Aussie priest slams marriage letter going to schools

A Brisbane priest has hit out against the distribution to school children of a letter from Australia’s bishops arguing against same-sex marriage.

The decision to publish and distribute the “Don’t Mess with Marriage” booklet in Catholic schools across Australia has angered Fr Terry Fitzpatrick.

“I feel angry and disappointed, but not surprised, that the hierarchy of the Catholic Church would chose such a desperate measure to influence the debate on marriage equality,” he told the LGBTI publication the Star Observer.

“It is definitely a sign that they are becoming increasingly despairing and worried that they are on the losing side.”

Fr Fitzpatrick incurred a suspension in Brisbane archdiocese in 2009, after his involvement with a breakaway parish.

This month, he condemned those in the Church responsible for the marriage letter for imposing their religious belief upon others and using children to disseminate their political message.

“They see the last vestiges of their power and influence rapidly disappearing into the sand,” he said.

“They refuse to believe that we live in a secular state and not a religious one where one religion’s laws apply to everyone regardless of their beliefs.

“They cling to the role of being the moral guardian of the nation when this serves neither society nor the Church.”

Marriage equality advocates have described the letter as harmful to children, and have asked Catholic educators to let children hear both sides of the debate if they have already received the letter.

Through his work with a Brisbane charity to support the homeless, Fr Fitzpatrick has witnessed the harm suffered by the LGBTI community through discrimination.

Fr Fitzpatrick said organisations and bodies within the Christian faith have contributed significantly to sexual persecution and should respond to the issue of same-sex marriage with compassion, not further discrimination.

The priest said marriage has been an evolving as a civil and religious institution throughout history.

“It will continue to evolve and soon we will see in this country marriage laws that will include everyone.”


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