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


13 November 2015

Media and Communications Office/ABC News

VICTORIA'S UPPER HOUSE has passed legislation to legalise adoption by same-sex couples, but with an exemption for faith-based adoption services.

The bill will now need to go back to the Lower House for approval.

Members of the Opposition were given a free vote on the bill, apart from the religious exemption amendment, which they were compelled to oppose.

In debating the bill Liberal MP Bernie Finn said his first priority was the rights of children.

‘I am not convinced that same-sex adoption is in the best interests of children ... that is not to say that many same-sex couples are not superb parents,’ he said.

Friday 30 October 2015 Catholic News Service

China's Communist Party leaders have announced they are changing the nation's one-child policy.

The Communist Party's Central Committee in Beijing now says it will allow all couples to have two children.

The Chinese government imposed its one-child policy in 1979 to curb the growth of the population that, at that time, was reaching 972 million people. The policy most strictly applied to Han Chinese, but not to ethnic minorities around China. Han families in rural areas could apply to have a second child if the first child was a girl. In areas where the policy was enforced, parents could lose their jobs for having more than one child. Sometimes the second or third child was penalized and could not be registered, so he or she could not go to school.

The one-child policy often was enforced at the provincial level, and enforcement varied. In a 2007 interview with Catholic News Service, Jean-Paul Wiest, research director of The Beijing Center for Chinese Studies, said some provinces provided that if each spouse was a single child, the couple could have two children. How much the policy was followed also depended on local officials, Wiest said. For instance, in some strong Christian areas, the village's chief official might be Catholic, so the policy might not be enforced.

16 October 2015

At Australian Catholic University in Fitzroy on 15 October, Melbourne’s Archbishop Denis Hart conferred the papal honour of Knight of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great upon Melbourne lawyer Paul Hoy.

In a ceremony at the Fitzroy campus of ACU, Archbishop Hart praised Mr. Hoy for his extraordinary work for and commitment to the Archdiocese of Melbourne over 25 years, as adviser to the Archdiocese on constitutional and taxation matters, as well as being instrumental in establishing remuneration and retirement foundations for priests.

Additional praise came from Archbishop Hart for Mr. Hoy’s enduring work for the Australian Catholic University itself.

Paul was part of the original group negotiating with the Minister of Education for the establishment of the University.

22 October 2015

Australia's Catholic Bishops have condemned victimisation of women in detention and offered the Church's support to help Somali refugee Abyan who was said to be a victim of rape and sexual assault. Bishop Vincent Long, Bishops Delegate for Migrants and himself a refugee, made the offer of support on behalf of the Church today.

‘The Church wants to offer trauma-related counselling and practical support to Abyan, to help her feel supported during and after her pregnancy, and to other women who find themselves in the same horrific situation,’ Bishop Long said.

‘Given Abyan was raped and that it was Australia who released her into the community in Nauru, we have a duty to provide her the appropriate services and care in Australia.

15 October 2015

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

Democracy and religious freedom was put under the microscope when Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP delivered the Annual Acton Lecture on Religion and Freedom to a sold-out audience at the Centre for Independent Studies.

The Archbishop's lecture was titled: Should Bakers be Required to Bake Gay Wedding Cakes? The State of Our Democracy and of Religious Liberty in Contemporary Australia.

Democracies ignore religions at their peril the Archbishop said saying true democracies acknowledge moral and religious convictions while at the same time allowing the expression of differences. The Archbishop used the issue of same-sex "marriage" in the US adding Australia would be wise to avoid such "secular tyranny".

After briefly transporting the audience to a hypothetical 2025 when all discussions of marriage being a heterosexual union are either prohibited by law or polite society, the Archbishop spoke about Pope Francis' call to a visionary, practical and principled statecraft for our contemporary democracies, and a politics which is person-centred.

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