind of judgement that you did, and it’s forbidden to us. The judgement I made was in the everyday meaning of ‘form an opinion’. Only God is the Judge, Maggie.

  • Joan Seymour

    We can say that an action is grave matter. We can’t say the person committing the action is in sin, because we can’t judge their degree of knowledge and free will. They may well be in sin, but we can’t be sure they are, as God can. That’s standard teaching of the Church, which i learned in grade 3 in about 1955, Thank you, Miss Shellard! Then, when I studied moral theology much more recently, the lecturer said “If someone asks you, is such and such a sin, you need to ask ‘for whom’? Because the intention and knowledge and the free will of the agent make a difference. Killing a human being is grave matter, but it isn’t always a sin, for example.

  • Joan Seymour

    Sue, please don’t believe athat all Catholics reject gay people, or equal marriage. In this forum, you’re getting a very extreme view – most Catholics that i know, including my own parish priest, are far more accepting simply because they know gay people, often in their own families, and know they’re not evil. Even the formal teaching of the Church, expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, says no such thing, and forbids any unjust discrimination against you. Some people who post here believe they are the only ones who know the true teachings of the Church, when the opposite is often the case. Good luck – many of us Catholics will be voting yes. (And really – it’s about civil marriage, which has nothing to do with religious marriage)!

  • Philip Lu

    How can you say killing a human isn’t always a sin? Even if it is for self-defence, it is nevertheless a sin. Don’t you feel you have the need to come before God and beg for forgiveness even if you killed another human in self-defence? Do you think you could just walk away and God will automatically forgive you? I am baffled. People nowadays are too comfortable in their own sins, often think they can get away with it because God is loving and caring. He is a God of loving and caring only to those who are ready to admit their fault and ask for forgiveness.

  • Maggie Sullivan

    1. your civil marriage question first. No Catholic or decent person can support someones decision to commit grave sin – two people of the same sex entering a civil sexual union is a grave and soul killing sin.

    2. Every word in the Bible against sodomy are the words of all there Person of the Holy Trinity – they cannot have any separation – when one speaks they ALL speak.

    This link will clearly show you the Holy Trinity inspired Bible passages that condemn sodomy as a hellish and demonic crime and sin. http://biblereasons.com/sodomy/

  • carn

    You call it theocracy if marriage is limited to male and female?

  • Sue Roediger

    I know many Catholics, I was raised Catholic and much of my family still practices. The Catechism says we are to be treated with kindness. It also says we are “called to live in celibacy”. So any gay or lesbian who is sexually active is considered to be not ” in the state of grace”. I have read, and been personally aware of, so many cases of days and lesbians who were “welcome” and active in their parish…who were discovered to be in a relationship….and were kicked out of the choir, fired from teaching, refused communion.
    I attend Episcopal church now, where I am welcome.

  • Sue Roediger

    It is theocracy when churches impose religious tenets as civil law.

  • Sue Roediger

    I was raised in the 50s and 60s…. I never beard Amazing Grace until the early 80s when I attend a service in an Episcopal church. I sang in the choir in elementary and big school. The nuns told us we were only permitted sings composed by catholics.
    By the time of the Ecumenical council my attendance was sporadic.

  • Sue Roediger

    No one is likely to force you to celebrate a same sex wedding. Anyone who knows you, would know your stance about it and refrain from putting in a position to have to refuse.
    What would be so wrong about any two people promising to love each other exclusively, for life ? Better that than promiscuity…..yes ?
    As I have said…..people in any church have the right to make rules for their membership. But not to try to make all of society conform the the tenets of their church.

  • Sue Roediger

    I so NOT defend priest who raped little boys. The church does that ! The church sheltered these men, moved them to new parishes, kept them from civil consequences, gave them absolution. Kept the whole nasty business a secret to avoid “scandal” or harm to “the reputation of Holy ;other Church”.
    When then victims spoke up ” the church” denied and tried to shame and blame the victims. Then ultimately used the donations from parishioners to pay reparations. While the Bjishoos and Cardinals lived in luxury.
    I am saying the priests who did that are pedophiles.
    And adult who is sexually aroused by prepubescent children is a pedophile. In most cases the gender not the child is not the trigger, it is the youth and vulnerability that attracts them.
    By definition homosexuality is consenting sex between peers.
    “Homosexuals” don’t not commonly molest children.
    Look it up !

