21 Nov 2017

Weekly Communique to assist information-sharing for the Marriage Laws Postal Survey

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

acbc for web.jpg

Click find out more to read the ACBC media release following the announcement of the result of the postal survey last week.

A number of Bishops have also issued letters and statements – you will find them in the following separate bulletins for your reference.

 Weekly Marriage Update for Bishops - 21-11-17.pdf

17 Nov 2017

Statement re Same Sex Marriage Survey Result

James Foley, Bishop of Cairns


...I have written two long reflections, (in all over eight thousand (8,000) words), on this complex issue...My own view is that the ‘NO’ case became distracted by fears about religious freedoms.

 StatementSSMSurveyResult Diocese of Cairns Nov 2017.pdf

16 Nov 2017

Circular – Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey Result

Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide

Diocesan Crest for web sm.jpg

Today, the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey result was announced, in which 62% voted ‘Yes’. We accept the result of the survey. It now seems likely that civil marriage will be open to people of the same sex and we respect that outcome.

The Catholic Church will continue to promote and practice the tenet of our faith that marriage is a lifelong union of a man and a woman, open to the possibility of children. The survey has confirmed that this is a position shared by millions of people in this country.

 Circular - Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey Result 1371 151117.pdf
 ACBC Statement 'Any change to marriage law must include protections for religious freedom'.pdf

15 Nov 2017

Any change to marriage law must include protections for religious freedom

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference | Media Release | November 15 2017


Parliament must work to unify Australians by respecting different views on marriage, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Denis Hart said today in the wake of the result of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey.

“The Catholic Church, and many others who sought to retain the definition of marriage as it has been understood for centuries, continues to view marriage as a special union between a woman and a man, which allows for the creation and nurture of children,” Archbishop Hart said.


15 Nov 2017

Response to Same-Sex Marriage Survey Result

Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney | Media Release | November 15 2017

Anthony Fisher.jpg

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Most Rev. Anthony Fisher OP, says he is both disappointed and heartened by the result of the National Marriage Postal Survey on changing the legal definition of marriage in Australia.

“While I do not deny the good will of many who voted Yes, I am deeply disappointed that the likely result will be legislation to further deconstruct marriage and family in Australia,” Archbishop Fisher said.

 Media Release Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher on Same Sex Marriage Result.pdf

15 Nov 2017

Pastoral Letter – Concerning the Plebiscite Result on Same-Sex Marriage

Diocese of Port Pirie | Pastoral Letter to the Christian Faithful | November 15 2017

Greg O'Kelly SJ.jpg

After all the hype, we now know that the Yes vote for the same-sex marriage was endorsed by 61.6% of the twelve million Australians who voted, and the No vote is endorsed by 38.4%, which remains a figure of several million people.

The result was not unexpected. The debate has been turned from being about “marriage” to being about “equality”. The Yes vote was argued in terms of discrimination but little was said on the true nature of marriage, apart from statements such that a love between a couple is all that matters.

 Pastoral Letter - Plebiscite Result on Same-Sex Marriage - 17.296.pdf

15 Nov 2017

Letter on results of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey

Peter A. Comensoli, Bishop of Broken Bay

Bishop Comensoli1.jpg

This morning the results of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey were released, with 61.6 per cent of Australians who took part voting yes and 38.4 per cent voting no.

While I had hoped for a different outcome, I readily acknowledge the result of this survey and I respect the firm decision made by the Australian people. I also want to thank those who led the respective campaigns on both sides of the debate for the relatively civil way in which they conducted themselves.

 Diocese of Broken Bay - Letter People, Religious and Clergy 20171115.pdf

15 Nov 2017

Action alert: Why freedom of religion and belief is important

Jeremy Stuparch, Public Policy Director, ACBC

acbc for web.jpg

Senator Dean Smith introduced the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 to legalise same sex marriage, following the Yes vote winning the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey. This Bill is being debated by Parliament.

Senator Smith’s Bill has a narrow view of religious freedom with protections confined to the marriage ceremony. Changing the law on marriage has much wider implications and requires protections for Australians and organisations with a traditional view of marriage.

 Information Brief Religious Freedom Nov 2017.pdf

09 Nov 2017

Briefing Paper on the deficiencies of the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017

released by WA Liberal Senator Dean Smith in August 2017

Below are two dot points for each heading. Please click on find out more button below for full briefing paper with more dot points and explanations. Document is also available for download below.


