Australia-wide – August 2015

The Australian Ordinary, Monsignor Harry Entwistle, has kindly sent us this month’s issue of “Australia-Wide”, which you can access by clicking on the banner heading below:

Australia-wide - Aug 2015Msgr Entwistle writes: “You might find something in this of use. Blessings. Msgr Harry”


As always, the Australian Ordinariate’s newsletter is communicative, open and evangelistically dynamic. Full details of the clergy conference are made available and a clear direction is given by the Ordinary. This compares favourably with the restrictive communications policy in North America.

However, I must express my surprise and discomfort at the Editor’s decision to include an article on same-gender “marriage” which exceeds the bounds of good taste. Despite the disclaimer under Australia-Wide’s heading, the newsletter goes out with a quasi-official status and at least the tacit Imprimatur of the Ordinary.

I for one do not wish to read about “the reality of homosexual behaviour which … will repel and shock people” and about homosexuals who will “lose their soul and spend an eternity in hell” in an Ordinariate publication. It may surprise some people that the majority of homosexuals who seek to marry, wish to do so because they LOVE their partner and want to bear witness publicly to their commitment to the person they love, however “perverse” some of their sexual activities may be.

By the way, many of our Catholic heterosexuals are also involved in similar “perverse” activities, while a significant number of homosexuals are not, and the vast majority of our heterosexual youth is engaged in extra-marital sexual acts on a regular basis! So by all means point out what we believe licit and virtuous sexual behaviour to be – and I have regularly tried to do so in my religious education classes – and let’s leave the invective to the fundamentalist tub-thumpers.

David Murphy

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19 Responses to Australia-wide – August 2015

  1. Ben Sirach says:

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church – to which all Catholics must assent says:

    2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

    Take it or leave it!

  2. EPMS says:

    Same-sex marriage has been legal in Canada for 14 years. Statements concerning more recent decisions, such as that of the US Supreme Court, implying that The Family, Civilization, etc will shortly be coming to an end clearly do not reflect rational thinking on this subject. The rate of non-compliance with the Church’s teaching on birth control among Catholics is over 90%. Does this fact “shock and repel” people? Do we see warnings that the overwhelming majority of Catholic couples face “an eternity in hell”? I am not talking about the moral or ethical issue. I am talking about the emotional response. The discrepancy is telling; a number of psychological explanations suggest themselves, and none of them adds anything to a useful discussion. Like you I am surprised that this article was given some kind of stamp of approval.

    • Rev22:17 says:


      You wrote: The rate of non-compliance with the Church’s teaching on birth control among Catholics is over 90%. Does this fact “shock and repel” people? Do we see warnings that the overwhelming majority of Catholic couples face “an eternity in hell”?

      Unfortunately, this is the fruit of too many pastors who have put the proverbial cart before the horse for far too long, stressing external behavior rather than true conversion of heart and submission to the Lordship of Christ Jesus. When this internal conversion and submission are real, the external behavior naturally follows. When this internal conversion and submission are lacking, people pay lip service to the truth and go through the motions only when there is manifest social pressure to do so. This social pressure historically brought external compliance in traditionally “Catholic” cultures or ghettos, but the compliance ceases as soon as individuals leave those social situation.


  3. Fr Stephen says:

    EPMS – you have just proven the author’s point.

  4. Fr Stephen says:

    David – the Catholic Church has never been about what people do or don’t want to read about. The Gospel is a call to conversion. Time and time again it has fallen to the Church to say what no-one else will say and what no-one else wants to hear. The “Gospel of nice” doesn’t work, because it fails to compel anyone to examine how they need Jesus working in their lives. Civilisations have come and gone, but the Church remains. Anyone who thinks that our own civilisation will last for ever is not living reality. Our civilisation has many hallmarks of the Roman Empire shortly before its collapse. What governments might do, or even individual Catholics who might make up some statistical majority who fail to live up to Christ’s teaching, is really neither here nor there – because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is immutable. We cannot have the luxury of picking and choosing what we do or don’t like – the Church is divinely compelled to preach the teaching of Christ in its full integrity, even if it goes against the current of the day, or of perceived “good taste”.

