The Catholic Church has been in the media for all the wrong reasons lately, and now it is facing backlash once again after being accused of pressuring Telstra into dropping its pro-gay marriage campaign.
The Telstra logo appeared in a full-page advertisement published in newspapers last year along with a number of other high profile companies pledging their support for gay marriage in Australia.
In an abrupt turnaround though, the company has now backed out of the campaign and says it will no longer publicly advocate for gay marraige.
Telstra has denied they pulled out of the campaign due to pressure from the Church, but there are reports it was the heavy hand of Sydney’s powerful archdiocese that led the company to backdown.
The Church sent a written warning to Telstra after the advertisement was released and even conducted a meeting between former Telstra chair Catherine Livingstone and Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher.
Chief executive Andrew Penn has released a statement confirming the company’s decision saying it is putting its faith in the proposed plebiscite, which would see all Australians vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the issue.
“This is because the proposed plebiscite process gives everyone an opportunity to contribute and out of respect, it is important we allow them to voice their own views,” Mr Penn said.
“This position was interpreted by some as us abandoning our tradition of supporting diversity and inclusion, be it in the community or in our workplace. This could not be further from the truth.”
However, the move has angered many people who see it as another case of the Catholic Church abusing its position of power and meddling in things that have nothing to do with them.
The Church’s attitude towards child sex abuse infuriated people earlier this year when Cardinal George Pell appeared to deliberately avoid answering questions about abuse within the Church and refused to travel to Australia to face victims.
The question over the Catholic Church’s influence has been much debated for years, with many people saying it is too powerful and needs to be reigned in.
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