Freedoms the Smith Bill would not protect:

  • The bill would not protect ministers of religion outside a wedding ceremony.
  • The bill would not protect charities that hold to a traditional view of marriage.

Criticisms of Smith Bill:

  • The Smith bill isn’t a Religious Freedom Protection Bill, it’s a Wedding Ceremony Protection Bill.
  • The bill does not protect the religious freedom of most Australians.

Legal/Human rights position:

  • Equality doesn’t need to be shown through the implementation of SSM.
  • The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion are recognised human rights.


 Briefing Paper on the deficiencies of Dean Smith's Marriage Amendment Bill.pdf

15 Oct 2017

Archbishop Fisher's homily on marriage

St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, October 15, 2017

Anthony Fisher.jpg

In a culture which, for all its putative open-mindedness, is less and less tolerant of Christianity, how will we ensure in the years ahead that people in parishes, schools and other institutions are free to speak and practice their beliefs? How will we maintain a sense of who we are and what matters most to us when some others barely tolerate us or even vilify and bully us?

These are the questions which Archbishop Fisher says are particularly pertinent as we approach the final strait of the national marriage survey.

Download full homily below.


29 Sep 2017

What is "marriage"?

Marriage is in essence neither a relationship of law nor of religion; it is rather a relationship of nature between a man and a woman, which existed for millennia before it became a matter of law or religion.

Relationship of nature

There are many men and women in Australia living in long-term committed de facto relationships and who have brought forth and raised children. These men and women can rightly be said to be married to each other. Although they have never been formally married in a church, a synagogue, a mosque, a registry office or before a civil celebrant in a park or elsewhere, they are in fact living in a relationship of natural marriage; hence the expression de facto (as opposed to de jure). If asked why they have never officially formalized their union, many such couples in effect reply, “We do not need a piece of paper to prove that we are married”.

 What is marriage.pdf

26 Sep 2017

Robert Rabbat, DD – Melkite Greek-Catholic Eparch of Australia New Zealand

Commonwealth Postal Survey on same sex "marriage"


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Peace be with you


Most, if not all, registered on the Commonwealth of Australia electoral roll will have by now received a postal survey concerning same sex "marriage". At present, marriage in Australia is defined as being between one man and one woman, a lifelong union to the exclusion of all other persons. There is now a proposal to alter that definition so that it extends to members of the same sex. Marriage would thus be possible between two men or two women.

 2017 Pastoral Letter - Bishop Rabbat - Same Sex Marriage Postal Survey.pdf

21 Sep 2017

Pastoral Letter from Bishop Greg O'Kelly SJ of Port Pirie

Concerning Same-Sex Unions

Greg O'Kelly SJ.jpg

Dear Sisters & Brothers in the Lord

As the postal vote approaches, the subject becomes a personal issue for many people. Many of us have friends or siblings who are gay or have a dear son or daughter or relative who identifies that way and feels strongly that they should have a right to marry. It must be recognised that in so many cases there is a real bond and union of hearts between committed gay couples.

 Pastoral Letter - Same-sex Unions - 14.9.17.pdf

19 Sep 2017

Letter from Bishop Michael Kennedy of Armidale

Marriage Postal Survey

Bishop Michael Kennedy sm.jpg

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Catholic teachings on marriage and on homosexuality are quite well known, at least in general if not in detail: That marriage is the covenant by which a man and a woman establish a partnership for the whole of life for their mutual well-being and for the purpose of founding a family; and for baptised Christians marriage is given particular dignity as a Sacrament by Jesus, that is, a means of grace in the life of the couple.1

That homosexual persons must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity; that every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided; but homosexual actions cannot be approved because they do not proceed from a genuine sexual complementarity. The Church also teaches that with prayer, God’s grace, and the support of friends, homosexuals can and should approach Christian perfection.2

 20170915 Bp M Kennedy statement re Marriage Postal Survey.pdf

19 Sep 2017

Letter from Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP of Sydney

and Dr Dan White, Executive Director, Sydney Catholic Schools

Anthony Fisher.jpg

Dear Parents and Carers

In the coming weeks you will have the opportunity to participate in the postal survey on marriage, and to consider whether marriage should be redefined in Australian law so that individuals of the same sex can marry. We realise that you will all be reflecting on this question and respect your right to do so. However, given the significance of this issue and its implications for you, our Church and our Catholic schools, we thought we should write to you directly.

