Australian Bishops Point the Way for U.S. Church
The Australian Bishops Conference, and Archbishop Julian Porteous of the state of Tasmania in particular, are under fire for one reason: they had the audacity to teach Catholics the truth about the nature of marriage—according to Catholic teaching. The Australian bishops declare the truth plainly and succinctly in their May 28, 2015, booklet on marriage, “Don’t Mess with Marriage”:
Marriage is the covenant of a man and a woman to live as husband and wife, exclusively and for life, and open to the procreation of children.
Reading this document, I found it to be exceptional for at least three major reasons:
1. It is succinct. At fifteen pages, unlike too many documents the Church publishes, it will actually be read.
2. It is fearless. It is refreshing to read a document from the Church that is unambiguous, clear, and popular in expression. The Australian bishops and Archbishop Porteous do not mince words.
3. It is packed. In six sections, the bishops:
- Dispel the discrimination myth that claims the Church is guilty of withholding a “right” of people with “same-sex attraction” (SSA).
- Separate truth from the irrational, emotionally based arguments that are no real arguments at all, constantly bringing the argument back to the simple definition of marriage mentioned above.
- Point out the devastating consequences of “messing with marriage,” which is “a basic cell of society” and “the nursery for raising healthy, well-rounded, virtuous citizens.” Both Church and state have compelling interest in supporting authentic marriage, because marriage represents the very foundation of civilization itself.
- In a section badly misrepresented by opponents of the Church's position state, “Messing with marriage, therefore, is also ‘messing with kids.” Although the bishops were accused of a backhanded remark about pedophilia, the context is clear. The bishops are merely stating the truth that is backed up, as the document claims and documents, by “numerous studies": authentic marriage has at its core the best interests of children who have a right to be raised by “a mum and a dad,” as well as the best interests of those suffering from SSA. To call a “marriage” something that is not is unjust to all involved.
- Call attention to the growing number of cases of discrimination against faithful Christians worldwide where homosexual “marriage” advocates have gained any semblance of power. This section in particular is a much-needed wakeup call for Christians.
- End with a “call to action,” encouraging faithful Catholics to “make [their] views known to [their] parliamentary representatives.”
Overall, this is a brilliant document that could serve as a model for bishops around the world.
So why would such a wonderful document draw heavy fire from the powers that be in Australia? I think you can already guess.