Brisbane Cathedral Pride Evensong Offers Prayers to “Erotic Christ”

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Brisbane Cathedral has held a “Pride Evensong” this last Sunday where prayers addressed Jesus as “Erotic Christ”.

The service, held as part of a wider “Pride” festival in Brisbane, is now an annual event at the Cathedral.

The sermon was given by the Dean of the Cathedral, Peter Catt, who is currently advocating for the blessing of same-sex unions both in the wider media and at the Brisbane synod in direct contradiction of long-established church doctrine and teaching.

The service sheet [pdf] shows that the liturgy was built around the 1662 evensong service with additional intercessions that understands were drawn from a “Rainbow Christ” prayer and include the following:

Rainbow Christ, you embody all the colors of the world. Rainbows serve as bridges between different realms: Heaven and Earth, east and west, queer and non-queer. Inspire us to remember the values expressed in the rainbow flag of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community.

Orange is for sexuality, the fire of spirit. Erotic Christ, you are our Fire, the Word made flesh. Free us from exploitation, and grant us the grace of mutual relationships. With the orange stripe in the rainbow, kindle a fire of passion in us.

The sermon [pdf], which referenced neither the Old Testament reading from Esther nor the New Testament reading from Mark,  was entitled “Queering the City of the God” and is embedded below.

September 16 – Evensong by David Ould on Scribd

Catt seeks to explain the significance of the different flags that were prominently displayed in the Cathedral and also explores the significance of the term “Queer”. He then briefly examines Gal. 3:28,

I think this one of the most profound insights found in the New Testament, one which the church has rarely allowed to shape its approach to people. The ordination of women over the past thirty years has seen us struggling to get back to first base. Paul highlights the three great divisions of humanity at the time and as I see it this invites each generation to discern what are the similarly great divisions of its day.

Next he draws upon the work of Sarah Coakley to reflect upon the implications of the doctrine of the Trinity.

The Trinity is our Queering principle, that which invites us to defy binaries and labels.

Finally, he returns to discuss the flags,

The pride flag is displayed daily here at St John’s along with our other welcome flags. As well as standing as a symbol of welcome and affirmation to those who identify as belonging to the gender and sexuality diverse community, it has also acted as welcoming beacon to people who do not identify as members of that community but who expect not to be made welcome in a church for some other reason. The pride flag has become a powerful symbol of inclusion; a magnet for those who long for their membership of humanity to be recognised in community.


Once again a Cathedral is being used to heavily promote a doctrine contrary to the Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia, the Book of Common Prayer, the repeated decisions of General Synod, the 2018 agreement of the bishops (of which Archbishop Philip Aspinall of Brisbane was a party) and, not least, the Scriptures.

images from St John’s Cathedral, Brisbane Facebook page.

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This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. ozhamada

    God deals with human pride in many ways in the Bible. Some ways are quite dramatic; particularly in the Old Testament. And, God does not hold back whether it is King or Prophet or Priest. We need to be concerned when modern day clergy seem not to understand God’s response to human pride as it indicates that they do not fear God.

  2. Paul Nolan

    Catt’s newspaper article (a click-on in the above report) attributes a strong & developing “Sense of the Faithful” to SSM survey respondents, towards their approval of church blessings of same-sex civil marriages.

    The survey asked “Should the law be changed to allow same sex couples to marry?”. I opine that 99.9% of the 62% “Yes” voters wouldn’t have a clue what Catt is on about. It is just possible that a similar percentage of “No” voters did so because they foresaw the likes of Catt coming out with such rubbish, but I doubt it.

    The survey was about legalising SSM, a secular matter. For a senior churchman to use its introduction as a devious means of splitting his congregation is a disgraceful way to behave.

    1. jackalison

      RE:”The survey was about legalising SSM, a secular matter. ” Be careful what you wish for. The Ultra orthodox Syd. Anglicans gave 1 million dollars to the “no” campaign. This PLEB was about civil secular equality under the law for law abiding tax paying gay aussies for a CIVIL secular marriage licence and yet churches did their upmost to curtail those civil rights. NOW, on the rebound churches must face a growing disquiet for using religion as a proxy for hate and twisting of gospel message as a “christian?” message for blatant homphobia. At no time were gay people asking for church marriages. The result will be a massive push back against organized religion over the way they interfered and behaved in the PLEB. churches should have shut up n minded their own business, particularly on the heels of child sexual abuse scandals under their auspices for deacades

      1. Chris Russell

        jackalison makes a strong argument, not that religion was used “as a proxy for hate” etc.
        Insofar as it is true, however, that “gay people” were not asking for church marriages, notwithstanding the ongoing efforts of many Anglicans to give them church marraiges, in circumstances, even, where the State was and remains willing to allow Christians to remain true to what is the characteristic teaching of the people of God, it has to be said that the Sydney Anglicans abused the Lord’s money by using it to fund a secular agenda, appropriate, certainly, for those who are of this world.