 20170914 AAF & Dan White ltr to Parents & Carers re SSM postal vote.pdf

19 Sep 2017

Pope Francis, Marriage and the Plebiscite


Marriage postal plebiscite

Australians are being asked to vote in the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey (plebiscite) to determine whether the legal definition of marriage should be changed to include same-sex unions. Ballot papers will be sent out from Tuesday, 12 September and all votes must be received back by Tuesday, 7 November 2017.

This brochure provides an overview of Pope Francis’ teaching on marriage and the family for you to reflect upon. Please consider voting to keep marriage as a unique relationship between a woman and a man.

 Pope Francis, Marriage and the Plebiscite Brochure.pdf

19 Sep 2017

Marriage Law Survey (additional safeguards) Act 2017

The Marriage Law Survey (Additional Safeguards) Act 2017 came into force on 14 September 2017, and will continue to operate until the completion of the marriage survey on 15 November 2017. We have set out below a high-level summary of the key requirements of the Act.

Here is the Act: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2017A00096

Here are the ABS Frequently Asked Questions: https://marriagesurvey.abs.gov.au/safeguards


19 Sep 2017

Deception on freedom of religion key to SSM Yes case

The Australian | September 13, 2017 | Paul Kelly

With the Yes case positioned to win the postal plebiscite, it is more important than ever the misleading and false claims of its advocates – that there is no religious issue at stake – be confronted and the ramifications put on the table.

These claims are made by senior Coalition and Labor politicians. Indeed, it seems they think rejection of the religious argument is fundamental to the success of their campaign. This is alarming because it implies the Yes case depends on persuading the public of a false proposition.

The government and parliament, despite years of emotional debate, declined to address the wider religious freedom question. The political class engaged instead in a great pretence: that the only such issue concerned the wedding ceremony and protections in the Marriage Act for clergy and celebrants, an extremely narrow view of religious freedom.

 Deception on freedom of religion key to SSM Yes case 20170918.pdf

17 Sep 2017

Circular from Bishop Bosco Puthur, Syro-Malabar Eparchy of St Thomas the Apostle

Proposed changes to the Australian Marriage Act

Bishop Bosco.jpg

The Australian community, who generously received us Syro-Malabar faithful, risks abandoning its Christian values to become more secular. In this situation, we need exceptional courage, enthusiasm and perseverance to lead a Christian life based on its faith and morals.

On this occasion, I am obliged to draw your attention to a crucial decision, which will be made in Australia by the government.

 2017 Pastoral Letter - Bishop Puthur - Proposed Changes to the Australian Marriage Act.pdf

15 Sep 2017

Pastoral Letter from Bishop Peter Stasiuk, Eparch of Sts Peter and Paul of Melbourne

Same Sex Marriage Postal Survey

Bishop Peter.jpg

Ever mindful of my duty as Shepherd and Teacher I write to you on an important and topical subject The initiative to redefine the meaning of marriage and, the voluntary postal survey that has been initiated by the Federal Government. We are being asked to vote "NO" or "YES" to a proposal that would allow people of the same sex to marry.

 2017 Pastoral Letter - Bishop Stasiuk - Same Sex Marriage Postal Survey.pdf

13 Sep 2017

Letter from Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane

Towards the Marriage Vote

Archbishop Coleridge.jpg

I’ve been told people are looking for guidance on same-sex marriage as we move towards the postal vote. That may be so, though I suspect that most people have already made up their mind on the issue and, if they’re looking for anything, they’re wanting some authority to support their position publicly. But that’s not really what I want to do here. By now the arguments for and against same-sex marriage are well enough known to those who want to know them, even if much of the debate has been too shallow or slick to do justice to the deeper issues. So there’s no need for me to go over well-trodden ground. But in a debate where the language has often been slippery it may help to clarify a few points that can be unclear. I wrote something like what follows a while ago. In the meantime, the debate has become more complex and heated, so I’ve made a few changes to take account of that.

 Abp Coleridge - towards-the-marriage-vote.-pdf.pdf

12 Sep 2017

Opinion piece by Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney

Same-Sex Marriage: Let's avoid confusion

Anthony Fisher.jpg

MARRIAGE is taking quite a beating right now. Many people are muddled about what marriage is, have lost confidence in its achievability, or have given up even trying.

Those who do take the plunge often feel unsupported as spouses and undermined as parents by our culture, politics and economy.

So what is marriage all about?

Is marriage about bringing ­together two people of opposite sex so that, when they do what men and women do, any resulting children will have a mum and a dad for the long haul?

