CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 9 September 2017

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Will Catholics swing for same-sex marriage?

SYDNEY (SE): As Australia prepares for a postal survey on attitudes towards same-sex marriage, a poll commissioned by the Equality Campaign conducted by Jim Reed from Newgate Research claims that more than half of the country’s Catholics are likely vote in favour of it.
 
The poll discovered that approximately 66 per cent of the overall population is inclined to express a favourable opinion on the question, but among those who adhere to a religion only 58 per cent said they would favour the idea.
 
Among those of no particular faith some 79 per cent said they would be inclined to favour it.
 
The Equality Campaign is a lobby group set up by those favouring the legislation and has been supported by businesses across the country that have taken it up as a moral crusade, putting money into the campaign, writing letters to politicians and aligning their business name with the campaign.
 
The national airline, Qantas, has gone for it big time. It has spent money buying specially designed rings for its staff that deal with the public to wear, as well as encouraging them, although maybe not forcing, to support the campaign.
 
The results of the survey will no doubt encourage Marriage Equality to run a pointed campaign aimed at Catholics to try and pick up a few more votes.
 
The group will be competing with the bishops to influence the country’s five million Catholics. The Church campaign has been championed by Archbishop Denis Hart, from Melbourne.
 
Archbishop Hart said in a pastoral letter, “It is vital that we Catholics vote, so that our viewpoint can be heard on this vital public issue.” 
 
However, the viewpoint from many Catholics may not be the one he wants to hear.
 
The Equality Campaign has been quick to capitalise on the results of the survey, with Tiernan Brady, its executive director, crowing, “The upper management of the Church is not listening to its flock. The flock has made up its own mind on this. It supports marriage equality.”
 
While Brady’s cheap grab may be an exaggeration, it is not without truth. The bishops themselves are highly aware of this, as their own reflections on past campaigns have led them to conclude that it is obvious that authority figures from all walks of life cut little grass in the forming of public opinion, both inside and outside the Church.

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