        1. David Ould

          I’m not sure it’s correct to call it a “secular” agenda. The whole world is God’s and thus if we want the best for it we will be speaking into apparently “secular” issues.
          Just because the world thinks that Christians have no right to speak into the question of marriage, it doesn’t follow that we should not. I’d actually argue that we have a duty to speak for the benefit of those sheep without a shepherd. Here’s some more thoughts on the question:

          1. Chris Russell

            Christians certainly have a right to speak into the question of marriage, and to be heard without hate and prejudice. Your “shock” and “horror” piece is a very fine contribution; however it does not address the critical issue, namely, that unbelievers are ‘entitled’ today to live in a society where Christian marriage does not exhaust the options that should be available. They are, indeed, entitled to live without God in this world (always have been), whereas “we have a duty to speak for the benefit of those sheep without a shepherd”. But what this means is not that we should seek to deprive the unbeliever of his “civil rights” in this reprobate, wicked world. In the marriage debate, where were the Sydney Anglicans calling out homosexuality as a vile abomination – for the benefit of those sheep without a shepherd.

            1. David Ould

              hi Chris. I don’t think you would actually apply that principle in other areas. So, for example, if our wider society decided to reintroduce slavery would we be wrong to deprive them of their rights? Of course not! We ought to speak into each and every occasion in order, not least, to be a blessing and to bring God’s wisdom to bear upon the foolishness around us.

              As for the debate itself, many of us were very involved but we chose a different tack not least because the question was actually wider than homosexuality – it was about the very nature of marriage itself.

              1. Chris Russell

                The Romans had their slaves. Christ had them in derision, without depriving them of their rights.
                If our wider society decided to reintroduce slavery, we would be following our Lord, truly, if likewise we did not resist the evil. Of course that is not to say that we may not teach that man is made in the image of God. Whether we would be met with hate and prejudice – as no doubt we would under such conditions – would simply be the cross we had to bear.

                1. David Ould

                  That seems to me to be a very passive approach to things. So was Wilberforce wrong to oppose slavery to the extent that he did?

                  1. Chris Russell

                    Hi David, the abolition of slavery is a social good that is consistent with Christian ethics, obviously. Wilberforce et al. were able to appeal to Christian values, in their time and place, and bring about improvements in society. In the first century, Paul and the early Christians would have been unable to do so, but that is a reflection merely of different historical circumstances. Whether we should endeavor to change the circumstances of our time and place so as to improve the rights of men and women in the material world is not our problem as followers of Christ. Insofar as we do, however, the Lord, Himself, has said that we are doing so unto Him. That’s where our focus should be, without our being a cog in the welfare machine of the State. I think this may be why the biblical writings are silent on social justice.

                    We ought not celebrate the lives of Christians who find favour in the eyes of the world. The Lord sent us forth as sheep in the midst of wolves, but we were not wise as serpents: we debated the nature of marriage with them.

                    1. David Ould

                      Whether we should endeavor to change the circumstances of our time and place so as to improve the rights of men and women in the material world is not our problem as followers of Christ.

                      I don’t think I’m the only person who will disagree deeply with you on that one.

                    2. Chris Russell

                      Please note what I said. To the extent that we may change the circumstances of our time and place so as to improve the rights of men and women in the material world is not our problem as followers of Christ: insofar as we do, however, the Lord, Himself, has said that we are doing so unto Him.
                      If you want to disagree deeply on that, then OK.

                    3. Chris Russell

                      The problem, David, is that your habitual mindset on current affairs is secular – like so many Christians.

      2. Paul Nolan


  3. Chris Russell

    The household of Satan. Come out from among them, and be separate.

  4. Paul Nolan

    jackalison, you misunderstand my post. Catt attributes to “Yes” voters a mystical “sense of faith” being transferred to the church as a result of their votes. I opined about 0.1% of those voters (who were asked if the law should be changed to allow SSM), would have thought that their vote was also approving the blessing of same-sex civil marriages in church. That’s what Catt is saying. Did you think that when you voted jack?

