The Catholic Weekly https://www.catholicweekly.com.au The Church. All of it. Tue, 17 Sep 2019 06:19:29 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.3 Religious schools under fire https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/religious-schools-under-fire/ Tue, 17 Sep 2019 00:40:39 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=27194 This case reveals that the introduction of same-sex marriage was just one step in a much longer campaign to force compliance on everyone, including churches and church-run institutions.

The post Religious schools under fire appeared first on The Catholic Weekly.

]]>
Reading Time: 4 minutes

So-called “equality” advocates are showing their anti-freedom credentials with the latest complaint to be lodged against a Christian school for having the audacity to try and ensure that Christian teaching on marriage and family is expressed in its classrooms.

The Ballarat Christian College story

For those who missed the story, Rachel Colvin, a former teacher at Ballarat Christian College, is suing the school for discrimination.

Rachael Colvin is suing her former employer, Ballarat Christian College. The case has fundamental implications for whether religious schools will be allowed to require the support of employees for their official goals or whether official Christian mission statements are regarded as intrinsically discriminatory – and therefore illegal.

Ms Colvin worked at the school between 2008-11, and then came back as a part-time teacher in July 2016.  About a year before Ms Colvin returned, Ballarat Christian College had made the news because it sent an email to parents citing its opposition to same-sex marriage. So fierce was the backlash that the school was forced to close for a day while graffiti too vile for the students to see was cleaned from its buildings.

The Enterprise Agreement for staff at the school reasonably requires all employees “to possess and maintain a firm personal belief consistent with the Statement of Faith of the college”. Once the legal definition of marriage changed in December 2017, that Statement of Faith was updated to specify that marriage is between a man and a woman and that it is from this foundation that children should be conceived.  It’s hardly a surprising position for the school to have taken.

Teacher challenges school on mission

On 14 August 2018, Ms Colvin wrote to the school, formally objecting to the revised Statement of Faith.  According to the media reports, “the college indicated she was free to hold her views personally but was required to support and teach in accordance with the beliefs of the school.”  Again, it’s hardly a surprising – or unreasonable – position for the school to take when parents choose to send their children there to be educated in the context of the Christian faith.

The process to resolve the issue had not completed when, in February this year, Ms Colvin resigned.

The school heard nothing more until last week, when they received notice of a complaint filed with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal alleging discrimination on the basis of her political and religious beliefs.  In media reports, the school’s principal expressed surprise at the timing, given that it has now been some seven months since Ms Colvin resigned.

But I’m not surprised at all.

Activists back former teacher

The complaint is being backed by Equality Australia, the new name of Australian Marriage Equality, which is the organisation that brought us the Archbishop Julian Porteous case.

Equality Australia have been vocal opponents of the largely toothless Religious Discrimination Bill released by the government in recent weeks and want to see even the smallest of protections afforded to people of faith removed. This is despite their promises during the marriage campaign that no one would be affected by a change in the marriage law.

This case reveals that the introduction of same-sex marriage was just one step in a much longer campaign to force compliance on everyone, including churches and church-run institutions.  Ballarat Christian College will not be the last anti-discrimination case they bring.

This case reveals that the introduction of same-sex marriage was just one step in a much longer campaign to force compliance on everyone, including churches and church-run institutions …

While it seems common sense that a Christian school should be able to require that its staff do not undermine Christian teaching, it is not a given that Ballarat Christian College will be successful here. Religious schools currently receive an exemption from anti-discrimination laws when it comes to discrimination on the basis of marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and other similar attributes. But Ms Colvin is not alleging discrimination on these grounds, but rather on her political and religious beliefs about these matters.

The difference is slight, but important, because there is no exemption in Victorian law or in the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill that allows a religious school to discriminate on the basis of political beliefs.  Even if the government’s purported protections for people of faith were passed, it would have no bearing on this matter.

Taking aim at legislation?

In terms of Ms Colvin’s complaint that she was discriminated against on the basis of religious belief, the allegation appears orchestrated to challenge the provisions of the Religious Discrimination Bill, which say that it is not discrimination for a religious school to engage in conduct “that may reasonably be regarded as being in accordance with the doctrines, tenets, beliefs or teachings of the religion.”

Ms Colvin – a self-described “committed Christian” – told media that God is really about “loving others.”  If Colvin’s case proceeds, it will be for a tribunal or a court to decide which version of marriage is in accordance with the doctrines, beliefs or principles of Christianity, ie. which God the Victorian courts prefer to worship.  I’m not so sure I like the school’s chances, given where Victoria is currently headed.

