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


1 October 2015

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

Leading Australian social scientist, biologist and women's health researcher, Dr Renate Klein has slammed a new service that allows Australian women to order the "abortion pill" RU486 by phone and without a face-to-face medical or psychological consultation.

"Abortion by phone is an abomination. It is also unsafe and dangerous, particularly for women in regional areas," she told Catholic Communications this morning.

Earlier this week a group calling itself The Tabbat Foundation launched a telephone service to allow Australian women to access abortions over the phone. Costing around $250, the abortion drug RU486 and its companion drug PD (prostaglandins) are posted to the women after they are given a medical assessment by phone.

In Australia to obtain RU486/PD it is necessary to have approval from a doctor. However assessing someone's medical condition by phone is alarming, Dr Klein says.

Family Planning groups and Pro Choice advocates are hailing the abortion-by-phone service as a breakthrough for women especially for those in rural and regional areas who currently have to travel long distances or even interstate to terminate an unwanted pregnancy at clinics in the city.

But it is women who live in the country and towns across regional Australia who will be most at risk, Dr Klein warns.

1 October 2015

The following statement was given by Archbishop Denis Hart and published in today's issue of The Australian, page 12. Addressing the latest wave of protests against the distribution of the booklet 'Don't Mess with Marriage', particularly in Tasmania, Archbishop Hart points out that the basic rights of religious freedom and freedom of speech should apply to all, including Catholics.

'Freedom of choice. It’s a universally accepted, fundamental rule of civilised society.

But which freedom has command over another in the hierarchy of rights? Does freedom of speech outrank freedom of opinion, and are they both junior to freedom of information anyway?

And what of religious freedom, the right of individuals and organisations to follow the dictates and teachings of their faith without unfair and unjustified interference? Where does that fall in the freedom pecking order?

I ask this in response to another anti-choice offensive from the Greens, this time in Tasmania, questioning the Catholic Church’s ability to reinforce its religious beliefs to families that have made a deliberate choice to educate their children in a Catholic school.

28 September 2015

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

The Most Rev Julian Porteous, Archbishop of Hobart and former Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Sydney believes some in society are increasingly seeking to manipulate anti-discrimination legislation to silence the Church on same-sex marriage and other important issues.

This morning a Tasmanian transgender activist lodged an official complaint against the Australian Catholic Bishops' booklet, "Don't Mess with Marriage". Martine Delaney claims the 16-page Pastoral Letter distributed to parishes and parents across Australia in July this year breaches Tasmania's Anti Discrimination legislation.

Delaney, who began life as a male and is now in a same-sex relationship with another woman, insists the booklet is "humiliating and insulting" to same-sex attracted couples and the children of same-sex partners.

In response to such charges, Archbishop Porteous points out that the Pastoral Letter on Marriage affirms the dignity of all human beings regardless of their physical characteristics, gender or the orientation of their sexual attraction.

"There should not be threats or intimidation against anyone who expresses a view in favour of traditional marriage," he says and calls for any debate leading up to a plebiscite on same sex marriage to be conducted in an atmosphere of respect and where all arguments can be presented and exposed to rigorous scrutiny.

29 September 2015 

Julian Burnside, published in The Age

Just as a person's character is judged by their conduct, so a country's character is judged by its conduct. Australia is now judged overseas by its behaviour as cruel and selfish. We treat frightened, innocent people as criminals. It is a profound injustice.

It was with some surprise that I found myself engaged in such a hotly political issue as refugee policy. I had never been involved in politics, nor was I interested in it.

My best explanation of how this happened lies in a story I heard a long time ago. It involves a family whose 10-year-old son had never spoken a word. The parents had passed from anxiety to despair to resignation: there was no organic reason for his silence. One morning, as a novelty, the mother decided to serve porridge at breakfast. She had never served it before. The 10-year-old took a spoonful of porridge, looked up sharply and said, "I think porridge is revolting."

His parents were astonished. "It's a miracle! You can speak! Why haven't you spoken before this?"

"Everything has been satisfactory until now" he said.

The arrival of the Tampa in Australian waters in 2001 was misrepresented to the public as a threat to our national sovereignty. The people on Tampa were rescued at the request of the Australian government.

They comprised for the most part terrified Hazaras from Afghanistan, fleeing the Taliban. The Taliban regime was universally recognised as one of the most brutal and repressive in recent times. The notion that a handful of terrified, persecuted men, women and children fleeing such a regime could constitute a threat to our national sovereignty is so bizarre that it defies discussion.

9 September 2015

The submission lodged by the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne to the Victorian Legislative Council's Inquiry into End of Life Choices is now available on the Parliament website.

In its 12-pages, the Archdiocese took a strong stand against euthanasia, defined as ‘the act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering’.

Euthanasia, it argues, is contrary to the dignity of the human person and especially dangerous to the elderly, disabled and vulnerable. It cited the evidence of the ‘slippery slope’ witnessed in Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland, where people with bipolar disorder, autism, anorexia and chronic fatigue syndrome have been euthanised.

The submission urged the Committee to reject any proposals that would make euthanasia legal in Victoria as it is ‘society’s admission of the failure to look after those who are most vulnerable’.

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