Schools in Australia Challenge the Church on So-Called Gay Marriage

Source: FSSPX News

Father Chris Middleton, Rector of Xavier College

Two of the most prestigious Catholic schools in Australia have just shown their open support for “gay marriage” at a time when the debate is raging in the country.

While being careful not to give the impression that they are campaigning for the “yes” vote, the St. Ignatius’ College in Sydney and the Xavier College in Melbourne have taken a public stand, invoking the ideas of mercy and non-discrimination and calling for a “personal examination of conscience” from all.

The two establishments founded and still run by the Jesuits today are very prestigious: several generations of Australian politicians have studied there. Former Prime Minister Tony Abbot and Vice-Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce studied at St. Ignatius, and the current opposition leader Bill Shorten went to Xavier College.

In a letter to parents, the director of the latter establishment, Fr. Chris Middleton, SJ, called for the Church to open her eyes, for “there is almost total unanimity amongst the young in favour of same-sex marriage”. The Jesuit quoted an Irish archbishop telling the Church she needs a “reality check”. Indeed, recent polls commissioned by same-sex “marriage” advocates had 66 percent of Catholics saying they were leaning toward a "yes" vote.

For Fr. Middleton, the “young are driven by a strong emotional commitment to equality, and this is surely something to respect and admire”. He even went so far as to write: “They are idealistic in the value they ascribe to love, the primary gospel value.” The director of St. Ignatius College, Fr. Ross Jones, SJ, went even further: Catholic couples can engage in sexual relationships "in good conscience for reasons other than procreation under the "order of reason" School of natural law, he wrote in his August 24, 2017 letter. 

The religious went on to minimize the role of the Church in a debate that in his opinion is not directly her concern: “The vote relates to marriage as a civil right and is not in essence about the Catholic sacramental understanding of marriage.” It is difficult not to see in this argument the ultimate application of religious liberty that, once transformed into an absolute, dramatically isolates the temporal sphere from the spiritual.

The director of St. Ignatius College, Fr. Jones, concluded by pointing out the “discredit” that has affected the ecclesiastical institution: “To be brutally honest, the church speaking out in controversial areas around sexuality risks being mired in vitriolic attacks on its credibility in the aftermath of the royal commission,” , referring to the recent investigation of charges of abuse of minors implicating several members of the Australian clergy to varying degrees.

In the St. Ignatius newsletter, principal Paul Hine denounced the warning of the Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart. The archbishop was extremely clear: any member of staff working in Catholic establishments who contracted a homosexual civil union will be dismissed.

It is thus a real challenge issued by these two Catholic establishments to the bishops of Australia who, for several weeks now, have been firing on all cylinders for a “no” to the vote coming up in November. In an article recently published in The Australian, Archbishop Anthony Fischer of Sydney even declared that if the “yes” wins out, “it will not fail to lead to a religious persecution”.

In spite of all their efforts, will Australian Catholics succeed in overturning the “yes” tendency which several media outlets reveal in their polls? May these Catholics fight valiantly in defense of natural law and the sanctity of marriage. May God bless Australia and spare her from joining in the cohort of nations that already favor what St. Paul called “shameful affections” (Rom. 1:26).