Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett.
Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett.

Bishop v Greens in gay rumble

THE Greens Clarence candidate, Janet Cavanaugh, has hit back at criticisms of Greens policies from the Catholic Bishop of Lismore, Geoffrey Jarrett, claiming they were more about his personal views than the teachings of Christ.

Bishop Jarrett was one of nine NSW bishops who signed a letter to parishioners attacking The Greens’ policies.

Ms Cavanaugh said she found the Bishop’s attempt to create fear and doubt about The Greens to be deeply regrettable.

“The bishops are out of step with broad community support for gay marriage, women’s right to choose, increased funding for public schools and voluntary euthanasia,” she said.

“I note however that this attack does not appear to enjoy unanimous support among the state’s Catholic bishops.

“Neither the Bishop of Bathurst nor the Bishop of Broken Bay signed the statement.”

On Wednesday Bishop Jarrett said if some Greens considered themselves Christians, he wondered how they would square the policies of their party with any reading of mainstream Christian belief on the meaning, dignity and destiny of human life.

He said he had spent years in the southern wilderness of Tasmania and was almost as green as Bob Brown.

“But The Greens have long since lost their innocence,” the Bishop said.

“Their policies on euthanasia, abortion, same-sex marriage and school funding show them on the dark side when it comes to a healthy human environment.”

But Ms Cavanaugh said it had been centuries since the Roman Catholic Church had the monopoly on interpreting Christ’s words.

“In fact my reasons for joining The Greens included the fact that Greens’ policies agreed with my sense of social justice – a result of my strong Christian upbringing,” she said.

“I believe the church should support The Greens, given our track record in acting for the common good and with a special concern for the poor, the marginalised, the sick and the forgotten in our society.

“Surely these matters, which affect all in our society, are more important than our views on decriminalising abortion or advocating for gay marriage?

“Before accusing The Greens of being on ‘the dark side’, Bishop Jarrett should examine his own position in keeping silent on many of the major moral challenges of our time, including mandatory detention of refugees, our involvement in the illegal war in Iraq, and the over-representation of the mentally ill and Aboriginal people in our jails.”

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