Metro Weekly

Australian priest banned from Catholic conference for supporting gay marriage

The Archbishop blocked his participation due to the priest urging Catholics to support same-sex unions

Sean Bugg and Cavin Le exchange rings – Photo: Ward Morrison

An Australian priest has been barred from taking part in a Catholic conference because of his support for same-sex marriage.

Australian Jesuit priest and writer Father Frank Brennan was invited to speak at Tasmania’s CatholicCare conference next February. However, his appearance was blocked by Julian Porteous, Archbishop of Hobart, who took Brennan’s vocal support for equal marriage into account.

Brennan deviated from the rest of the country’s archbishops, telling Catholics to vote yes in Australia’s equal marriage vote last year, saying it was “for the common good.”

Porteous, who opposes equal marriage, confirmed Brennan’s invitation was revoked due to his views on the issue.

“Archbishop Porteous addressed the conference on the issue of marriage,” a spokesperson for his office said. “His Grace felt it was inappropriate for Father Brennan to speak at the conference, due to his public position regarding same-sex marriage.”

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson Rodney Croome called Porteous a hypocrite, saying that he chooses to punish pro-gay voices yet claims his free speech is constantly “violated.”

“During the marriage equality debate Archbishop Porteous regularly claimed that his free speech was being stifled and that marriage equality should be discussed freely,” he said, according to Pink News, “but now he openly admits to silencing a well-respected priest, Fr Frank Brennan, at a conference in Hobart seemingly because Fr Brennan supports marriage equality.”

He added: “Archbishop Porteous only cares about free speech when he is the one talking. From now on it will be impossible to take anything Archbishop Porteous says about free speech seriously. The Archbishop’s action is deeply hypocritical and I call on him to apologise for silencing Fr Brennan.”

It’s not the first time the Catholic Church has come under fire for censoring gay-friendly voices. In March, an International Woman’s Day event was forced to move across the street after the Vatican refused to host it due to one of the speakers being a lesbian.

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