The Australian Catholic church has not ruled out firing those it employs if they marry their same-sex partner if gay marriage is legalised in the coming months.
In an exclusive interview with Fairfax at the weekend, Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart said if teachers or other employees strayed from the church’s core beliefs, it would be treated “very seriously”.
“I would be very emphatic that our schools, our parishes exist to teach a Catholic view of marriage,” he said. “Any words or actions which work contrary to that would be viewed very seriously.
“Our teachers, our parish employees are expected totally to uphold the Catholic faith and what we believe about marriage. People have to see in words and in example that our teaching of marriage is underlined.”
Fairfax reports more than 180,000 Australians work for the Catholic church in some way, shape or form, according to a 2015 paper by the Australian Catholic Council for Employment Relations.
The archbishop’s comments come in the same week he said he would risk going to jail rather than report child sex abuse allegations raised during confession. A report from the child sex abuse royal commission has called for it to be illegal to not report child sex abuse information that arises through religious confessions.