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Catholic bishops call on political leaders to shore up traditional marriage

NEWS | Anne Lim

Monday 16 May 2016

The Catholic bishops of Australia have called on both sides of politics not to undermine further “the dignity and uniqueness of marriage as a lifelong union of man and woman.”

In a 2016 federal election statement released today, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference says political decisions can damage the institution of marriage and hurt families.

“At the heart of a healthy social environment there is marriage and the family. Yet political decisions can end up undermining marriage and providing less and less support for families despite a rhetoric that claims otherwise,” the ACBA said.

Labor has promised to legalise same-sex marriage within 100 days if elected, while the Coalition has promised to hold a plebiscite on the issue if re-elected at the July 2 federal poll.

“Support for marriage and the family does not look like a big vote-winner so that even the most basic human institution, upon which the health of a society depends, can become part of the throwaway culture or at best an optional extra,” the peak organising body for the church’s bishops said.

The statement is being issued to bishops, priests, dioceses, parishes, schools and Catholic workplaces and is addressed to “Catholics and all people of goodwill.”

Meanwhile, the moderator of the Presbyterian Church, David Cook, called on Christian Labor voters to add their names to the various petitions to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten for the ALP to “reverse their catastrophic policy.”

“A change to the Marriage Act to provide for SSM [same-sex- marriage] will add momentum to Australia’s moral decline and will very much change the type of society we leave to our children and grandchildren,” he said in a statement.

Cook said he had seriously considered voting informally in this election, at least in the House of Representatives.

“I have no enthusiasm for either my sitting Liberal member or his ALP alternative,” he said.

“However this is a big single issue and such issues rarely arise. Abortion reform is one such issue; however, both major parties are equally unacceptable on this issue and give us no real choice.

“SSM, however, offers us an alternative: at least we get to have a say in a national plebiscite. As time passes by in this campaign, this issue may get buried in many other emerging policies, I urge you not to lose concentration, this is a generational opportunity to vote responsibly in a way which may forestall moral decline and promote societal stability.”

 

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