Reprieve or Victory?

On Tuesday 11th August, things were happening in our parliament.

The Senate (Upper House) were supposed to debate the Bill put forward  a couple of months ago on same -sex marriage. Following Ireland, many MP’s, media and others in society were eager to get on the bandwagon.

Our bishops fought a good fight.  ACL (Australian Christian Lobby, and Citizen Go (a purely secular organization) joined in the fight, gathering many on-line petitions.

This was it. The day had come! The governing party was a coalition of Liberal and National Party members. Unlike the Labor Party, the Liberal  Party could follow party lines and insist that their members voted according to party policy, but the Prime MInister was considering letting his MP’s have a conscience vote.

Everyone thought the result would be a foregone conclusion.

Tony Abbot (our PM) decided that morning to have a meeting with his party and included the Nationals as they were part of the coalition. The result was that there would be no conscience vote. Many MP’s, the media and many others were furious. This was a great risk for the PM as he has always been unpopular with the media.

Was this a victory or just a reprieve? We like to see it as a small victory and an answer to the many, many prayers we have been offering up for the last 2 months. The same on-line petitions are back, urging us to congratulate our MP’s and PM on their decision – to thank them in standing up for the family.

We will not stop praying – we all know the power of prayer. Wherever you live – never give up. We must fight the fight till the end.

At the end of our prayer group meeting today we sang a hymn as usual . As it was the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady in 2 days, and because of this small victory we sang a hymn to Australia’s patroness – Mary, Help of Christians :

Help of Christians, guard this land,
From assault or inward stain;
let it be what Christ has planned,
His new Eden where you reign.

Teach us that in Christ your Son
Lies the wisdom to be free;
For the Cross, which we would shun,
Is man’s Tree of Liberty.

Should the powers of hell arise,
And our peace be trampled down,
In that night of blood and lies
Show us still your twelve-starred crown.

 Take from us the coward heart,
Fleeting will, divided mind,
Give us sight to play our part,
Though the world around is blind.

 Image of the risen life
Shining in eternity
Glimmer through our earthly strife,
Draw us to your victory.

Editor’s note: This hymn is an old one but it seems to be written for our day.

Praised be Jesus Christ! Amen!

 

The Secular World joins the fight for Marriage

We are fighting  the (spiritual) fight of our lives. As explained in previous posts, Australian Bishops took up the fight with their letter “Don’t mess with Marriage” and various other strategies since then. This fight is just not in our political sphere ( with the final bill still having to pass the Senate) in our country; it is not only a fight for our Faith, but a fight for society.

I was surprised (initially) to receive an email from “Citizen Go” which supports many good causes and puts great pressure on governments. Their network is able to collect many more petitions than we could even envisage.

Following is part of their letter:

In one of the more striking passages, they say:
“Their [husbands and wives] physical, spiritual, psychological and sexual differences show they are meant for each other, their union makes them whole, and through their union ‘in one flesh’ they together beget children who are ‘flesh of their flesh’. They share the sameness of humanity but enjoy the difference of their masculinity and femininity, being husband and wife, paternity and maternity. Same-sex friendships are of a very different kind: to treat them as the same does a grave injustice to both kinds of friendship and ignores the particular values that real marriages serve.” (p. 9)
With some frequency, the letter returns to the importance of being able to make distinctions between things that are the same and things that are different. Each time, however, the conclusion is the same: though we are called to treat everyone with equal dignity because of our same humanity, we must still acknowledge that marriage and same-sex friendship are different.

Support the Australian Bishops Conference: Don’t Mess  with Marriage!:
Click on the link below to read their article and sign the petition:

http://www.citizengo.org/en/27738-dont-mess-marriage?tc=gm&tcid=15034

Archbishop Anthony Fisher keeps up the pressure

As mentioned in previous post, Archbishop Anthony Fisher O.P. delivered a lecture on 2nd July at St Mary’s Cathedral College Hall. His topic was

“Same-Sex ‘Marriage’: Evolution or Deconstruction of Marriage and the Family?” Defence of the Faith Lecture, Order of Malta NSW Branch
Picture1

His introduction sums up the stance he took, which was to convince everybody, not just those with Faith. He emphasis shows his viewpoint – that it is not “a done deal” – that we must fight, and fighting he is. See previous blog with details.

“The campaign to redefine marriage has recently gained such momentum – with now three and soon four bills before the Commonwealth Parliament – that many think it is inevitable; this can leave those with misgivings feeling that they are already losers in a done deal. Some think it’s the inexorable progress of liberty and equality – which leaves the doubters ‘on the wrong side of history’. In this context supporters of classical marriage are presumed to have no real arguments to offer. So tonight I want to offer some reasons – not decrees from on high or from the past, not expressions of hatred or prejudice – but reasons I hope anyone can understand. I also hope you find these reasons persuasive and helpful in proclaiming and witnessing to true marriage among your families, friends and colleagues. But even if you disagree with me on this matter, I hope tonight’s talk will help you understand why Australian law has always held, and many people still hold, that marriage is for people of opposite sex.

