Australia's bishops have declared a nationwide Month of Prayer and Fasting for marriage and families, with the country's High Court last week rejecting a challenge to the Government's postal survey of the nation on same-sex marriage - the result of which is to be declared in mid-November.
Bishop Michael Kennedy of the New South Wales Diocese of Armidale, the Bishop Delegate for Marriage and Family, said the Catholic Marriage and Family Council has prepared an accompanying resource for parishes and Catholic schools for October, designed to be downloaded for local printing and distribution.
It included a statement explaining the initiative and its importance, a leaflet containing prayer themes and prayer intentions for four of the five Sundays in October, a prayer card sheet comprising four copies of the Prayer to the Holy Family, designed in bookmark format and suggested parish bulletin notices. A short video has been prepared to promote this initiative in parishes and schools.
The Government's survey is to be posted to Australians registered on the electoral roll this month, with the final result to be declared by the Chief Statistician at on 15 November. The Government got around parliamentary objections to a plebiscite run by the Australian Electoral Commission by authorising a survey run by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Sydney's Archbishop Anthony Fisher has made his own video about same-sex marriage, as well as other current topics in Australian public life euthanasia and the Seal of Confession, and has written a op-ed piece in Sydney's Daily Telegraph newspaper on the marriage question, declaring: "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... No one should be ashamed of thinking marriage is special and that it's about opposite sexes, commitment and kids. And no one should be cowed into silence for such a view."
In a separate statement, he rejected suggestions that Pope Francis was open to same-sex marriage.
"Far from revoking the Catholic Church's two-thousand-year-long insistence that (according to divine revelation and the natural law) marriage can only be between a man and a woman, Pope Francis has been a strong advocate of that very position. Those claiming his support in their campaign for a Yes vote in the forthcoming plebiscite have either not read him or are deliberately misrepresenting him. To vote with Pope Francis is to VOTE NO."
PICTURE: Supporters at the same sex marriage rally in Perth's Russell Square. Sunday, 5 July, 2015