    Perhaps you might also consider the irony of your statement commending Australia Wide for being “open” as opposed to the “restrictive communications policy in North America.” So which one is it to be? There are already too many Catholic publications that are utterly crippled because of apparatchiks who zealously make sure that everything is “nice” lest we scare anyone off.

    • David Murphy says:

      Father Stephen,

      I feel myself completely misrepresented here. I did not suggest that we can pick and choose which teachings we like or not, and if the “Gospel of Nice” means watering down teaching, I am also not in favour. But I do not think the “Gospel of Fire and Brimstone” should be our message either. I much prefer the idea of hating the sin and loving the sinner.

      You will note that I wrote about not being silent about what we believe virtuous sexual behaviour to be. What I did not feel comfortable reading were inflammatory statements which present Catholic beliefs at the very least one-sidedly and showed no concern whatsoever for the individual, his feelings and motivations.

      By the way, a restrictive news policy is a totally different thing from not providing those people with a platform who throw invective around, so there is nothing ironical there.

      David Murphy

      • Fr Stephen says:

        Thank you David. If we are going to accept all of the teachings of the Church, then the reality of hell is one of them. I certainly do not consider myself a “fire and brimstone” preacher, but neither do I think that it hurts for people to be reminded that there are consequences for turning against God and in places the bible (and Jesus himself) uses very strong language to describe these consequences. I am presuming the phrase that some folks seem to think is too confronting is this one “What does it gain the homosexual lobby group to have the law changed so that they can rule Ireland but lose their soul and spend an eternity in Hell?” – this is a play on words of Matthew 16:26, “For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life.”

        The writer of the article in question has adopted a particular tone, that I probably would not have adopted, but I see nothing in it that is incompatible with the teaching of the Church. I have re-read the article several times and am unable to find the invective that seems to have offended.

      • David Murphy says:

        I think I prefer the Matthew 16:26 original.

  5. Federico Z says:

    As a regular reader of this blog I must say that I was very glad to read Mr. Murphy’s comment (as well as the one by EPMS). It seems to me that it puts things in the right prospective when it comes to the debate among Catholics on these issues, especially for what concerns the ‘the emotional response’.
    Thank you both very much for that.

  6. Antonia says:

    Thank you for your comments, David. I agree with all you say: such judgmental -dare I say unchristian? -language and attitude shames us, and rightly leaves us open to judgment. I would certainly not wish to associate myself with it, and I hope people will read the disclaimer and not think this represents the Ordinariate(s) as a whole.

  7. Ben Sirach says:

    All those who were received into the Ordinariates under the provisions of Anglicanorum Coetibus had to affirm publicly that they accepted the Teaching of the Catholic Church as expressed in the Catechism and that they submitted to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. It’s no use wriggling now and saying something different. Either the preparation for reception was inadequate and people did not know what they were taking on or there was a deception when the commitment was made.
    Like remarriage after divorce, there can be no different belief or practice in this matter in the Ordinariates from those of the whole Catholic Church or we are back to the ‘Pick and Mix’ from whence we came.

    • David Murphy says:

      This is most offensive, Ben Sirach. If I have dared to make a comment about extreme language, it most certainly does not mean that Ordinariate Catholics do not believe the teachings of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Nobody is wriggling, except maybe from pain at having to read invective in an Ordinariate publication.

      • Harry says:

        Well said David, it’s sad that some missed the point you were trying to make,
        “So by all means point out what we believe licit and virtuous sexual behaviour to be – and I have regularly tried to do so in my religious education classes – and let’s leave the invective to the fundamentalist tub-thumpers.”
        Perhaps this may be of help:
        see paragraphs 50, 51 and 52.
        Invective rarely helps.

      • Ben Sirach says:

        There was no offence intended or implied in my statement of fact. I am in agreement with what you say. However, I am concerned that there are those who insist (and proclaim) that the Teaching of the Church is wrong even after making the declarations of acceptance of the Catechism and the authority of the Magisterium – and openly display that defiance in their own lives. I speak in my personal capacity and from personal experience, but am a Priest in one of the Ordinariates.

