Australian Catholic Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen shockingly told his flock in the diocese of Parramatta that it doesn’t matter how they vote in the country’s postal ballot survey on whether or not to legalize same-sex “marriage.”
“It should not be a matter of a simple answer Yes or No to the postal survey,” said Bishop Long in a letter published online September 13.
The vote “should also be an opportunity for us to listen to what the Spirit is saying through the signs of the times,” he added.
But Long’s letter contradicts the teachings of the Catholic Church and the directives of his brother bishops who have asked citizens in the country to vote 'No' on the ballot.
“The recognition that marriage is between a man and a woman is not the assertion of bigotry, religious dogma or irrational tradition, but a recognition of human ecology,” the Australian bishops wrote in a pamphlet dated August 15.
The Catholic Church teaches that Catholics have a “clear and emphatic…duty” to oppose the push for homosexual “marriage.”
“Respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions,” states the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in a key 2003 document. This teaching was authored by then-prefect Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (who would be elected Pope Benedict XVI in 2005) and approved by Pope Saint John Paul II.