A priest in Australia is calling for public recognition of same-gender relationship and says they should be celebrated joyfully. While not extending this recognition to marriage, he advances the Catholic position by speaking to the goodness of these couples’ relationships.
Fr. Michael Fallon’s comments were reported in The Canberra Times:
“In a notable departure from the public teachings of some church authorities, Dickson-based priest Michael Fallon called for a ‘public celebration of committed love for homosexual couples’, saying he feared ordinary people were being driven away from the Catholic faith by views they saw as hardline and irrelevant.’…
“‘[The public should offer] not just recognition, but joy, public joy in their communion with each other, that’s the least we can offer people,’ he said.”
He credits time as university chaplain, including ministry with LGBT students, as a key step in overcoming personal homophobia. He also appeals to his academic work as a scripture scholar for his position:
“…there were church authorities who saw homosexual behaviour and partnerships as immoral, but many priests he spoke to supported recognition of committed same-sex relationships.
“He said biblical references to homosexuality should be seen within the context of the time, rather than taken literally. ‘When Paul spoke about homosexual behaviour, the key is what was he actually speaking about? Did he know about two adults lovingly committing themselves to each other? We haven’t the faintest idea, and it’s quite unlikely,’ he said.”
This Australian priest is the latest among clergy calling for legal protections of LGBT people, with several bishops supporting civil unions in recent months and other priests speaking strongly for a rethinking of the Church’s sexual ethics.
–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry