Despite archbishop, Catholic school is safe, respectful and inclusive


A  letter which Archbishop of Hobart Julian Porteous sent to all Catholic schools last month has drawn ire from a Hobart Catholic primary school.

The letter

In the May 2 letter, Porteous railed against the “radicalised transgender lobby”, same-sex marriage and the “woke movement”.

“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.

“We are challenged as to why we do not accept what is now viewed as reasonable and acceptable behaviour.

Since the same-sex marriage plebiscite, “we have seen the growth in what has been referred to as the ‘woke’ movement, seeking to overturn other traditional values and beliefs”.

“This has included the push for ‘diversity and inclusivity’ training in the corporate sector and the attack on the biological reality of being male or female through a radicalised transgender lobby.

“As the Church, we cannot stand by as we experience our freedoms being taken from us.”

The letter was widely distributed among Tasmania’s Catholic schools.

Politicians and LGBTQIA+ advocates criticised it as being transphobic, homophobic and draconian.

School response

After its school community received the letter, one school wrote to parents.

St Cuthbert’s Catholic School told them it had replied to the archbishop. It confirmed it is “committed to developing an inclusive and accepting culture that is in harmony with the Catholic tradition”.

It will “continue to foster a safe, respectful and inclusive environment” for students and the school community.

The Independent Education Union supported St Cuthbert’s response to the archbishop.

“Taking a stand like this on behalf of students, staff and the whole community is in the best tradition of Catholic social justice” the union said.

The Archdiocese of Hobart declined to comment on the school’s response.

By Wednesday evening, the school’s message to parents via an internal communication app had been deleted.

Archbishop rebuked

Concerned Catholics Tasmania (CCT) — a group “committed to renewal and reform in our Church” — rebuked the letter’s “heartless” and “alarmist” tone.

Porteous’s “reference to ‘God’s own people’ is both arrogant and exclusory” and “a form of aggression and violence” the CCT said.

She was concerned that Porteous’s letter suggested “no one is being forced to teach in or be a student in a Catholic school …”.

If they find 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” Poteous wrote.

Hate speech

Tasmanian MP Kristie Johnston criticised the letter as “nothing short of hateful speech”.

Tasmanian LGBTQIA+ advocacy group Equality Tasmania said the letter contained “misinformation and disinformation, and also some homophobic and transphobic beliefs”.


Additional reading

News category: World.

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