Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney was (obviously) an opponent of the recent push for marriage equality in Australia, arguing a few months ago that changing the law would lead to discrimination against Christians.
After the results of the postal plebiscite were in and 62% of people voted in support of equality, Fisher argued that wasn’t really the will of the majority since many Australians didn’t vote at all. As if we’re supposed to take the opinions of non-voters seriously during a vote.
So now that same-sex marriage is legal throughout the nation, how is Fisher further embarrassing himself and the Catholic Church? He said in his annual Christmas message that 2017 was an annus horribilis — a horrible year — because more people now have rights than they did before, and that goes against the will of Church leaders.
At the end of another year the need for renewed hope unites us all. Like any year, this one has had its challenges for our world, our country, and each of us individually. For people of faith you might say it’s been an annus horribilis, as our Christian conceptions of life and love have been challenged in the marriage and euthanasia debates; freedom of religion in Australia put in doubt; and shameful crimes and cover-ups in our Church uncovered by the Royal Commission.
To be clear, marriage equality is now the law of the land, legislation to permit assisted suicide passed in the state of Victoria so that those suffering from a terminal illness can end life on their own terms, freedom of religion is as strong in Australia now as ever before, and the Catholic Church was once again shamed for its cover-ups and complicity regarding priestly child abuse.
Looks like everything’s going in the right direction on all those fronts.
2017 was a horrible year for a lot of reasons, but there were pockets of the world where more people were permitted to be happy — or at least suffer less — and we should all celebrate those victories.
If Fisher is frustrated, then Australia is doing something right.