Paramatta bishop says show respect in gay marriage vote

Individual opinions about Australia’s gay marriage postal survey are personal, Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen of Parramatta Diocese says.

In a pastoral letter published on the Catholic Outlook website last week, Nguyen said “when voting there must be a deep sense of respect for all concerned, and for the opinion and decision that each person is free to make.”

Regardless of the survey outcome or any legislation that follows, Nguyen says the church’s view that God established marriage to be a permanent union between a man and woman will not change.

However, for many Catholics, “the issue of same-sex marriage is not simply theoretical but deeply personal,” his letter says.

“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.”

Nguyen added that “as a community of disciples, we seek to accommodate, accompany and care for one another irrespective of sexual orientation, marital status and situation.”

The survey, which focuses on civil rather than sacramental marriage, will provide the Australian government with a feel for the nation’s opinions. There is no obligation for the government to change the law as a result of the survey outcomes.

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News category: World.

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