WOLLONGONG, Australia (ChurchMilitant.com) - Faithful Catholics in the Australian diocese of Wollongong are expressing frustration after the bishop canceled a presentation defending marriage, instead joining LGBT activists in their pro-homosexual propaganda on church property.
On June 14 the Australian Family Association (AFA) was scheduled to deliver a presentation at the hall of St. Therese Catholic School in Wollongong, about 50 miles south of Sydney. The AFA describes as its mission "to cultivate within society an appreciation that the integrity and well-being of the family is essential to the stability, morale, security and prosperity of the Australian nation."
A flyer for the event was emailed to parents with children attending St. Therese, and some dissenting parents objected, calling the event "highly offensive" and "extremely bigoted." An email complaint to the school maintains, "There are many families within our school community that would be extremely offended by this type of ignorant propaganda as they are not a 'family' as is defined."
On June 8, Bp. Peter Ingham defended the right of the school to host the AFA, noting the school hall is not being inappropriately used, maintaining it is "used for both parish and school purposes as well as public events such as being a voting place during the Federal Election."
He went on to chide the objectors: "I find it difficult for anyone to justify an argument for tolerance, equality and diversity and then attempt to silence other voices that express an alternative perspective."
He asserted that the AFA's presentation conforms to Catholic teaching on marriage, quoting Pope Francis, and concluded, "[It] is my hope that the upcoming presentation discussing the full ideal of marriage would be done in a respectful and compassionate manner enabling people who attend to be well informed."
UNITY Wollongong, a LGBT activist group, had planned a protest outside the gates of St. Therese for AFA's presentation. The Orlando massacre of June 13, however, where Omar Mateen, a homosexual Muslim, killed 49 people in a gay nightclub in Florida, led to a rescheduling of the event.
"I believe that, in the interests of compassion and sensitivity to all who are mourning the tragic events in Orlando," stated Bp. Ingham in a letter published the next day, "this conversation would be better suited for another time, and therefore tonight's presentation has been postponed."
UNITY Wollongong has invited us to join a vigil outside the gates of St. Therese West Wollongong tonight at 7 p.m. I have contacted UNITY to accept their invitation. After consultation with the Parish Priest, Fr. David O'Brien, we have offered for the vigil to be held inside the gates of St. Therese to ensure a safe event. I will be attending tonight's vigil and I am calling on those who were planning to attend the AFA presentation also to join me in peace and solidarity.
Bishop Ingham noted there were still "concerns [remaining] about the implications of changing the definition of civil marriage," but "[o]ur primary call to action today is to stand together ... in solidarity against violence."