Our prolific, insightful and always eloquent commentator since the beginning of this Blog, THOM is today – once again – our guest post-writer.
“You might have read that Sydney’s Archbishop Fisher used a recent Sunday sermon from the pulpit of St Mary’s Cathedral to advocate a “NO !” vote in the plebiscite on same-sex marriage. He started by saying that the government should stay out of citizens’ bedrooms, and had no legitimate interest in who people are friendly with. He very quickly proposed the one exception – yes, you guessed it – and warned of serious problems ahead if same-sex marriage is allowed. Had I been in the Cathedral at the time, I wonder whether I would have had the courage to call him out on his claims. I would have acknowledged that he had the right and perhaps even the responsibility to articulate the Church’s official position on marriage being a sacred union between a man and a woman – but I would also have insisted that he had no right to use the pulpit and his official status to advance his personal opinions on his claimed dire consequences of allowing same-sex marriage, opinions which are not part of the Church’s teaching and which are in any event disputed by reputable sociologists, economists and other well-informed commentators.
“The Church’s official position on marriage owes much to its irrational fear of sex. It obviously had little option but to accept that sex is necessary for propagation. But it has never come to terms with the realisation that sex is also about pleasure. It must now know that the overwhelming majority of sexual activity is not directed towards propagation. In fact, even within marriage, the vast preponderance of sex is undertaken in a way that ensures that fertilization will not occur. History, psychology and biochemistry also now tell us pretty conclusively that same-sex activity is a normal, albeit minority, variant on human sexual attraction and activity. The Church’s acceptance of same-sex marriage would inevitably mean that it had finally accepted that non-procreative sex is acceptable. And I suspect that it will be some time before that enlightened view is adopted by the Church. If I had been in the Archbishop’s congregation, I would have politely pointed this out to him.”