US Church should follow Australian bishops’ lead on marriage

US apologist Tim Staples answering live questions on US Catholic radio show Catholic Answers Live.
US apologist Tim Staples answering live questions on US Catholic radio show Catholic Answers Live.

US Catholic apologist Tim Staples has heaped praise on Archbishop Julian Porteous and on the Australian bishops for “having the audacity to teach Catholics the truth about the nature of marriage,” saying the US Church should follow suit.

In a 4 December opinion piece, Mr Staples, the director of apologetics and evangelisation at Catholic Answers, praised the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference-produced booklet Don’t Mess With Marriage for its “plain” and “succinct” style.

“It is refreshing to read a document from the Church that is unambiguous, clear, and popular in expression. The Australian bishops and Archbishop Porteous do not mince words,” Mr Staples writes.

“This is a brilliant document that could serve as a model for bishops around the world.”

The booklet has been much maligned by same-sex marriage campaigners in Australia and is the subject of an anti-discrimination complaint made against the Archbishop of Hobart, Archbishop Julian Porteous.

Archbishop Porteous distributed Don’t Mess With Marriage in sealed envelopes to the families of students at Catholic schools earlier this year.

The complainant, transgender activist and Greens candidate Martine Delaney, complained that the document caused hurt by suggesting that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people were unable to have relationships equal to traditional marriage.

She also baulked at the suggestion that “messing with marriage” was “messing with kids”, alleging that the bishops were trying to cast a pejorative sexual connotation on LGBTI people.

Last month, she directed Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Robin Banks, to send her complaint to conciliation with Archbishop Porteous after the commissioner advised the archbishop that she would allow the complaint to proceed to investigation.

In his opinion piece, Mr Staples gave his own take on why “the media and the increasingly secular Western world do not seem to get it”.

“Marriage was instituted by God. No bishop or bishop’s conference, not even the pope himself, has the power to change it. No amount of protests by zealots, or arrests and persecutions by governments up to and including putting Catholics to death (we’re not there yet, but …), will ever change this perennial and infallible teaching of our Catholic Faith.”

The full piece can be read here.

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