Bishop of Sale leads opposition campaign

CATHOLIC Bishop of Sale the Most Rev Christopher Prowse has been put at the centre of a Catholic Church campaign against gay marriage.

Victoria’s six Catholic bishops have sent 80,000 copies of a letter encouraging Catholics to inform Members of Parliament of their views on two Bills to change the local definition of marriage in Australia.

The bishops also encouraged Catholics to respond to the online survey being conducted by the Federal Parliament Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs.

Bishop Prowse, who has been given the responsibility to speak publicly on behalf of the Victorian bishops, said the church and all Catholics had a responsibility to speak with compassion “about the truth of the human person”.

Bishop Prowse believed it would be a grave mistake to redefine marriage, with implications for the future of society should the legal definition of marriage be changed.

“The bishops believe that the truth of what it means to be a human person is central to our understanding of marriage,” he said.

“The church firmly believes that marriage is founded on the wonderful fact of sexual difference and its potential for new life. Without this there would be no human life and no future.

“Same sex marriage is impossible, because it attempts to cut loose marriage from its grounding in our biological life.”

Marriage equality advocates have rejected the bishops’ claims gay marriage would undermine family life and damage society.

Australian Marriage Equality national convener Alex Greenwich also urged supporters of gay marriage to complete the parliamentary survey.

“All supporters of marriage equality need to tell the Archbishop and other opponents that we come in peace,” he said.

“Research of the impact of marriage equality overseas has shown that couples feel more committed and families more secure when given the right to marry.”

Mr Greenwich said he was heartened by the strong support for marriage equality from other faith groups and Christians.

“Polling shows a majority of Christians support marriage equality, and this is because they value love, equality, and fairness,” he said.

“We also welcome the fact that the Union of Progressive Judaism and the Quakers have formally embraced marriage equality.”