An Australian Archbishop has launched a strong attack on Catholic couples who defy the church’s teaching on contraception.

Speaking at the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, Aussie Archbishop Barry James Hickey claimed:

“the truth is not respected when couples defy church teaching on contraception.”

The Irish Times reports that he said: “Such defiance sets up an inner conflict which undermines faith and causes mistrust of Christ’s mandate to teach on matters of human sexuality.”

Archbishop Hickey added: “The wisdom of the world has chosen to ignore, even ridicule Catholic teaching on the matter of openness to children, and has taken a different and tragic path.”

Hickey, Archbishop Emeritus of Perth in Western Australia, also said: “Artificially separating sex from its possible consequences has led to the separation of sex from marriage and has led to the proliferation of casual unions, to the exploitation of young women, to false hopes that sexual activity will lead to love, and to the abandonment of marriage by millions of people around the world.

“Where the church is concerned it can either compromise and face irrelevance, or continue to teach Christ’s truth about marriage, life and love, and pray that the world will listen.”

The paper reports that Archbishop Hickey addressed the congress on the Eucharist and the Christian family.

He added: “Christian marriage is now under fierce and hostile attack. The gift we give to a world of broken relationships and unloved children is the beauty of Christian marriage and our desire to reach out to the victims of broken marriage.

“However, increasingly marriage is being promoted as only one of many options in human sexual relationships.

“Added to this is the pressure to change the very definition of marriage from a union of a man and a woman to a union of two persons of the same sex. The Christian ideal of marriage is under great threat.”

“This worsening situation called for urgent action at all levels of society. The family is under threat because the institution of marriage is being undermined.

“Government, the churches and the community must seek to stabilise family life and strengthen marriage itself.”

Archbishop Barry James