Articles are reproduced with thanks from the Archdiocesan website, unless otherwise stated.

 

16 October 2017

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP delivers his homily at St Mary's cathedral on October 15. Photos: AAP

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP has issued a clarion call in the final days of the marriage plebiscite, saying that Catholics should continue to reject the false dichotomy between loving same-sex attracted people and loving true marriage.

Reiterating his concern about discrimination in the wake of same-sex marriage, the Archbishop said in his Sunday homily that it would not be unreasonable for people to withhold support for any change to marriage laws until freedom of religion protections were in place.

He also warned government "to keep out of the bedroom" when it came to regulating relationships that were not marital, such as same-sex friendships.

"Sadly our marriage 'debate' has rarely touched on what marriage is, what it's for," Archbishop Fisher said. "We've had slogans like 'love is love' but not every kind of love is marriage. Nor, if we are honest, is every marriage especially loving, at least all of the time."

Marriage is a natural and unique institution, the Archbishop said, because of its constituent parts - male and female - and the unique nature of what it might produce, namely children.

"There is only one human capacity each of us only has half of: the capacity to reproduce.

21 September 2017

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

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31 August 2017

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

A number of commentators have recently suggested that loyalty to Catholic teaching, and especially to Pope Francis, would allow, even require, support for same-sex marriage; by implication, the Australian bishops misunderstand Catholic teaching and have been disloyal to Pope Francis by saying Catholics should vote NO. But what has Pope Francis actually said about this?

In April 2010, while still Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he issued a strongly worded pastoral letter on behalf of his fellow bishops against the redefinition of marriage in Argentine law. He reminded public authorities of their responsibility to protect marriage and its unique contribution to the common good. He pointed out that the state is not discriminating unjustly when it requires a man and a woman to make a marriage: "it merely recognises a natural reality". The future pope continued: "A marriage - made up of man and woman - is not the same as the union of two people of the same sex. To distinguish is not to discriminate but to respect differences… At a time when we place emphasis on the richness of pluralism and social and cultural diversity, it is a contradiction to minimise fundamental human differences. A father is not the same as a mother. We cannot teach future generations that preparing yourself for planning a family based on the stable relationship between a man and a woman is the same as living with a person of the same sex."

But has Cardinal Bergolio changed his tune since becoming Pope Francis? He has famously emphasized the need for the Church to be close to people, accompanying them pastorally amidst the complexity of their lives, and helping to heal their wounds. He is acutely aware that many people with same-sex attraction feel alienated from the Church and society. He says that he will not judge homosexuals who are genuinely searching for God and seeking to do the good.

14 August 2017

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney is one of four lead members of the Coalition for Marriage. The official campaign website provides information about the consequences of redefining marriage for all Australians, and opportunities to assist in ensuring the Marriage Act remains unchanged.

The Coalition for Marriage is comprised of more than 80 groups from across Australia, representing over 3 million people and which, along with the Archdiocese, is led by the Australian Christian Lobby, Marriage Alliance, and the Anglican Diocese of Sydney.

It will be the leading voice in the campaign opposing changes to the Marriage Act.

The Coalition for Marriage launches Official Campaign in light of the same-sex marriage postal plebiscite

In addition to the four lead organisations, Coalition for Marriage includes the Australian Family Association, Australian Chinese for Families Association, Doctors for the Family, the National Civic Council, Christian Schools Australia, and more.

1 July 2016

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

An opinion piece from Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP was published this morning in The Guardian.

A debate on marriage equality need not be hate-filled. We could all benefit from it

In a wide-ranging speech delivered last week and published in The Guardian ("Straight politicians don't understand what it's like to hide their relationships in fear"), Senate opposition leader Penny Wong made the case against a plebiscite on the redefinition of the marriage.

Her three claims were: that opposition to same-sex marriage is essentially homophobia; that the Australian people cannot be trusted to have a respectful discussion about such matters; and so the matter should be left to the parliament.

Is it true that all defenders of the traditional definition of marriage act out of "condemnation … animosity … casual and deliberate prejudice… [and] hate" towards same-sex attracted people, as Penny Wong suggests? Well, until a few years ago the senator herself opposed the redefinition of marriage; so did her leader Bill Shorten; and so did a number of other political leaders. I do not think they were being hateful bigots at that time.

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese, 29 June 2017

Update, Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese, 28 July 2017

Cardinal Pell appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday, 26 July and was greeted by a media scrum described as "unprecedented."  Cardinal Pell was not required to appear at the procedural hearing which lasted only a few minutes, nor was he required to enter a plea.  Despite this, Cardinal Pell's barrister, Robert Richter QC, indicated that Cardinal Pell will plead not guilty to all charges against him.

The next hearing was set for Friday, 6 October.  This hearing - a committal mention - is similarly likely to last just a few minutes. 

Original story, Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese, 26 June 2017

Victoria Police this morning confirmed that they have charged Cardinal George Pell with historical sexual assault offences.  At a press conference, Victoria Police told media that Cardinal Pell has been charged on summons, and is required to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on 18 July 2017 for a filing hearing.

At the press conference, Victoria police's deputy commissioner Shane Patton said:

"It is important to note that none of the allegations that have been made against Cardinal Pell have obviously tested in any court yet.  Cardinal Pell, like any other defendant, has a right to due process and so therefore, it's important that the process is allowed to run its natural course.

"Preserving the integrity of that process is essential to all of us, and so for Victoria Police, it's important that it's allowed to go through unhindered and allowed to see natural justice is afforded to all the parties involved including Cardinal Pell and the complainants in this matter."

27 January 2017

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

All members of religious groups deserve the right to not participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies if they hold a traditional view of marriage, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) has told a Senate inquiry.

At the beginning of the year, the ACBC made a submission to a Senate select committee which was tasked with examining draft 'exemptions' for ministers of religion, marriage celebrants and religious groups so they would not have to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies if the law was changed to redefine marriage.

The submission, a copy of which is available on the ACBC website, addresses proposed amendments to the Marriage Act which would accommodate religious freedom by providing narrow 'exceptions' for ministers of religion, civil marriage celebrants and religious organisations so that they might decline to participate in a wedding ceremony for a same-sex couple.

Notably, there is no proposal to allow wedding service providers like bakers, photographers or florists to decline to provide their artistic services for a same-sex wedding.

20 January 2017

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

By Debra Vermeer

The practice of euthanasia and assisted suicide overseas has been a disaster, with so-called safeguards failing and doctor-assisted killing on the rise, and not just for the terminally ill, says world-renowned ethicist Professor Margaret Somerville.

"It's a mess, and a growing mess," she says.

Professor Somerville, who spent 40 years living and working in Canada, and most recently held two professorships at McGill University, in the faculties of Law and Medicine, has recently returned home to Australia to take up the position of Professor of Bioethics in the School of Medicine at The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney.

Her return coincides with the Victorian government flagging its intention to introduce legislation for assisted suicide later this year and reports that the NSW Parliament will also debate a euthanasia bill before year's end. This follows the narrow defeat of similar legislation in the South Australian Parliament last November.

Professor Somerville was a prominent anti-euthanasia voice in the Canadian debate leading up to the introduction of 'assisted dying' (physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia) laws there last year, following a Supreme Court of Canada decision which found it was unconstitutional not to allow euthanasia.

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