Archbishop’s ‘Salt to the Earth’ letter criticised for anti-LGBT stance

A letter from Hobart’s Archbishop Julian Porteous criticises various social issues including transgender rights, legal abortion and same-sex marriage – and has him in trouble.

Titled “We are salt to the earth”, the letter has faced backlash from politicians and LGBTIQA+ advocates.

The May 2 letter was sent initially to Guilford Young College students and later distributed to other Catholic schools in Tasmania.

Archbishop Porteous expressed concern over the imposition of “ideological positions” through legislation, lamenting changes such as the legalisation of same-sex marriage.

He also criticised the “radicalised transgender lobby” and the promotion of “diversity and inclusivity” in corporate sectors.

“What we are now witnessing in our Australian society is the imposition of certain ideological positions on social and moral questions by means of legislation” the archbishop wrote.

Enough is enough

Archbishop Porteous further wrote: “As the Church, we cannot stand by as we experience our freedoms being taken from us.

“The time has come to take a clear stand and say ‘enough is enough’. We do this not just for our own sake but because we believe that Christian teaching is true and offers the only way for individuals, families and societies to fully flourish” he said.

Equality Tasmania president Rowan Richardson criticised the letter for fostering a hostile environment for young people.

“This letter has misinformation and disinformation, and also some homophobic and transphobic beliefs in it.

“The views that are expressed in the letter are draconian and totally out of touch with what actually we need to do to make young people feel safe in schools and ready to learn” Richardson stated.

Hateful speech

In his letter, Archbishop Porteous said staff or students who disagreed with the teachings of the Catholic Church were free to move to a different school.

“If they initially can accept the Catholicity of the school but later find that their personal views are at variance with those of the Catholic faith, then it would only make sense they should seek an alternative educational institution more aligned with their views” he wrote.

Several politicians criticised the “Salt to the Earth” letter.

Independent Tasmanian MP Kristie Johnston, whose child received the letter, condemned its contents as “hateful speech”.

Meanwhile, Tasmanian Greens leader Rosalie Woodruff suggested that it could violate anti-discrimination legislation.

In a statement, the Archdiocese of Hobart said “The letter expresses his concern about threats to religious freedom from the Albanese Government’s proposed legislation. In particular, the letter expresses the Archbishop’s concern about the freedom of Catholic institutions to teach and uphold the Catholic faith”.


ABC News

Catholic Weekly

Archdiocese of Hobart


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