LGBTIQ advocates have slammed a “hypocritical” Catholic Archbishop’s decision to bar a priest from speaking at a conference in Tasmania over his pro-marriage equality views.
Father Frank Brennan, Australian Jesuit priest and chief executive of Catholic Social Services Australia, was told by the Archbishop of Hobart Julian Porteous (pictured) he should not talk at the Catholic Care conference in February because his views differed from church’s traditional teachings, ABC News reported.
A spokesperson for the Archdiocese confirmed that Porteous had banned him from attending the event.
“Archbishop Porteous addressed the conference on the issue of marriage. His Grace felt it was inappropriate for Father Brennan to speak at the conference, due to his public position regarding same-sex marriage,” they said.
Father Brennan argued last year marriage equality should be legalised for “the common good” and Catholic priests should be allowed to vote in favour of it as a matter of conscience.
Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson Rodney Croome slammed Porteous’ move, and pointed to his previous claims that his own right to free speech had been violated last year.
“The Archbishop’s action is deeply hypocritical and I call on him to apologise for silencing Father Brennan,” Croome said.
“During the marriage equality debate, Archbishop Porteous regularly claimed that his free speech was being stifled and that marriage equality should be discussed freely.
“But now he openly admits to silencing a well-respected priest, Father Frank Brennan, at a conference in Hobart seemingly because Father Brennan supports marriage equality.
Croome said 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,” he said.
Former Catholic priest and commentator Paul Collins told the ABC many Catholic Church officials had also voted ‘yes’ in the marriage postal survey last year.
“It is not as though Frank were some raging radical, he is a person who runs all of the Catholic Church’s social services in the country,” he said.