Out in the open

But we can be grateful to Equality Australia for putting the matter on the table before the Religious Discrimination Bill is tabled in parliament because at least those asked to vote on it will have a current example of what can happen if they get this Bill wrong.

Related article:

The post Religious schools under fire appeared first on The Catholic Weekly.

]]>
Rachael-Colvin_post Rachael Colvin is suing her former employer Ballarat Christian College. The case has fundamental implications for whether religious schools will be allowed to require the support of employees for their official goals or whether official Christian mission statements are regarded as intrinsically discriminatory and therefore illegal.
Faith schools under threat https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/faith-schools-under-threat/ Tue, 17 Sep 2019 00:18:12 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=27189 Religious schools are under threat of activist-backed legal cases said Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP.

The post Faith schools under threat appeared first on The Catholic Weekly.

]]>
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP addressed the Stand for Life Rally in Hyde Park on 15 September 2019. PHOTO: G Portelli

Religious schools are under direct threat of activist-backed legal cases which “threaten the very future of faith-based education in this country,” Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP has declared.

The ability of Christian schools to teach according to their faith should not need to be defended in costly actions instigated by activist groups in tribunals, commissions and courts, he said.

The Archbishop’s comments come after a former teacher at Ballarat Christian College commenced legal action against her former employer, claiming she was forced to resign after she refused to accept the school’s policy about same-sex marriage.

Ballarat teacher Rachel Colvin was employed at the non-denominational College for a number of years before her resignation in February. It is understood she was first employed in 2008 for several years, with her most recent term of employment from July 2016 until her resignation earlier this year.

She has filed a discrimination case with the Victorian Civil Administrative Appeals Tribunal (VCAT) under Victoria’s Equal Opportunity Act 2010.

Her action is supported by Equality Australia, the new name of Australian Marriage Equality, the organisation that backed the case against Archbishop Julian Porteous by Tasmanian transgender Greens candidate Martine Delaney for distributing the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference booklet on the Catholic teaching about marriage.

“An activist-backed anti-discrimination complaint, lodged against the Ballarat Christian College, seems to have been carefully timed in an attempt to derail current efforts to protect religious freedom in Australia,” Archbishop Fisher said.

“The complaint apparently challenges the right of religious schools to teach that marriage is between a man and a woman and to require that staff not undermine that teaching. It therefore contests the right of parents to choose schools for their children that accord with their own religious beliefs on such matters.

“It also undermines the expectation that students be taught by teachers with conviction. It thus threatens the very future of faith-based education in this country.”

He said those who campaigned for a change to the definition of marriage in Australia had reneged on their claim there would be no negative consequences for those who did not agree.

“Here we are, less than two years later, and a prominent activist group borne out of the ‘Yes’ campaign demonstrates this was false.

“This is sadly true to form: it’s the same style of activism that sought to weaponise state anti-discrimination law against Archbishop of Hobart, Julian Porteous.”

He criticised both the Liberal and Labor parties for failing to protect religious freedom in Australia. “At the time of the marriage postal vote, the leaders of both parties promised Australians of faith that religious freedom would be protected before any change to the law was made,” he said.

“They failed to fulfil that promise. Two years later and we are still awaiting adequate religious freedom protections.

“Two years later and religious schools are being subjected to exactly the sort of lawfare they said they feared and our leaders promised would be prevented.”

He said that even if the government’s proposed Religious Discrimination Bill is passed, it still remains unclear whether the Ballarat Christian College would be protected and whether other faith-based schools would be able to continue to employ staff who share their mission.

“The Attorney-General has had some consultation with religious leaders and we understand that he has met with the activist group behind this claim. In light of these discussions, the Attorney-General must urgently clarify if it is intended that faith-based schools and other institutions will be protected in such cases under any proposed legislation.”

Related articles:

The post Faith schools under threat appeared first on The Catholic Weekly.

]]>
Archbishyop_featurejpg Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP addressed the Stand for Life Rally in Hyde Park on 15 September 2019. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli
Beware consequences, prolifers warn Berejiklian government https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/beware-consequences-prolifers-warn-berejiklian-government/ Mon, 16 Sep 2019 06:52:11 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=27135 If the Berejiklian government fails to prevent sex-selection abortions, infanticide on demand and guarantee the conscience rights of healthcare professionals it faces serious political consequences

The post Beware consequences, prolifers warn Berejiklian government appeared first on The Catholic Weekly.

