Bigotry will out

By August 29, 2017Australian Politics

Australia’s most senior catholic, Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart has pointedly warned the church’s 180,000 employees, which comprise teachers, nurses and administrators among others, they were expected to uphold its teachings “totally”, and defiance would be treated “very seriously” he continued: “I would be very emphatic that our schools, our parishes exist to teach a Catholic view of marriage” and “any words or actions which work contrary to that would be viewed very seriously” This was backed up by Archbishop Timothy Costelloe, chair of the Bishops Commission for Catholic Education, who cautioned teachers against “undermining” their schools’ values if same-sex marriage became law. However, this wasn’t unanimously supported. Catholic Health Australia, the country’s largest non-government, non-profit health group, distanced itself from the bishops’ threats1.

As the CEO of Catholic Health, Suzanne Greenwood, said: “we are not converting people to Catholicism” and “It’s not really relevant to the jobs people are performing within the care environment at a hospital or an aged care facility”, and noted that they do not screen people for sexuality or marital status and could not see any reason that would be changed1. She might have a fight on her hands from the befrocked old guard.

The fact that these old men in frocks consider that the job of some of their employees is to teach children the ‘Catholic view of marriage’ simply demonstrates that they are not teaching reading, writing and arithmetic alone, but attempting to indoctrinate children into being future pew-warmers. Keeping bums on seats in a rapidly diminishing franchise in western democracies is their main concern2. Those with no religion now outnumber Catholics in Australian society, and the numbers of people with no religion will continue to grow. That and their concomitant loss of power over people scares the hell out of these old men in frocks.

So, the Catholic Church will sack people despite the fact that being in a same-sex marriage will have no effect on their ability to do their job as nurses, teachers or administrators. They will just be sacked because some celibate old men find the expression of love and commitment between two people who happen to be of the same-sex somehow repugnant, based on the current, transient, interpretation of their holy book. Whichever way you look at that, it is simple bigotry. It is just another example of the great Christian dichotomy3. If a company sacked someone for being in a same-sex relationship, whether married or not, they would be liable for prosecution. That should also apply to the Catholic Church.





  • Jon says:

    The hypocrisy is simply beyond belief. Millions of Catholics don’t follow the church’s teachings totally as Hart knows only too well, nor do a multitude of priests, bishops, cardinals, and nuns – unless of course abuse, and financial and moral corruption now form part of modern Catholic tenets. In Ireland the Catholic Church is no longer seen as the leader or arbiter of moral and ethical behaviour for the very reason that some of those who have donned the frock – male and female – have acted not just in contravention of church rules, but against basic human standards. Recent polls are encouraging though. Despite the pulpit demands that Catholics should vote ‘no’ it appears that many will be ignoring the edict and actually looking to their consciences – something church leaders didn’t do when confronted by the abuse allegations against their frock-mates over decades.

  • Jim says:

    Apart from the bigotry side of things, Hart and Costelloe are simply wasting their time given that people will be filling out the form mainly at home and they will vote however they please. This may well have worked in the 1950s and indeed it did to some extent when some of the the Catholic hierarchy pushed Catholics to vote for the DLP. However, even in the 1950s a relatively small proportion (certainly a lot less than 50%) of Catholics followed the church line, although it was enough to keep the conservative side of politics in power for many years.

    • admin says:


      It is even more pronounced now, with the Rector of St Iggy’s coming out in support of ssm. So, there is even debate among the upper echelons of the Catholic Church, which surprised me in its extent. I really do think that the Catholic Church’s inability to deal effectively, and morally, with the kiddy fiddling has stuffed them very badly. Their perceived moral authority even among their followers has been greatly diminished, and their power concomitantly reduced. Everybody knows what they should have done, but by the time it started to come out, it was too late, as it was obvious that it had ben covered up for decades. I think if they had been more open and honest initially, they would be in much better shape than they are now.

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