  • Maggie Sullivan

    It was the lavender mafia in the Church that protected the gay Priests……………….

  • Sue Roediger

    So..two people, opposite sex of course, who cannot procreate because one or both are infertile…… should be forbidden to marry ?

  • Sue Roediger

    Wow…. I have never heard anyone say that out loud ! So.. Exclusionary !

  • Nicola M. Costello

    Sue, the fertility of a sexual act is subject to the respective health of the partners. But, the hard Gospel truth is that some sexual acts by their very nature, like anal sex, oral sex, and their deviant variations are always intrinsically and seriously evil. That goes for gay and straight people who do them. But, sexual acts between two men or two women are ipso facto infertile and sterile, not due to ill health but due to the fact they are not in accord with God’s natural design of the human body. Male or female genitals don’t belong in anyone’s mouth or anus as a matter of natural moral law and such behavior, without ANY remorse, can only be ascribed to a darkened unrepentant intellect. Such acts are ultimately for hedonistic pleasure rather than true expressions of love because true love demands respect for one’s own and the person’s body as designed by God.

  • Noel Dharamdas

    I would like to ask Bishop Long that if a gay couple wants to get married in the Catholic church, will he perform the marriage ceremony. Keeping in mind the teachings of the church and the HOLY BIBLE (regarding same sex marriage.)

  • carn

    It would not be the church imposing anthing, but for example just a majority.

  • carn

    “What would be so wrong about any two people promising to love each other exclusively, for life ?”

    Cause it includes them promising each other to commit sin. Such a promise is not always something to celebrate.

    “As I have said…..people in any church have the right to make rules for
    their membership. But not to try to make all of society conform the the
    tenets of their church.”

    And as i have said, its democracy; majority can enforce certain views upon minority. The only rea limitation are certain fundamental rights upon which the democracy is based; if majority calls for treting boy-girl differently than boy-boy or girl-girl and there is no violation of the fundamental rights, then its not theocracy. Such societies for example existed till maybe yesterday or so (e.g. US till Obergefell) and were not theocracies.

    And such societies still exist (e.g. Poland) and might also exist in the future and still are no theocracies.

  • Tim Goodsell

    And who are you to do the same?

  • Maggie Sullivan

    John 7:24 “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

  • Sue Roediger

    The Supreme Court of the US had determined that marriage is a civil right ….Loving v Virginia. Prior to that ruling the majority (racial separatists) had forced their will on the minority (those who wanted racial equality). If it is a civil right …it cannot be denied on the basis of religion.
    At one time there Blue Laws…forcing the closing of stores etc on Sunday and other restrictions.
    The fact that Catholics, and some other churches, consider homosexuality a sin is fine for their congregation. There are many things Catholics consider sinful that the rest of society do not. ….. Divorce, masturbation, birth control in vitro insemination, eating meat in Friday during Lent, etc.
    Other religions have things they consider sinful that Catholics do not …Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t do blood transfusions. Christian Science avoid doctors. Mormons avoid alcohol and caffeine. So “sin” is relative……
    Again…..we are not a Catholic country..

  • Sue Roediger

    Segregation and slavery were approved by the majority.
    Being the majority in not always best.
    Civil rights laws are there to protect the minority from being dominated by the majority.

  • Sue Roediger

    Wow…..you are thoroughly brainwashed.
    God invented pleasure.
    I knew a woman who had just gone through menopause.
    Her husband had decided since they couldn’t make babies anymore, they should not have sex.. He thought it would be sinful !
    I am quite aware of all the Catholic teaching and theology and thought processes. I went to Catholic schools for 14 years…
    It is fine for people who can fit themselves into it.
    What really needed “being Catholic” for me was when in was told “only baptized Catholics will go to heaven”. I had an Aunt who was so “Christlike” as a part of her nature. How could God create such a person only to reject them?
    Bless you …live your faith as it revealed to you.
    Leave others to do the same, please.

