Tasmania’s Catholic Archbishop Julian Porteous compares scripture reading from St Marys Fury to Thorburn AFL’s religious line


Opposition to a planned Bible reading on marriage at a graduation mass at a girls’ school shows society is becoming ‘increasingly hostile to Christian beliefs’, says Catholic Archbishop of Tasmania – who compared it to the Essendon saga about the resignation of Andrew Thorburn.

Hobart’s Catholic school, St Mary’s College, made headlines last week when concerns were raised about the reading chosen for its graduation mass – Ephesians 5:21-23 – which understand :

“Wives should regard their husbands as they regard the Lord, for as Christ is the head of the Church and saves the whole body, so the husband is the head of his wife; and as the Church submits to Christ, so wives must submit to their husbands in everything.”

After concerns among staff, students and parents, and backlash on social media, Bishop Julian Porteous agreed to change the reading and offered an alternative.

The section of Ephesians 5 is the reading of the day, but, being an ordinary weekday, those choosing the readings have the freedom to choose something else.

Questions were also asked about whether a reading about marriage was the best choice for an occasion celebrating academic achievement.

In his homily during Sunday Mass at Guilford Young Chapel in Hobart, Bishop Porteous said it was “not unusual for the teaching of sacred scripture to be at odds with the attitudes and ethos of our time. “.

Archbishop Porteous says recent stories have demonstrated “a most dangerous development in our Australian society”.(ABC News: Rhiannon Shine)

“We now find ourselves as Catholics, as Christians, criticized and persecuted because we believe what the scriptures teach and we desire to live up to its dictates, even when they contradict the ethics of our time” , did he declare.

Archbishop Porteous spoke about the case of Andrew Thorburn, who resigned as chief executive of Essendon Football Club a day after being appointed, after the church he leads, City on a Hill , published a series of articles criticizing homosexuality and abortion.

Club chairman David Barham said the views of City on a Hill Church ran counter to club values ​​and that Mr Thorburn had been given an ultimatum.

Archbishop Porteous said it was ‘because his church supported scriptural teaching on abortion and the nature of marriage that he was considered unfit to chair the board of directors of a football club’ .

“This was all by inference, as Andrew himself had made no public statement on these moral issues.

“It tells us that our society is becoming increasingly hostile to Christian beliefs found in sacred scripture and actually demands that people give up their Christian faith if they wish to hold public office.

“This is a most dangerous development in our Australian society.”

Andrew Thorburn speaking on a podium.
Archbishop Porteous said the Thorburn saga showed “society is becoming increasingly hostile to Christian beliefs”.(PA: Ellen Smith)

Bishop Porteous then spoke of the parents of Saint Mary who “protested against the use of a text from the letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians because they felt that this text offended their understanding of the role of women in marriage”.

He said it reflected a situation similar to that of Mr Thorburn, and that “a single text” had been removed from its “full context”.

Archbishop Porteous said the statement that women were subject to their husbands reflected the culture of the time it was written.

“[St Paul] then presents a radical vision of marriage inspired by the Christian belief in the equal dignity of men and women. Because it calls husbands to sacrifice themselves for their wives as Christ sacrificed himself for the Church.”

He said that the teaching of Saint Paul in his day would have been an “extraordinary challenge to the pagan world in which he lived” and that Christianity “proposed a revolutionary vision and elevated the status of women and underlined the sanctity of the marital bond”.

Archbishop Porteous said the scriptures should be read “in the context of the full understanding of the faith”.

“Taking a sentence in isolation is not enough,” he said.

Here is the full text of the reading of Ephesians 5: 21-33 originally planned for the graduation mass:

Yield to one another in obedience to Christ. Wives are to regard their husbands as they regard the Lord, for as Christ is the head of the Church and saves the whole body, so a husband is the head of his wife; and as the Church submits to Christ, wives must submit to their husbands in all things.

Husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the Church and sacrificed himself for her in order to make her holy. He made her clean by washing her in water with a form of words, so that when he took her to himself she would be glorious, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless.

In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they love their own bodies; for a man to love his wife is for him to love himself. A man never hates his own body, but nurtures and cares for it; and so Christ treats the Church, because she is the body — and we are her living parts.

For this reason, a man must leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, and the two will become one body. This mystery has many implications; but I say it applies to Christ and the Church. To summarize; you too, each of you, must love his wife as he loves himself; and let every wife respect her husband.


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