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$1m for no vote 'paralysing' says former Dean

The Dean of Brisbane Dr Peter Catt posts his YES vote in the city recently. He explains why his church and many others are in favour of marriage equality.
The Dean of Brisbane Dr Peter Catt posts his YES vote in the city recently. He explains why his church and many others are in favour of marriage equality.

A FORMER Dean of Grafton has described the Sydney Anglican diocese decision to donate $1 million to the No Case in the same-sex marriage debate as causing a crisis in his faith.

Reverend Peter Catt was Dean at Grafton from 1997 to 2007 and is now Dean of St John's Anglican Cathedral, Brisbane. He said he felt paralysed when he learnt of the decision.

"The Anglican Diocese of Sydney's inappropriate donation left me wondering why I persist with the Church," he wrote in a national newspaper.

The Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies made the announcement in an address to the 51st Synod of the Diocese of Sydney on Monday, but the donation was given to the Coalition for Marriage about a month ago.

Although a supporter of the Yes Campaign, Dr Catt said he would have been equally against the money going in that direction.

"There's lots of needs that are much greater and on which the Church is totally unified," he said.

"On things like asylum seekers, homelessness and the need for gambling law reform, there is total unity.

"It's when the debate turns to marriage equality and human sexuality it becomes contentious."

Dr Catt said the head of the Anglican Church in Australia, the Archbishop of Melbourne Philip Freier, has recognised how divisive the issue is and recommended a conscience vote.

Dr Catt said his despair was really a double-whammy as it came close after the revelations of former prime minister Tony Abbott's denial of climate change.

"Climate change is already affecting the lives of millions and causing suffering," Dr Catt wrote earlier this week. "Suffering that is not only dismissed but also mocked by the idea that we wouldn't mind if the world was a little warmer."

He said he went to bed "feeling shattered" but woke next morning renewed.

"I'd given way to anger, but I worked out how to focus that anger," Dr Catt said.

"I reminded myself that any decision, no matter how deflating, is not the end of the matter. It's not their Church and it's not their country."



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