  • Nicola M. Costello

    Sue, yes, God created pleasure but not at the expense of his design. Of course I will leave people to live their faith as they see it. But, I also have to tell the truth in love. Take care.

  • Sue Roediger

    Ah.. There is the problem… The arrogance of the Roman Catholic church.. Thinking they have “the one truth” !

  • Joan Seymour

    No, he wouldn’t. He’s talking about civil marriage, not the Sacrament of Matrimony. Not sure what the Bible says about same sex marriage, by the way. I think nothing, as the Bible was written long before anyone thought of it.

  • Joan Seymour

    In most Australian states, ss couples can already adopt. They don’t need to be married to do so. I’d guess most adoptions are of the children of one of the partners, if the ‘natural’ parent doesn’t object. I think a child is better off having two good parents than one or none. As for surrogacy – yes, that’s something we need to watch for. Our surrogacy laws protect women and children – we should resist any attempts to loosen them up once ssm is approved. And i also think we should be free to teach our children our beliefs – for example, that the best parenting couple is a good heterosexual couple. That’s a freedom of religion thing, and it must be protected.

  • Joan Seymour

    That’s quite true. i know a Catholic woman who didn’t realize that her church wedding actually included a civil ceremony -she thought they were the same thing, matrimony and the civil registration. I’m hoping that the Bishops will decide to withdraw from doing the civil ceremony – presently all priests are civil celebrants, as a service to the couple. If couples have to go to the registry office as well as the church, it will make them think about the meaning of their participation in the Sacrament. That would be a Good Thing. They already do this in many countries.

  • Joan Seymour

    It’s a good point – but priests don’t carry out the civil celebrant duties unless the couple is receiving the Sacrament of Matrimony. They only do it to save the couple extra trouble. I hope that when ssm becomes legal, the bishops will decide not to allow the priests to be civil celebrants at all, for straight or gay couples. All would have to go to a registry office to register their marriage, instead of signing the papers in the sacristy or wherever. They really are two different things – the civil marriage ceremony isn’t about love, duty, fidelity, etc, and the Sacramental ritual is.

  • Joan Seymour

    You need to get some education in moral theology, Nicola. Also, have a look at the Catechism on homosexuality.

  • Joan Seymour

    One thing, Sue – a lot of crap (excuse me) can get taught in Catholic schools when the teachers aren’t well educated in the Faith. I remember being told by my grade three teacher (Miss Oates) that only Catholics will go to heaven. That was in about 1955. It’s not what’s taught today, nor should it be. The Church is a lot better than that, really. Bad teachers can do untold harm.

  • Joan Seymour

    Nicola M. Costello is not the Roman Catholic Church, though I agree she thinks she is. Only the Bishops can call themselves teachers in the Church. i think Bishop Long and the Bishop of Rome are very, very good teachers indeed, and truly orthodox, as Nicola is not.

  • Joan Seymour

    The Sacrament of Matrimony is not under debate here. Bishop Long, the official teacher of your diocese, said nothing about including sodomy in the Sacrament. The debate is about civil marriage, which has never been recognized by the Church, because it’s not about the same thing that matrimony is about.

  • carn

    Independent how to ethically evaluate the cruel oppression socities having a legal construct mainly aimed about resolving the issue in case of heterosexual activities who the father of a child enact by being reluctant to include homosexual couples in that construct, slavery and segregation societies were not theocracies; hence, calling a society having marriage only as male-female a theocracy is countered by your own comparison.

  • carn

    “The Supreme Court of the US had determined that marriage is a civil
    right ….Loving v Virginia. Prior to that ruling the majority (racial
    separatists) had forced their will on the minority (those who wanted
    racial equality). If it is a civil right …it cannot be denied on the
    basis of religion.”

    That argument would have merrit, if polygamy would not be be banned.

