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


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.

16 April 2015

Natasha Marsh

Yesterday's bid to have Victoria’s Law Reform Commission to examine euthanasia has been delayed.

The bid was forwarded by Colleen Hartland, Upper House Greens MP for Western Metropolitan.

The Victorian director of the Australian Christian Lobby, Dan Flynn, said it became clear during the course of the debate that parliamentarians were ‘not convinced that euthanasia can remain voluntary and be made safe’ and so the bid was left unresolved.

‘The broader issue of the value of human life was highlighted in a number of speeches with warnings of elder abuse and coercion.’

‘Palliative care is where our focus for end-of-life public policy should be,’ he said.

19 March 2015

Catholic News Agency

Creators of the luxury Italian fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana sparked global controversy over the weekend after coming out in defense of marriage, saying that children have the right to a mother and a father.

'The family is not a fad,' said co-founder of the fashion empire, Stefano Gabbana, in an interview with the Italian Magazine Panorama. 'In it there is a supernatural sense of belonging.'

Sharing this view with his business and former romantic partner, Domenico Dolce told the magazine: 'We didn't invent the family ourselves.'

Dolce and Gabbana, who are openly gay, went on to say children have the right to be raised by a mother and a father, and condemned the use of artificial means of conception, such as In-vitro fertilization.

The Italian-born fashion duo also spoke out against the use of surrogate mothers by gay couples who are seeking to have a child, referring to practice as 'wombs for rent.'

Dolce referred to those conceived through artificial means as 'chemical children: synthetic children. Uterus' for rent, semen chosen from a catalog. And later you go and explain to these children who the mother is.'

26 March 2016

Catholic News Agency

It may not be 1941, but Hitler’s dream of a 'Jew-free Europe' is taking shape, and it’s time for the world to take notice, say human rights advocates.

A 'virulent, open, and increasingly violent anti-Semitism' is rearing its ugly head across the European continent, according to Dr Katrina Lantos Swett, president and CEO of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice and chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

The matter is a deeply personal one for Swett–her father, Tom Lantos, was the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress.

Europe has long been seen as a haven for democracy and human rights, but that face is changing rapidly for Jews there, many of whom question if their children will even be able to live there.

'Jews are being physically threatened. Their institutions are being physically attacked. They are being killed because they’re Jews,' Swett told CNA. 'And the only reason many, many more haven’t been killed is because of security measures.'

Describing her recent solidarity visit to France’s Jewish communities, she noted that many parents 'don’t see a Jewish future' for their children in Europe. Emigration from the continent is rising and will likely continue, with popular destinations being Israel, the United States, and Canada.

18 March 2015

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

Archbishop Phil Wilson of Adelaide has said he will vigorously defend his innocence and vowed to clear his name after being charged by NSW police with concealing a serious offence regarding clerical child sexual abuse in the Hunter region nearly 30 years ago.

Archbishop Wilson said in a written statement; "I am disappointed to have been notified by the NSW Police that it has decided to file a charge in respect of this matter.

"The suggestion appears to be that I failed to bring to the attention of police a conversation I am alleged to have had in 1976, when I was a junior priest, that a now deceased priest had abused a child.

"From the time this was first brought to my attention last year, I have completely denied the allegation. I intend to vigorously defend my innocence through the judicial system."

The charge relates to James Patrick Fletcher, a priest who was convicted of molesting an altar boy in the early 1990s but died in prison in 2006. However more recent police investigations found Fletcher's offending dated back to the 1970s in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese.

11 March 2015

Aid to the Church in Need

'Three policemen tried to drag me away. But I resisted. Then half a dozen of them lifted me up—with one even choking me by the neck—and put me in the police bus.' His priestly garb gave Fr Dennis George little protection he said when retelling his story to the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need on Thursday 5 March.

The offense of Father George, a priest of the Archdiocese of New Delhi, was his attempt to join a demonstration on 5 February against the desecration and attacks on five Catholic churches in the Indian capital as well as months of Hindu harassment of Christians throughout the country.

The unrest did prod India’s political leader into action. 'My government will not allow any religious group, belonging to the majority or the minority, to incite hatred against others, overtly or covertly,' declared Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday 17 February.

'Mine will be a government that gives equal respect to all religions,' Modi said on 17 February, while presiding over celebrations here to honor India’s two new saints, Chavara Elias Kuriakose and Sister Euphrasia, who had been canonized last November at the Vatican.

11 March 2015

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

The court of public opinion will decide if Australia has breached human rights conventions and damaged its global reputation following the release this week of a UN Report.

The UN Report on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of Punishment has already sparked heated debate amongst politicians and activists.

Professor Spencer Zifak, Professor of Law at the Australian Catholic University and expert on International Human Rights Law says despite the lack of penalties for Convention breaches Australia's reputation will be damaged.

However Report critics say it is based on submissions of lobby groups and human rights activists and further independent investigation was required.

The Report which was presented to the UN Human Rights Council on Monday 9 March, investigated 200 allegations of torture and abuse in 68 countries. Four of these involved Australia's asylum seeker policies and took issue with children being held in immigration detention, the holding of asylum seekers off shore and subject to dangerous and violent conditions, and the recent amendments to Australia's Maritime powers which allow the arbitrary detention and refugee determinations to be carried out at sea with no access to lawyers, and have tightening controls on the issuing of visas on the basis of character and risk assessments.

5 March 2015

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

The integration of Canon Law into undergraduate studies provides invaluable insights for future legal practitioners, says Professor Michael Quinlan, Dean of the School of Law at the University of Notre Dame Sydney.

Students at Notre Dame's School of Law are able to study Canon Law as an Elective Law Unit during the final years of their study for a Bachelor of Laws or a Bachelor of Laws/ Bachelor of Arts double degree which leads to a better understanding of how different legal systems operate, and how the Catholic faith has played a significant role in the development of Australia's own civil law, Professor Quinlan says.

Offered by Notre Dame at its Sydney Campus, the Canon Law Unit of Study provides students with an introduction to the internal laws governing the Catholic Church as specified in the Code of Canon Law promulgated by St John Paul II in 1983, and explores the role this plays in today's civil law.

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