Elite Australian Catholic schools: same-sex marriage is ok

Same-sex marriage is alright. That’s the message put out by two of Australia’s elite Jesuit schools, St Ignatius’ College, Riverview and Xavier College.

Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart is declining to comment on remarks made by the schools last week that seemed to support gay marriage. The Australian Bishops Commission for Catholic Education is also choosing to keep silent.

While the schools have not definitely said they’d vote for gay marriage, they have noted Pope Francis’ teachings on love, mercy and non-judgement in messages to staff, students and parents.

Father Chris Middleton, the rector of Xavier, says the Church should to look at the support among the youth for marriage equality.

‘In my experience, there is almost total unanimity amongst the young in favour of same-sex marriage, and arguments against will have almost no impact on them,’ he says.

He added that young people were driven by a ‘strong emotional commitment to equality’. This is something to respect and admire, he says.

In the opinion of St Ignatius’ rector Father Ross Jones, Catholic couples can ‘in good conscience’ have sexual relationships for reasons besides procreation under the ‘order of reason’ school of Natural Law.

Presumably, same-sex couples, who make such a commitment to each other in good conscience, do so by reflecting on experience and on what it is to be human, using their God-given reason, he says.

Pope Francis wrote in Amoris Laetitia that a person’s “individual conscience needs to be incorporated into the Church’s praxis in certain situations which do not objectively embody our understanding of marriage”.

The Catholic Church teaches that sexual relations are reserved for married couples – consisting of one man and one woman – in the context of sacramental marriage.

“In forming a response to this issue, a properly formed and informed conscience would take into account both the teachings of the Church about the sacrament of marriage, as well as the teachings of the Church about human dignity, which of course includes LGBTI people,” St Ignatius school said in a joint statement attributed to Fr Jones and school principal Paul Hine.

“A discerned response to these issues means holding all of these teachings together,” they said.


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