    But by limiting marriage to two, there is a certain intent and/or justification behind the legal construct of marriage, that is constitutionally fine (presuming that banning polygamy is ok); hence, if within that justification framework certain other limitations fit in, the majority might do so and enact them.

    Interracial marriage ban just does not fit into that framework behind the legal construct marriage.

    For homosexual marriage it may not or may be different; the US supreme court did not think so; ok; doesn’t mean anything for any other country, as the details of the construct are a matter for each country to decide.

    And it makes comparing not having homosexual marriage to banning interracial marriage a complete dishonest illwilled name-calling that would never be uttered if one would care in any way about respect for other people or consistent arguments. And of course utterly destroys any pretense whatsoever the other side would act in the name of “love”.

  • Sue Roediger

    Like the Pharisees you have everything all laid out to some letter of biblical “law”…. overlooking completely the spirit of things.
    You go on justifying yourself.
    I am so glad you don’t get to control my life, just as I don’t have any right to try to control yours

  • Sue Roediger

    Your words have meaning individually, but ui can make little sense of what you are attempting to say here.

  • Sue Roediger

    I just checked the online Catechism under “heaven”… I says souls in the state of grace, baptised in the church…will be in heaven.
    The interpretation…is pretty clear. Does the church now recognize baptisms in other faiths?

  • carn

    Slavery and segregation were not theocracy; if limiting marriage to male-female is like slavery or segregation, you are therefore wrong to call it theocracy.

  • carn

    You overlook the spirit of things, visible from you being very rude (by putting me on the level of racist banning itneracial marriage; by putting me on the level of the people who murdered Jesus) with neither being aware about it nor having something like a justification for judging me that way.

    “You go on justifying yourself.”

    No; i tried to show you, that you are engaging in name-calling without any good reason.

    Thats obviously not about justifying my behavior, but critizing yours. At least accuse me of what i am actually doing, when you are being rude.

    “Like the Pharisees”
    I thought all that old bible stuff is irrelevant for you; so why bringing these guys up?

  • John

    The Bishop wrote

    “Many years ago, divorce was legalised in Australia; but this change did not alter the law of the Church. Therefore, whatever the outcome of the survey or the eventual legislation by the government, the Church will continue to hold that marriage is a natural institution established by God to be a permanent union between one man and one woman, directed both to mutual companionship and to the formation of a family in which children are born and nurtured.”

    So the answer is pretty clear: no. He also made it crystal clear that the postal survey was to do with CIVIL marriage, not marriage as the Church understands it.

    Hope this answers your question.

  • Nicola M. Costello

    Jesus did not retain the dietary laws from the new covenant. He clearly taught that it is what comes from a man’s heart that makes him unclean. It’s not what he eats that makes him unclean. He did retain the 10 commandments as part of the new covenant in his blood.

  • Sue Roediger

    I will pray for you.

  • Sue Roediger

    Proponents of slavery, segregation and Jim Crow laws used the Bible to support their cause. They tried to say it was God’s plan. They said the word of God supported marginalizing some of God’s children. The same thing is happening here.
    Eventually, most people realized that black were not marked by God to be subservient to whites.
    Long ago .. people who were left handed were seen as demonic. Over time we realize that left handedness is just how some people are.
    Being gay is like that. It is just how some people are.
    How God made some people !

  • Sue Roediger

    Those who supported slaver and segregation used the bible and justification. They claimed the Bible supporters their supremacist ideas.
    When the argument in support of heterosexual only marriages is based on Bible verses ….implementation on that basis IS theocracy.
    This is christo-fascism !

  • carn

    Thanks.

    I will pray for you as well.

  • Diocese of Parramatta

    Hi Noel, Bishop Long and the Catholic Church have been quite clear about this, specifically “whatever the outcome of the survey or the eventual legislation by the government, the Church will continue to hold that marriage is a natural institution established by God to be a permanent union between one man and one woman, directed both to mutual companionship and to the formation of a family in which children are born and nurtured.” This same response has also been posted to the question you sent us via Facebook.

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