Archbishop speaks about 'defiance' over contraception


PILGRIMS AT the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin were told yesterday that “truth is not respected when couples defy church teaching on contraception”.

Australian Archbishop Barry James Hickey said such defiance “sets up an inner conflict which undermines faith and causes mistrust of Christ’s mandate to teach on matters of human sexuality”.

He added, however, that “the wisdom of the world has chosen to ignore, even ridicule Catholic teaching on the matter of openness to children, and has taken a different and tragic path”.

The Archbishop Emeritus of Perth in Western Australia said that “artificially separating sex from its possible consequences has led to the separation of sex from marriage and has led to the proliferation of casual unions, to the exploitation of young women, to false hopes that sexual activity will lead to love, and to the abandonment of marriage by millions of people around the world”.

Where the church was concerned it “can either compromise and face irrelevance, or continue to teach Christ’s truth about marriage, life and love, and pray that the world will listen.”

Speaking on “the Eucharist and the Christian family” he said “Christian marriage is now under fierce and hostile attack.” He said “the gift we give to a world of broken relationships and unloved children is the beauty of Christian marriage and our desire to reach out to the victims of broken marriage.” However, “increasingly marriage is being promoted as only one of many options in human sexual relationships”.

Added to this “is the pressure to change the very definition of marriage from a union of a man and a woman to a union of two persons of the same sex. The Christian ideal of marriage is under great threat,” he said.

This “worsening situation” called “for urgent action at all levels of society. The family is under threat because the institution of marriage is being undermined,” he said. “Government, the churches and the community” must “seek to stabilise family life and strengthen marriage itself”.

Earlier yesterday Archbishop of Manila Luis Antonio Tagle said in an address to pilgrims that when the clerical abuse crisis “erupted in the northern hemisphere, there was a tendency to think of the problem as mainly tied to western cultures. But such a view changed when similar cases surfaced in Asia.” he said.

Speaking on “Clergy Sexual Misconduct: Some Reflections from Asia” he said there was now “a pressing need to formulate national pastoral guidelines for handling such cases” in Asia. This was being completed in the Philippines, he said.

Secretary general of the Congress Fr Kevin Doran said attendance had been good: “We have reached figures which are approximately twice the daily attendance at Quebec” where the 49th Eucharistic Congress took place in 2008.