On the face of it, it is a strong positive statement that puts the case of the Catholic understanding of the institution of marriage, drawing heavily on the Catechism.
But it noticeably dodges saying anything about the Churches teaching on homosexuality. And it utterly fails to engage with the claims of homosexuals that they are just like heterosexual families in that they too can have children through various means, and claim them as their own.
Well, I suppose silence is better than the promotion of outright error, as the series of articles on this subject over at Cath News do. But not by much!
Mardi gras outrage
The English bishops statement's omissions presumably reflects the same division of views as is evident amongst the Australian episcopate: despite the Church's clear teaching on the sinful nature of homosexual acts, a number of them do in fact support civil unions, as apparently does Archbishop Nichols of Westminister.
And like the diocese of Westminster, our most nominally conservative diocese, Sydney, continues to promote "Acceptance Masses" masses which on the face of it promote dissent from the Church's teaching on this subject.
Indeed, as every year, the Sydney group participated in the gay Mardi Gras.
This year (and thanks to the reader who alerted me to this), Mardi Gras attendees conducted a mock marriage in front of St Mary's Cathedral, pictured below. According to Testify partygoers also urinated on the cathedral.
I've been waiting for the condemnation of all this from Cardinal Pell. But there has been a deafening silence so far...
Should we just give up already?
Perhaps those (few?) bishops who do actually believe what the Church teaches on this subject no longer think the public debate on this subject can be won.
Certainly, the incident above, and the observed pattern of behaviour suggests that the homosexualist lobby has no compunction in engaging in hateful behaviour to the Church, and doing everything possible to intimidate those who might speak up into silence, even while condemning those who do uphold traditional teaching as homophobes.
Well if homophobia means hating immoral acts, then yes Catholics are homophobes.
But if, on the other hand, as I would argue, homophobia means hating people because they are homosexual, then catholics cannot be smeared in this way. Because catholics believe in loving the sinner; hating the sin.
The Church's official position is about reaching out in a genuine way and seek the conversion of practicising homosexuals, and do everything in its power to help them in their struggle against their disordered tendencies.
But at the same time, it must stand up to those who want to undermine and destroy the very foundations of our society.
At the moment, with the Prime Minister, the Australian Church seems to be resigning itself to the inevitable on this front.
What will it take to awake the slumbering giant? Thank you to the reader who shared this great video rant, sparked by the US healthcare stoush. Do enjoy!