 Archbishop Anthony Fisher - Same Sex Marriage Lets Avoid Confusion - 8 S....pdf

12 Sep 2017

Pastoral Letter from Archbishop Christopher Prowse of Canberra and Goulburn

Same-Sex Marriage

Archbishop Prowse2.jpg

The current issue of same-sex marriage and the proposal to change the basic definition of marriage in Australia raises issues that are central to a society seeking maturity.

We all know and love same-sex attracted people in our families, parishes and communities. They do feel particularly vulnerable in the current national discussions. Our respect and care reaches out to them as always.

 2017 Pastoral Letter - Archbishop Prowse - Same-Sex Marriage.pdf

31 Aug 2017

Letter from Bishop Peter Comensoli of Broken Bay

We proclaim a crucified Christ


The Federal Government has announced its intention to hold a national postal survey, seeking the opinion of Australians before it considers changing the legal definition of marriage by an Act  of  Parliament  to  include same-sex couples.

Whatever  the  outcome  of  this  significant  development  in  the  life of  our  country,  the Church's  understanding  of  marriage will remain – that  marriage  is  a covenant  of  love between a man and a woman for life, and open to life. Our teaching is about the nature of marriage itself, not  its legal  status.

30 Aug 2017

Letter from Bishop Michael McKenna of Bathurst

Watch and Act

Bishop Michael McKenna.jpg

Dear Friends in Christ,
"The price of freedom," as the old saying goes, "is eternal vigilance." As I write, there are three current proposals for new laws which could, in various ways, impact on religious freedom. Conscientious Catholics should be vigilant and exercise their duties as citizens in a respectful and intelligent way.

  1. The Seal of Sacramental Confession
  2. Assisted Suicide/Euthanasia
  3. Changing the Definition of Marriage
30 Aug 2017

Pastoral Letter from Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB of Perth

Same-Sex Marriage

Archbishop Costelloe.jpg

As you will all be aware recent political developments have meant that the issue of same-sex marriage is once again in the forefront of people’s minds.

In this short Pastoral Letter, I want to offer some general reflections on the Catholic Church’s teachings about, and approach to, this important question. You may remember that I have already written to you about this before – in 2015. However, as you take steps to ensure that you are enrolled to vote, as I sincerely hope you will, in the postal plebiscite which may soon take place, and as you consider how you intend to vote, it seems opportune for me to address this matter again. And if necessary, I will follow this up with a more detailed discussion on the implications of this matter in a further letter.

25 Aug 2017

Archbishop Hart releases pastoral letter on same-sex marriage

denis hart.jpg

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We Catholics in Australia love our nation.

Indeed, so much of what is cherished as good in our society is, in fact, the fruit of Christian culture.

21 Aug 2017

What you can do?


If you vote 'no' or if you vote 'yes' in the plebiscite – what this means – download flyer for more information.

17 Aug 2017

Circular from Archbishop Wilson

Plebiscite on Marriage

Archbishop crest.jpg

We are about to enter into a dialogue as a nation on legislation for marriage. It is imperative, and an obligation upon us from our faith and the Gospel, that we conduct this dialogue with a deep sense of reverence and respect for every person in the nation, and for the choices that they are free to make.

 Circular - Plebiscite on Marriage 971 150817.pdf

15 Aug 2017

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

Marriage plebiscite information

The Australian Government announced there will be a postal plebiscite on whether Australia should change marriage to include “same-sex marriage”. Ballot papers will be sent out on Tuesday September 12 and all votes must be received back by Tuesday November 7. Vote No, to keep marriage as a unique relationship between a woman and a man.

14 Aug 2017

Coalition for marriage

A people's vote on marriage, free speech and the rejection of safe schools

C4M is comprised of more than 80 groups from across Australia, representing over 3 million people and led by the Australian Christian Lobby, Marriage Alliance, the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney and the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, and will be the leading voice in the campaign opposing changes to the Marriage Act.

 170814 - C4M - A people's vote on marriage, free speech and the rejection of Safe Schools.pdf

06 Aug 2017

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP

Response to proposed marriage amendment (definition and Religious freedoms) Bill 2017


The proposed marriage amendment bill released today will not protect the religious freedom of the Australian people. The limited protections offered to ministers of religion and those already registered as civil celebrants evidences an incorrect assumption that freedom of religion is simply a matter for those engaged in religious ministry.

 Media Statement_6 August 2017.pdf