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

 

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.

Monday 13 March 2017

Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service

Within hours of President Donald Trump's new executive order March 6 banning arrivals from six majority-Muslim nations, Catholic and other religious groups joined secular leaders in questioning the wisdom of such a move, with others vowing to oppose it outright.

Bill O'Keefe, vice president for advocacy and government relations at Catholic Relief Services, said in a statement, ‘As the world's most blessed nation, we should be doing more to provide assistance overseas and resettle the most vulnerable, not less. It is wrong, during this time of great need, to cut humanitarian assistance and reduce resettlement.’

O'Keefe added, ‘Refugees are fleeing the same terrorism that we seek to protect ourselves from. By welcoming them, we show the world that we are an open, tolerant nation which seeks to protect the vulnerable. That has always been America's greatest strength.’

20 January 2017

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

These are the faces of innocent children, men and women. One, two, three and so on up to 215 million.

This is the number of people who suffer violence for the mere fact of being Christian.

The statistics have been revealed in the latest report by Open Doors, who for 60 years has taken the pulse of religious persecution in the world.

Its investigators analysed 50 countries throughout the world, totalling 4,800 million inhabitants. Out of these, 215 million are Christians and suffer a high, very high or extreme degree of persecution.

These figures estimate that one in 12 Christians in the world is a victim of violence based on religion. North Korea ranks first, where there is an absolute lack of freedom and, therefore, lack of freedom of religion. Somalia follows closely behind, where the conversion of a Muslim to Christianity can lead to death. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria and Iraq are unfortunately still on the list as well. Religious fundamentalism and jihadist terrorism prevent any favourable progress in these countries.

14 December 2016

Catholic Archdiocese of Perth

The University of Notre Dame has conferred a Doctor of Laws to the Honourable Neville Owen for his tireless and faithful commitment to the legal profession, most notably as the Senior Judge of the Court of Appeal of the WA Supreme Court, at its Graduation Ceremony at the end of 2016.

The Hon Owen is a former Chancellor of the University and has been an active contributor to the University community since 1997 when he was a founding member of the School of Law Advisory Board.

He was appointed as a Governor of The University of Notre Dame Australia in 1997, and a Trustee and Director of the institution in 2005.

In 2011, Notre Dame named its newly restored courthouse on the Fremantle Campus in his honour.

The Justice Owen Moot Court aims to inspire future lawyers to approach their professional life in the same ethical light that the Hon Owen did throughout his career.

With a special interest in corporate governance, commercial litigation, corporate insolvency and business ethics, the Hon Owen’s legal career was wide and varied.

Most notably, he oversaw the Bell Group litigation, which commenced in 2003, and was one of Australia’s longest running and most expensive civil actions.

After 400 sitting days and the tender of more than 85,000 documents, the Hon Owen delivered his final judgement in 2008.

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