Same-sex marriage and euthanasia mean annus horribilis – Catholic bishop

Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher says 2017 has been challenging ‘for our world our country, and each of us individually’

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher said people of faith might describe 2017 as “annus horribilisbecause of euthanasia laws in Victoria, the exposure of child sexual abuse in the Catholic church, and the legalisation of same-sex marriage were failures that challenged “our Christian conceptions of life”.

“Like any year, this one has had its challenges for our world, our country and each of us individually,” Fisher said in his annual Christmas message.

“For people of faith you might say it’s been an annus horribilis, as our Christian conceptions of life and love have been challenged in the marriage and euthanasia debates; freedom of religion in Australia put in doubt; and shameful crimes and cover-ups in our Church uncovered by the royal commission.

“But the Christmas story insists there is a star in the dark sky, light amidst the fears and failures. Christmas speaks of new hope.”

There was a need for renewed hope to unite people, Fisher said. He said the Australian Catholic Youth festival had been a highlight of the year.

“The throng of young people standing up for faith and ideals says to us that whatever the past failures, we can have hope for ourselves, our families, our church, our nation, our world,” he said. “Our young people are not naive about the shames in our past or the trials in our future. But they want to be part of the answer to both.”

The Archbishop of Melbourne Dennis Hart had a similarly dark Christmas message.

“We live in a world and a church that is rapidly changing,” he said in a video. “Every morning we seem to wake up to more bad global news of hurricanes, floods, drought, fires and even the frightening possibility of the use of nuclear weapons. The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, but within our reach, is joy.”

Meanwhile the Anglican Dean of Hobart, Richard Humphrey, gave a nod to Donald Trump in a politically-themed Christmas video in which he wore a red Make Christmas Great Again cap, a play on Trump’s Make America Great Again slogan.

He told the ABC that people needed to turn away from fake news and towards “the really good news of Christmas”.

But he also urged Tasmanian premier Will Hodgman to tackle pokies-related harm. With the state due to head to an election in May, the state’s opposition leader Rebecca White said if elected Labor would commit to removing poker machines from pubs and clubs, and would give notice that the current deed allowing poker machines in venues other than casinos would not be extended beyond 2023.

“It is all very well for our premier to be saying that we should be able to celebrate Christmas, but we need to make room in the inn for there to be no pokies as well, these kind of things are related,” Humphrey said.

“We think the damage that is being done by pokies in some of our poorest and most needy suburbs needs to be addressed.”

Dr Glenn Davies, the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, turned to Twitter to deliver his Christmas message this year.

“In short – a baby born in a shed saves the world #canyoubelieveit,” his message said.


Melissa Davey

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Hanging on for dear life, hardliners change tack on same-sex marriage | David Marr
In the lead-up to Wednesday’s postal survey result, Christian warriors embrace the language of ‘human rights’ in a last-ditch effort to uphold their power over us

David Marr

13, Nov, 2017 @12:35 AM

Article image
Tasmanian election: Will Hodgman’s Liberals likely to win, poll shows
Support for government at 46%, Labor on 34% and the Greens on 12%, according to independent survey

Adam Morton

27, Feb, 2018 @1:50 AM

Article image
Mona's David Walsh donates $250,000 to Tasmania’s anti-pokies movement
Multimillionaire gambler says he wants to ‘de-bias’ a state election that has seen large amounts spent on pro-pokies advertising

Adam Morton in Hobart

01, Mar, 2018 @6:33 AM

Article image
Battle over poker machines to take centre stage in Tasmania's election
Labor’s call for a ban on pokies in pubs and clubs draws fierce opposition from gambling industry as Liberals face prospect of a hung parliament

Adam Morton

28, Jan, 2018 @1:33 AM

Article image
Anti-same-sex marriage booklet sent to Catholic schools 'degrades' gay students
Advocates slam ‘desperate’ letter from Catholic bishops warning children ‘same-sex friendships’ are very different from ‘real marriages’

Daniel Hurst Political correspondent

15, Jun, 2015 @8:10 AM

Article image
Catholic church dismisses key recommendations from landmark inquiry into child abuse
Melbourne archbishop stands firm on confessional after Australia’s unprecedented commission delivers 21-volume report

Melissa Davey

15, Dec, 2017 @1:11 AM

Article image
Divine renovation: as churchgoing declines in Australia, places of worship are up for sale
Faced by rising repair costs, parishes are being forced to sell. But some in the community are concerned about the fate of historic buildings

Maddie Thomas

05, Nov, 2022 @7:00 PM

Article image
We need to talk about Kerryn: Wentworth campaign loses friends via Facebook | The Weekly Beast
Kerryn Phelps gets proactive on social media. Plus: Alex Turnbull says ‘no thanks’ to Sharri Markson

Amanda Meade

19, Oct, 2018 @1:01 AM

Article image
Australia's Anglican hierarchy divided over marriage equality plebiscite
Five bishops write to Malcolm Turnbull urging him to reconsider the plan just days after the head of the Anglican church came out in support of the plebiscite

Paul Karp

13, Sep, 2016 @2:57 AM

Article image
Catholic church writes to companies that support same-sex marriage
Two companies reveal correspondence from church as more business sign Australian Marriage Equality’s open letter of support

Monica Tan

24, Jun, 2015 @9:45 AM