      • David Murphy says:


        I am pleased that my views reflect those of the hundreds of synod fathers who supported this intermediate statement to which you have linked. Unfortunately this is the document that caused the conservatives to begin mounting their campaign to underpin orthodox teaching.

        I think it is a tragedy that those who – while not altering Catholic beliefs an iota – try to show love and compassion to people who are struggling are considered to be on the brink of herecy, if not already there.

        Of course Jesus said some hard words – this past Sunday’s gospel reading gives an example – but he also lived among sinners and loved them without watering down his beliefs. Those who accused him of blasphemy and apostasy have, I believe, been proven wrong.

  8. Harry says:

    My main concern is about ‘fundamentalist tub-thumpers’ who show neither love or compassion to those they attack or as you say, are equally without understanding for those who who try to reach out to those they attack. Having grown up in N Ireland I’ve had more than enough experience of fundamentalists and their effects on society.
    It is interesting that only three of the 58 paragraphs of the ‘relatio’ deal with homosexuality but yet it seems lately to have assumed major importance in the minds of some conservatives who are convinced that gay people pose a major threat to marriage and society as a whole. There are greater threats to marriage, have you watched ‘Don’t tell the bride’ for example, or what about Ashley Madison web site? Some including those in the Ordinariate, seem to go as far as to suggest that one’s attitudes to gay people should be a yardstick for orthodoxy and that troubles me deeply.

  9. Rev22:17 says:


    There are two major errors with respect to the issue of homosexuality.

    >> On the one hand, conservatives tend to assume that homosexual orientation is a free choice of the individual, and thus is itself a matter of ongoing sin. In fact, this is seldom the case. Rather, in western culture, nearly all homosexual men have deep psychological scars, often rooted in early childhood, that stem from the combination of a “father figure” who is either absent or abusive, either physically or emotionally, and a “mother figure” whose efforts to shield the child therefrom actually smother the child’s emotional development, usually in early childhood. (There is a vastly different, but equally damaging, dynamic behind homosexuality among the fa’afafine — literally, “false women” of Polynesian culture, but I won’t go into that here.) Most lesbians, on the other hand, are victims of horridly abusive relationships with significant male figures, the male often being either a “significant other” or someone in some position of authority over them (school teacher or official, coach or leader of a youth organization, “father figure,” etc.). In either case, the individual is not culpable for the sin that created the condition and does not deserve to be shunned, ostracized, or excluded from the community of faith on account of it. On the contrary, we must reach out to such individuals with the same sort of compassion that we would show to an individual diagnosed with cancer.

    >> On the other hand, liberals tend to excuse the consequent behavior — that is, the commission of homosexual acts — on the fallacious, and completely dehumanizing, assumptions that homosexual individuals lack the capacity to make moral choices and to exercise control over their bodies due to their orientation and that they have no hope for a cure. No pastoral approach can ever condone conduct that is fundamentally disordered or presume that it is not morally culpable.

    Unfortunately, political forces that are promoting homosexuality in western culture as a means of undermining western society have conspired to confuse the science surrounding this condition.

    >> Many funding agencies, now controlled by operatives of this agenda, selectively vector funding for research to those who consistently support this agenda while denying funding to those who produce contrary results.

    >> And many organizations that sponsor conferences and journals in this field, including professional societies, are now controlled by promoters of this agenda who abuse the “peer review” process to deny fora for presentation and publication to those who produce the contrary results.

    The result of these distortions is not authentic science.

    The jury is still out as to whether, and to what extent, it might be possible to cure a homosexual orientation. It is clear that methods of treatment that don’t recognize the cause are likely to fail, but I am not aware of any attempts to deal with this condition from its source.


    • David Murphy says:

      Thank you, Norm, for explaining your point of view. There will be many who disagree with you. I would ask them please to refrain from making their arguments here, or this comment section will get out of control.

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