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Australian archbishop urges Catholics not to accept equal marriage

Australian archbishop urges Catholics not to accept equal marriage

Archbishop Anthony Fisher

The Archbishop of Sydney has told Catholics not to be ‘bullied’ into supporting equal marriage.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher said the faithful are often labelled as ‘bigoted’ over their same-sex marriage stance, with political and cultural forces trying to ‘bully us all’ into redefining marriage.

He said they should love and respect all, without accepting same-sex marriage.

The Guardian reported that Fisher was speaking yesterday to a congregation of more than 120 married couples who were renewing their wedding vows at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney. They were celebrating more than 1,700 years of marriage between them.

‘What is so special about these relationships,’ Fisher told the congregation, ‘Is that they bring together, for life, people of opposite sex.

‘We all know and love people who have genuinely given marriage their all, and yet it has fallen apart. We all know and love others who have tried, and failed, to have children.

‘We all know and love others again with same-sex attraction, who understandably want their friendships to last and be honored.

‘We know and love others again whose vocation has been to remain single and find other ways to serve life and love. To say marriage is special is not to demean these other realities. Rather, it respects the diverse ways of being human and of loving – not pretending away the differences.’

Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott is a staunch opponent of equal marriage, but has recently been under pressure from equality groups and political opponents to allow a free vote on the issue.

Last week, the country’s agriculture minister said the country should not allow same-sex marriage as it would damage cattle exports.