    You are correct to say that gay people never asked for church marriages. Parliament changed the Marriage Act to facilitate civil marriage for all couples regardless of their gender mix. No polling has been done, more’s the pity, but I’m quite sure a large majority of Australian Christians approve of the law change.

    Whether Christian ministers should bless same-sex civil marriages in their churches or even the next step of marrying same-sex couples in church, which obviously is Catt’s next push, are decisions yet to be made by most congregations here.

    1. Chris Russell

      Paul Nolan, if you are confident that “a large majority of Australian Christians approve of the law change” – and you may well be right in respect of professing Christians in Australia – then what is your complaint against Mr Catt? If professing Christians approve of homosexual marriage, say, in parks and gardens, then it would seem reasonable to assume that they may also approve of it inside church buildings. If not, why not?

  5. Paul Nolan

    There are two elements to my (as you term it) “complaint” with Catt. He asserts in a newspaper article that the church has received a “sense of faith” from those of the laity who voted YES in the postal survey, the “sense” manifesting itself as an approval of ministers blessing the civil marriages of same-sex couples in church. This is a most doubtful concurrence, as I make clear.

    On the question of a majority of Australian Christians approving the law change facilitating civil marriage for all couples regardless of gender – a minister could, I guess, invite a civil marriage celebrant to marry same-sex couples inside his church, but this is not what Catt et al are pushing for. They want to marry same-sex couples in church in sacramental (another word = liturgical) ceremonies.

    This is a different kettle of fish altogether. I hope you can make the distinction Chris.

    1. Chris Russell

      Yes, Paul, it’s a different kettle of fish, but if a large majority of “Australian Christians” approve of homosexual marriage then the horse has bolted. I think that’s the message coming from Mr Catt, and it’s a point very well taken.

      Moreover this is why Anglicans needed a leader like Archbishop Stylianos, of the Greek Orthodox in Australia, who advised his people what was expected of them as Christians, participating in the marriage plebiscite. Instead, they had Mr Freier.

      1. Paul Nolan

        I’m quite sure a large majority of Australian Christians do approve of the law change. Their approval of gay civil marriage does not mean the horse has bolted on Christian ministers (in Catt’s case, Anglican) being authorised to bless same-sex civil marriages or to marry same-sex couples in religious ceremonies. Catt etc think authorisation is in the bag but they are mistaken.

        There IS a vacuum which the splittists are exploiting – see another example in today’s story of Melbourne “liberals” – which is caused by the Primate’s & the Bishop’s reluctance to endorse Christ’s teaching on marriage pairs since the law change and to disassociate the ACA from participating in it.

  6. Chris Russell

    OK, Paul, but I don’t think you get the point i.e. that it is hypocritical to privilege Christian marriage as sacramental in circumstances where homosexual marriage is otherwise approved by those who profess to follow Christ.

    1. Paul Nolan

      You seem preoccupied with the phrase “homosexual marriage”, Chris. The marriage equality lobby went to lengths to educate people that gender-less marriage encompasses a number of pairings, not necessarily two homosexuals. Hence the new lawful definition of marriage = the union of “2 people”.

      There is nothing hypocritical in Christian men & women celebrating together a sacrament of marriage (in the ACA’s case, Holy Matrimony) and holding a concurrent, positive view of temporal changes to the marriage law.

      But let’s get back to the real point. Where do you think Christian ministers & their congregations should go from here?

      1. Chris Russell

        I don’t use the terminology of homosexual activists. Your first paragraph, Paul, exemplifies why this may be prudent.

        Your comment: “… holding a concurrent, positive view of temporal changes to the marriage law” assumes that you may countenance homosexuality insofar as you are a follower of Christ. This is not possible if you accept the biblical prohibitions as normative. If you do not accept the biblical prohibitions as normative, then a sacramental view of marriage is merely a bogus feature of organised religion. These appear to me to be the real points.

        In reference to your understanding of the real point, my friend, let me say that I think that Christian ministers & their congregations should get down on their hands and knees before God. How’s that for starters.

  7. Mike Ford.

    Perhaps we miss a point what does Gods Word say, about marriage between people of the same sex? It’s not what we think, it isn’t what we want , it is the Lord who wills.


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