COMMENT: A matter of Church or State?

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Megan Birch, ECU Reporter

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One word comes to mind when I think of the Catholic Church: Hypocrites.

Last week Sydney’s Archbishop Anthony Fisher advocated the “no” vote in a Sunday congregation at St Mary’s Cathedral, stating that the government should “keep out of the bedroom”

When I saw his speech pop up on every major news channel that fateful Sunday I could only cringe at the Church’s self-righteous approach to the same-sex marriage debate.

So let’s take a look at exactly what was said by Sydney’s Archbishop.

“The state has no business telling us who we should love and how, sexually or otherwise and for how long, let alone for life.”

Now correct me if I’m wrong but the same-sex marriage survey asks citizens if the law should be changed to allow same sex couples to marry, and says nothing about forcing people to love someone or even marry them.

Furthermore, the statement is shrouded with hypocrisy, claiming the state has no business telling us who we should love, so why then do the church belief it’s their business to tell us who we should love or even marry?

Fisher continued saying: “Government in general should keep out of the friendship business and out of the bedroom.

“The only kind of friendship the state has a proper interest in recognising and regulating is heterosexual marriage, because that’s what leads to children – new citizens – and gives them the best start in life.”

To this I had two immediate responses. One, the Church should keep out of the bedroom and two, the Church should keep out of politics.

The Church claims that their decision to oppose same sex marriage is in the best interest of the child. But how on earth can we trust an organisation to protect the best interest of a child when they can’t even do it themselves.

For decades, the Church chose to protect the reputation of the church over the protection of children, with one in every 15 (about 7%) of clergy abusing children, according to a report by the Centre of Global Research at RMIT University in Melbourne.

When the same sex marriage debate began, we saw a slew of letters from Catholic Archbishops around the nation defining what marriage is.

Melbourne’s Archbishop Denis Hart said in a letter, “The Catholic Church, along with other faith traditions, teaches that marriage is a natural institution established by God to be a permanent union between one man and one woman, intended towards the formation of a family in which children are born and nurtured.”

But in fact, in Australia, marriage is regulated by the state and is a secular institution, so the argument that marriage is an institution established by god is completely flawed. Legally when a priest performs a marriage they do so on behalf of the state.

So maybe the Catholic Church should take their own advice and stay out of the bedroom, and our politics.

The deadline for the postal vote to be returned is October 27 and the results will be released on November 15.

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About the Writer
Megan Birch, ECU Reporter

Megan is studying Broadcasting at Edith Cowan University and has a passion for news and public speaking. During her studies she completed work...

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COMMENT: A matter of Church or State?