Sunday, July 19, 2015

Archbishop Hart and Gay Students

One of the quirky observations I made at St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne is that the official portrait of Archbishop Denis Hart with Pope John Paul II  is mounted under a bright 'Exit" sign.

"Exit" seems to be the Archbishops preferred term for gay students in schools of the Archdiocese of Melbourne. This weekend's media includes a report in The Age, in which Archbishop Hart  weighs in about the "gay lifestyle": Catholic Archbishop warned against "tolerating" gay students" . The photo of the Archbishop in this article has him  looking to the left  Hope springs eternal!!

I find the weasal words of "gay lifestyle" used by Archbishop Hart pretty meaningless. My lifestyle includes, catching public transport, going to work, catching up with friends, praying, and a host of mundane activities like hanging out the washing.Much of my lifestyle is pretty similar I imagine to a "non-gay lifestyle"And like Archbishop Hart I love a good dose of pomp and circumstance. Does that suggest the Archbishop may be taking a plunge into the "gay lifestyle"?

As a life member of  St. Joseph's Old Collegians Association​ I applaud the decision of Paul Tobias and the College community to sign up to the Safe Schools Coalition. As a young gay student  in the late 60s I lived with the frightening silence and isolation that can haunt a young person coming to terms with sexuality. The culture of my local and faith community lacked the language of support that I needed.In recent years I have been welcomed back to SJC to tell my story to a new generation of young men who have a healthy respect for diversity among their peers

The Age article includes  call from Professor Peter Norden for the Catholic Church to develop a positive understanding of sexuality. I endorse this call today which happens to be the feast of the androgynous St Wilgefortis


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