I will examine five common slogans in this debate – that it’s all about justice, that sexual differences don’t matter, that it’s all about love, that it’s all about the numbers and that it doesn’t affect me. Along the way I will be offering some reasons for preserving the classical understanding of marriage rather than redefining it to include same-sex ‘marriage’ (SSM)[1].”

Full details of his lecture can be found at :

http://sydneycatholic.org/people/archbishop/addresses/2015/2015722_1232.shtml

It is a bit long, but it is broken up into parts, with interesting quotes, diagrams and cartoons. It is a MUST to read.

Australian Bishops take action!!

  • Cardinal George Pell criticizes Pope Francis’ encyclical stating  “But the church has no particular expertise in science … the church has got no mandate from the Lord to pronounce on scientific matters. We believe in the autonomy of science,” Pell told the Financial Times on Thursday (July 16).

Until now, Pell had remained quiet on the contents of the encyclical, despite gaining a reputation in Australia as a climate change denier. In 2011, he clashed with the then-head of Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, Greg Ayers, who said Pell was “misled” in his climate change views

See full article at: http://thewandererpress.com/breaking/cardinal-george-pell-takes-a-swing-at-pope-francis-environmental-encyclical/

  • The Australian Bishops’ Conference released a  9 page booklet on 28th May, entitled “Don’t Mess with Marriage”, which was distributed to all parishes and to all Catholic schools in various states.
  • Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, on 12th July, celebrated the inaugural Annual Marriage Mass with Renewal of Vows at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney.

Following are excerpts of his homily:

… In our first reading today, the Prophet Amos is warned to get out of Bethel because the locals would tolerate his prophesying no longer (Am 7:12-15). So too the stories of the couples celebrating significant anniversaries at this time are “signs of contradiction” for our prevailing culture. Marriage, as traditionally understood, … meant a comprehensive bodily, psychological and spiritual union between a man and a woman whereby they become “one flesh” and so found a family. That’s why these couples did not promise to become ‘spouses’ or ‘partners’ but to become ‘husband’ and a ‘wife’. That’s why they promised to be faithful (‘for better, for worse’, ‘to the exclusion of all others’) and fruitful (open to new life) and final (indissoluble, ’till death do us part’). These dimensions of real marriage make it a prophetic sign today, a sign of contradiction, because some want to reduce marriage to no more than a public statement of a physical-emotional bond between any two people. …. Marriage brings together and attempts to hold together things that otherwise tend to fall apart: man and woman, sex and love, love and babies, parents and children…

But there are voices in our culture that no longer think marriage need be for life, or be open to children, or be exclusive, or be between man and wife. They write off as benighted and bigoted those who stand by marriage as traditionally understood. As a result Christian couples today can find themselves in a position like Amos; so too can faithful pastors and single people who stand by them and the institution of marriage. This can be an uncomfortable position, for some politically, culturally and commercially powerful forces are determined to silence any alternative to the politically correct position in this matter; to bully us all into accepting the deconstruction and redefinition of a fundamental institution; and to relegate questions of what marriage is and is for as secondary to an homogenizing ‘equality’.

… So real marriage illuminates our understanding of the Christ-to-Church relationship. In turn, it strengthens our resolve to support marriages, so they really can be faithful, fruitful, final unions of people of opposite sex, while also supporting and loving people in other situations too. Thank-you dear married couples for your prophetic role in teaching us all how to love and to bear witness to Christ. May God bless you abundantly! May you all reach 75 years of marriage and die in each others arms!

For the full article see: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3147837/PICTURED-dying-embrace-husband-wife-married-75-years-died-just-hours-apart-held-hands-bed.html?ito=social-facebook

  • Australia’s bishops reaffirm marriage – and get reported to governmentBy Kevin J. Jones See for full article: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/australias-bishops-reaffirm-marriage-and-get-reported-to-government-54284/
    Hobart, Tasmania, Jul 8, 2015 / 03:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In a recent pastoral letter on marriage, Australia’s Catholic bishops reaffirmed Catholic teaching. And one of the bishops has countered a leading same-sex marriage activist who said the pastoral letter should be reported to the Tasmanian government for illegal bias.

    “The Catholic Church in Tasmania is exercising its right to freedom of opinion, just as opponents to the Church’s views on marriage are also exercising their rights,” Archbishop Julian Porteous of Hobart said, according to the Catholic Leader newspaper.

    His comments concern the booklet “Don’t Mess with Marriage,” a pastoral letter the Australian bishops’ conference released May 28. He said the booklet “explains the meaning of marriage enshrined in our laws from a religious perspective.”

    Australian political leaders are considering whether to define marriage in law to recognize same-sex unions as civil marriages.

    “A document defending the current law in our nation could hardly be called discrimination,” Archbishop Porteous said.

    “We are being asked to abandon the plan of God for marriage and family (and) this would be a disastrous step to take.”

    The pastoral letter was sent home with students of Catholic high schools in several archdioceses, including Hobart. It stressed both respect for all and respect for the unique nature of marriage as a union of man and a woman.

