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Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen

NEW SOUTH WALES, Australia, May 18, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Significant backlash from Catholic parents and priests has pushed Bishop Vincent Long van Nguyen of Parramatta to adjust his stance on a bill that would ban gender ideology being taught in New South Wales (NSW) schools from opposed to neutral.

The original submission authored by Catholic education boss Greg Whitby controversially split with Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher and Catholic Schools NSW and opposed the bill because he saw it as “counter to promoting and respecting the human dignity of all” and “an unacceptable incursion into the professional judgement of Catholic schools and school systems.”

In reality, the submission denied the Church’s recognition of parents as the primary educators of their children while implicitly endorsing the concept of gender fluidity.

But after furious critique from Catholic commentators, including a reformed LGBT lobbyist, a public protest outside his own cathedral, and an official petition to the Vatican seeking the removal of both Long and Whitby, the bishop entered full damage control mode.

He began by releasing a Pastoral Letter in which he sought to regain confidence from his flock by “emphatically” rejecting “the notion of gender ideology.”

“We have nothing to fear from a respectful and intelligent dialogue with our sons and daughters, with our deeply committed teaching staff, and in a caring Catholic environment. Life can be complex; but the Church is not a cult that refuses to engage and challenge our contemporary culture. I believe when faced with a choice, we need to acknowledge and stand with those who are ostracised rather than consigning them to the margins of society,” he wrote.

The following week he overruled Whitby’s submission with a new document that merely seeks amendments to the bill.

The new submission clearly “affirms the prohibition of teaching gender ideology in an educational setting.”

Bishop Long cited the Catholic position on gender theory set out by the Vatican in its 2019 paper Male and Female He Created Them, which he adopts an approach to gender theory that is “based on the path of dialogue.” The document’s full title is Male and Female He Created Them: Towards a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory in Education.

While some academics thought the paper did not go far enough, it ultimately reaffirmed the Church’s position that “sees sexuality as a fundamental component of one’s personhood.”

Bishop Long’s rejigged submission also made an about-face on the question of parental primacy, stating that he “strongly affirms the Catholic teaching that parents are the primary educators of their children in matters of faith and education.”

But Long is not completely in the clear.

Several sources who spoke to LifeSite on the condition of anonymity said that Long said to their faces that he believes in gender fluidity.

On top of this, the Catholic families who protested at his own St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Parramatta were not protesting solely based on Whitby’s submission, which was assumed to have had the bishop’s approval.

The protest, as well as the formal appeal to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) requesting Long’s removal, is the culmination of years of protestation and petitioning against the bishop, Whitby, and Vicar for Education Father Chris de Souza, for allegedly promoting homosexuality in Catholic schools.

Other than accusing Bishop Long of alleged canonical violations, the formal appeal contains a series of complaints outlined in a report by Edward Pentin at National Catholic Register.

According to Pentin, the accusations fill 24 pages with 43 attachments.

They include mention of Long’s failure to oppose Australia’s same-sex “marriage” vote in 2017, running a symposium on “LGBT inclusivity” in 2018, and drafting a Catholic school curriculum that promotes gender ideology in 2020.

Two orthodox priests, Father Bob Bossini and Father Warren Edwards, have also left the diocese after standing up to that curriculum and allegedly being pushed out of their prominent positions of Dean of the Cathedral and Vocations Director by Bishop Long.

The CDF has yet to acknowledge receipt of the appeal.