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

 

11 June 2015

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

Diversity and tolerance will be celebrated next week when politicians from both minor and major political parties join community leaders from 30 different faiths at Federal Parliament for the Australian Catholic University's Inaugural Interfaith Prayer Breakfast.

"The Interfaith Prayer Breakfast provides an opportunity to reflect on the important role faith plays in our everyday lives and in making sense of our world," says ACU Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven who hopes the breakfast will become a regular event on the Federal Parliamentary, interfaith and University calendars.

Faiths represented at next week's breakfast will include leaders from Australia's Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, and Baha'i communities. Leaders from Christian churches will also be present. Roman Catholic, Baptist, the Salvation Army, the Uniting Church, Coptic Orthodox, the Wesley Mission and other Christian denominations will also be represented.

Seven different faith leaders will not only help lead prayers but also deliver readings on leadership, governance and service, and pray for the wise deliberations of Federal Parliament.

10 June 2015

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) says that the proposed tax system puts sole-breadwinner families at a ‘disadvantage’ as these will not have access to two tax-free thresholds.

In a submission on the Australian Government’s Tax Discussion Paper addressed to the Treasury, the ACBC said that the government had a primary duty to promote ‘the common good’. Alongside the government’s proposal to ‘boost productivity and encourage higher workforce participation’ the Bishops would like to see ‘an explicit reference to the wellbeing of all Australians’.

‘There is no point to improving economic growth if there is no improvement to the lives of Australians. Improving the lives of Australians goes further than improvements in the number of opportunities for workers, or to economic growth, the national accounts or even to pay packets. All these measures could be driven higher if we all worked 12 hour days in the paid workforce, but the bigger picture—the common good—would be missing,’ the submission said.

Of special concern was the direct consequence the proposed tax laws had for single-income families.

‘Parents who stay at home are considered to be outside the workforce because they do not receive pay. This overlooks the key role these parents have in the welfare of their families and local communities … These families are disadvantaged by the tax system because they do not have access to the two tax free thresholds available to families with the same total income, but two income earners.’

10 June 2015

Australian Christian Lobby Managing Director Lyle Shelton has joined with 38 leaders of Christian and other religious groups in signing a letter to the Prime Minister urging him and the parliament to uphold the true meaning of marriage.

Mr Shelton said such a demonstration of support from Australia's faith communities for man-woman marriage and the rights of children it protects was a welcome development in what has been largely a one-sided debate.

"It is so important our nation does not sleep-walk into a legislative change to the definition of marriage without considering the consequences," Mr Shelton said.

4 June 2015

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

Adult children raised by in Canada by homosexual parents have spoken out strongly against same sex unions warning that the Canadian 2005 legalisation has eroded fundamental human rights and the basic freedoms of speech, press, religion and association.

"Over 50 adult children who were raised by LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender) parents share my concerns about same-sex unions and parenting," Dawn Stefanowicz writes in CNS News, a North American online news service. "Many of us struggle with our own sexuality and sense of gender because of the influences of our household environments growing up."

The author of "Out from Under: The Impact of Homosexual Parenting," the Canadian mother of two who is also a full time accountant, is an outspoken critic of same-sex marriage.

Last month she and six other Canadian adult children of homosexual parents filed an amicus brief with the US Supreme Court asking the Court to respect the authority of US citizens to keep the original definition of marriage as "a union between one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others," so that children may know and may be raised by their biological parents.

3 June 2015
Zenit

The Holy See has called for respect following a television interview with a member of the Commission for the Protection of Minors who criticized Cardinal George Pell, the prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy.

In an interview with 60 Minutes, Peter Saunders called the cardinal’s position ‘untenable’ following the Australian Royal Commission’s hearings on the Church’s actions on abuse crimes committed by a former priest. Cardinal Pell has strongly denied accusations that he had knowledge of abuse in the Diocese of Ballarat, where he served as a priest.

Saunders is one of the 17 members of the commission established by Pope Francis to ensure the protection of children and minors from sexual abuse. During the interview, Saunders also criticized the Australian prelate, saying: ‘He has a catalogue of denigrating people, of acting with callousness, cold-heartedness, almost sociopathic I would go as far as to say, this lack of care.’

However, Cardinal Pell’s secretary denied the accusations raised against him during the interview and also expressed disbelief of Saunders' opinion given the fact that they never met.

‘Cardinal Pell has never met Mr. Saunders, who seems to have formed his strong opinions without ever having spoken to His Eminence,’ the statement read.

1 June 2015

CathNews

The Ballarat Diocese might not be able meet the claims it faces for widespread child sexual abuse by clergy, Bishop Paul Bird told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Friday.

As many as 14 priests have been found to have abused children in the Victorian Diocese. It has already had at least 130 abuse complaints substantiated, mostly against the paedophile former priest Gerald Ridsdale.

Bishop Bird said the financial position of the Diocese was not strong, and some of its parishes that are reasonably well off are subsidising "quite a lot" that need assistance.

He said a finance committee had come to the conclusion that it could not really predict what financial liability the Diocese faces for historical and current abuse claims.

22 May 2015

This Tuesday marked the start of a three-week public hearing of the Royal Commission into the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse into institutions run by the Catholic Church in the diocese of Ballarat, including St Joseph’s Home, St Alipius Primary School and parish, St Patrick’s College and St Patrick’s Christian Brothers Boys Primary School.

The court will first hear from 18 survivor witnesses followed by statements from counsellors, doctors, members of relevant support groups and perpetrators.

Survivor Patrick Nagle, 50, who attended St Alipius, told ABC News that testifying at the Commission was ‘extremely difficult’.

‘We’ve known this has been coming for about three months and I haven’t slept [the] last couple of nights,’ he said.

‘It was very, very tough indeed. But I’m glad it’s over.’

In an interview with The Age, Shireen Gunn, Manager of the Centre against Sexual Assault in Ballarat, spoke of the difficulty for many in telling their stories.

‘This inquiry is the external realisation of what we already know. But the fact that these guys can get up and give these graphic details and tell their stories—it’s just a huge achievement.’

27 March 2015

Natasha Marsh

On the same day that he was sworn in as Australia’s first Minister for Equality, Martin Foley announced he would ‘waste no time’ in amending Victoria’s adoption laws, ‘bringing Victoria into line’ with New South Wales, Western Australia, the ACT and Tasmania, which amended their laws to allow adoption by same-sex couples.

Currently, section 11 of the Victorian Adoption Act 1984 states that an adoption order may be made in favour of a ‘man and woman’ who are either:

• married for a minimum of two years
• in a relationship recognised as a traditional marriage by Aboriginal community elders, for a minimum of two years
• living in de facto relationships, for a minimum of two years.

The review seeks to remove the phrase ‘man and woman’ from section 11 to allow same-sex couples to adopt children.

As part of the review process, the government called for submissions from all interested parties, which closed on Monday 23 March.

Fr Joe Caddy, Chief Executive Officer of CatholicCare (the Melbourne agency of the Catholic Church that handles adoption), and Matthew MacDonald, Executive Officer of the Life, Marriage and Family Office made a submission on behalf of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne.

The submission highlights it is in the best interests of the child to be raised in a stable, monogamous relationship by a mother and father. This claim is supported by numerous best-practice sociological studies.

‘The genuine, committed and exclusive love between a man and a woman, grounded in marriage is the foundation of family life and promotes the optimum welfare and development of children,’ it reads.

It reminds the government that the various studies seeking to undermine this sociological reality have all been criticised by peers for ‘inadequate-sized sampling, reporting bias and other methodological flaws … Choosing to ignore the available evidence is a grave error,’ it says.

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