Australian archbishop: Church under attack for its stance on marriage
“Faced with this, the church can either compromise and face irrelevance, or continue to teach Christ’s truth about marriage, life and love, and pray that the world will listen,” Archbishop Barry Hickey, retired archbishop of Perth, told pilgrims at the International Eucharistic Congress June 12.
The archbishop told a packed conference hall that “only a few years ago one could safely assume that our understanding of marriage was generally accepted,” but this is no longer the case.
“Increasingly marriage is being promoted as only one of the many options in human sexual relationships,” he said. “Recent years have witnessed a sharp rise in cohabitation before marriage. These so-called partnerships are even taking the place of marriage.”
He said that “adding to this is the pressure to change the very definition of marriage from a union of a man and a woman to a union of two persons of the same sex.”
“The ideal of Christian marriage is under great threat,” he warned.
He said that “the availability of easy divorce undermines the strength of commitment that true marriage requires and encourages the view that marriage is no longer a permanent contract.”
The archbishop said that “this worsening situation is all around us, yet it is rarely the subject of political debate.
“It calls for urgent action at all levels of society. The family is under threat because the institution of marriage is being undermined,” he said.
The June 12 events at the congress concentrated specifically on marriage and the family. While the bright sunshine that marked the opening days was replaced by dark clouds and rain showers, spirits were not dampened as many parents brought along their children. A special “children’s space” allowed for a celebration of faith in song, dance and animation while adults attended the speeches and workshops.
In his address to the congress, Carl Anderson, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, criticized a tendency to see marriage merely as a contract. [More]