    Randy Croome, national director of the gay marriage advocacy group Australian Marriage Equality, claimed the booklet is illegal under the law of the Australian state of Tasmania. His group cited laws that bar offensive conduct, inciting hatred, and publishing notices that promote or express discrimination.

    “The booklet likely breaches the Anti-Discrimination Act and I urge everyone who finds it offensive and inappropriate, including teachers, parents and students, to complain to the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner,” Croome said June 24.

    A formal complaint against the archbishop has been filed with the commissioner, according to the newspaper The Australian.

    Lyle Shelton, a spokesman for the non-denominational group The Christian Lobby, said Croome’s effort was an “outrageous” attempt to “dictate what a private religious school can and cannot say about marriage.”

    “Where have we come to as a society when the political activists for redefining marriage want to use the law to stop children in religious schools from being taught that religion’s teaching?” he said June 25.

    “If a family sends their child to a Christian school they should not be surprised if their children are taught the faith and morals of the school’s religious identity.”

    Australian Marriage Equality has attracted powerful allies in its push to redefine marriage. These include major businesses such as Google. Polls indicate a majority of Australians at present support redefining marriage.


    “Also we see schools as part of the evangelizing mission of the Church, not apart from it,” he told the Catholic Leader. He said advocacy of marriage redefinition is “saturating mainstream and social media.”

    “There is very little given to the opposing viewpoint,” he said.

    The pastoral letter itself rejected claims that Australian law and Catholic teaching on marriage wrongly discriminate.

    “If marriage is an institution designed to support people of the opposite sex to be faithful to each other and to the children of their union it is not discrimination to reserve it to them,” the bishops wrote. They compared marriage to programs that specially target Aborigines, refugees, children, athletes, and those with disabilities.


    “As Christians we must be willing to present the truth about marriage, family and sexuality and to do so charitably and lovingly.”
    See full article at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-24/catholic-church-attacks-businesses-over-gay-marriage-support/6570082

  • Catholic Church in Sydney is writing to businesses backing same-sex marriage, outlining ‘grave concerns’
    The World Today
    By Mandie Sami
    Updated 25 Jun 2015, 8:43am

    The Catholic Church in Sydney is sending letters to companies that publicly support same-sex marriage, expressing its “grave concern” about their stance.
    The Archdiocese of Sydney has targeted some of the 150 businesses that put their names and logos to recent newspaper advertisements supporting gay marriage.See: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3125631/Anti-sex-marriage-letter-titled-Don-t-Mess-Marriage-handed-Catholic-schools
  • Various campaigns are being promoted, such as Rosary campaigns and letter writing campaigns to politicians to keep up the pressure before parliament makes a final decision on the bill that was introduced by a private member.
  • Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP will deliver a lecture to assist Australian Catholics to understand and articulate their Faith. The Archbishop will be talking on an issue of great contemporary importance, covering Marriage and Family and their role in the social fabric.The lecture is to be held in St Mary’s Cathedral College Hall on Tues. 22 JUly. (This is Supported by the Order of Malta NSW in conjunction with the Archdiocese of Sydney)

Receiving Jesus’ Heart – Corpus Christi

(Jesus says)
“…The Eucharist is the Heart of God.

It is My Heart.

I gave you My Heart at the Last Supper.

I always give it to you, provided you want it…

When in a woman’s womb a child is formed. What is formed first of all?

The heart.

So it is with the life of the Spirit.

You will not give the Christ unless you form His Heart in yourselves by loving the
Eucharist –which is Life and true Life…

I communicate … pulsations to your hearts when you receive Me.

Your carnal and intellectual heaviness does not let you perceive them, but I give them to you.

Open yourselves entirely to receive Me…

My Heart is a living Eucharist.

Where does love start from?

From the heart.

What is the Eucharist?

It is love.

When you think then of the Eucharist, you can say to yourselves,

“This the Heart of Jesus’ Heart”…

(Maria Valtorta, 1944)

Don’t Mess With Marriage – a Pastoral Letter from Australia’s Catholic Bishops

Good news from Aussie bishops witnessing with acts of truth for Jesus

Click on the link below to read the letter, then

click on the link within the letter to read the document on the Family.

“Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
28 May 2015

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP

Catholic Bishops of Australia have written a pastoral letter to all Australians  as the debate  on same-sex  “marriage” gains momentum.

The Bishops want to highlight not only the meaning of marriage but the implications in redefining marriage.

The letter says at this time in history there is much discussion about the meaning of marriage. Some suggest that it is unjustly discriminatory not to allow people with same-sex attraction to marry someone of the same sex. Others believe that marriage is an institution uniting a man and a woman.”  Read more at

http://www.sydneycatholic.org/news/latest_news/2015/2015528_1872.shtml

Let us continue to pray and fast for Cardinal  Pell  and Archbishop Anthony Fisher and all the priests and bishops of the Catholic Church in Australia.

May this witness to the truth and unity of bishops in Australia continue at the synod in October and beyond.