]]>
Reading Time: 6 minutes
Barnaby Joyce addresses the rally last Sunday 15 September in Hyde Park. Failure to allow key amendments tot he NSW abortion legislation currently before the state parliament would have important consequences for the government, he said. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

If the Berejiklian government fails to prevent sex-selection abortions, infanticide on demand or to guarantee the conscience rights of healthcare professionals it faces serious political consequences, numerous speakers warned a massive prolife rally in Hyde Park on Sunday.

Thousands gathered at the northern end of the iconic Sydney landmark on a near perfect Sunday afternoon to protest the passage of the legislation being debated by the NSW Legislative Council this week.

New England Nationals member Barnaby Joyce made it clear to the crowd of several thousand that any failure of the government to pass amendments viewed as essential by prolife organisers and activists would not be politically forgiven – either now or at election time.

‘We won’t forget’

“We’re not forgetting anything,” he told a boisterous and upbeat crowd. “We’ve got a very good memory,” he said, referring also to the 75,000 signature petition originally lodged by prolife forces with the NSW Parliament at rapid notice and the 23,000 signatures he had received on his website at the same time.

The message was clear. Facing an uphill battle to defeat the legislation authored by Sydney Independent MP Alex Greenwich, organisers of Sunday’s rally needed to demonstrate they could maintain the widespread community discomfort and opposition to the Berejiklian government’s handling of the issue by turning out at least the same or even greater numbers than the Martin Place rally of 20 August.

At that level they succeeded. Police told The Catholic Weekly they estimated the crowd at 3500 people but organisers said they were certain the numbers of Sunday’s protest were well up on the Martin Place event.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott greets the large crowd. He saluted the courage of State MPs such as Kevin Connolly and Tanya Davies for putting their political careers on the line in the defence of life. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

Mr Joyce was just one of numerous religious, political and civic leaders to address the large and boisterously upbeat rally, including Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, who said the so-called pro-choice legislation removed almost all choices from women and children.

Enthusiastic chants greeted former Prime Minister Tony Abbot who, among the political leaders participating in the rally, denounced the Greenwich legislation, saying that three aspects were fundamentally untrue.

“It is based on a lie. It is not about decriminalising abortion. Whether we like it or not abortion has been decriminalised in this state for almost 60 years,” he said.

The legislation’s real effect was that it would become a licence for sex selection abortions and effective infanticide on demand, he said.

“You don’t have to be a Catholic, you don’t have to be a Christian, you don’t have to be an evangelical, and you don’t have to believe in anything other than the basic decency of every human being to think that we should never have infanticide on demand.”

“You don’t have to be a Catholic, you don’t have to be a Christian, you don’t have to be an evangelical, and you don’t have to believe in anything other than the basic decency of every human being to think that we should never have infanticide on demand.

It’s bulldozing though the NSW Parliament had “been a fundamental failure of democratic process.” Authors tried to ram it through parliament in just a few days. Within a week Upper House inquiry had 14000 submissions.

Does anyone think that those 14000 submissions have had justice done to them in just one week, he asked the crowd.

Organisers were delighted with the size of the crowd which turned out for the rally in Hyde Park. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

By contrast a bill to end cruelty to battery hens had a seven week inquiry and received just 700 submissions.

“I’m all in favour of a good deal for battery hens but I think the babies of this country deserve better,” he said.

Harvard-trained bioethicist Dr Ana Wash urged politicians and protesters to protect the conscience rights of healthcare workers.

She said the current legislation represented “one step of a three-step plan” to destroy their rights of conscience.

Three-step plan to intimidate doctors

The first step is to force doctors to provide information on where to get an abortion even though the woman can get the information herself.

“Giving in to such a measure forces healthcare workers to lose some of their integrity and weakens their resistance,” she said.

“Step two is to force the doctor to give a referral. Participating in this forces healthcare workers to silently endorse the abortionist whom they must recommend, forcing them to wash their hands of their professional responsibility to do no harm.

The sound of an unborn child’s heartbeat confimred to many why they were there. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

The third step, she said, is to pressure doctors into performing abortions in ‘emergency’ cases.

However if abortion on demand is defined as healthcare, then in rural and remote areas the need to travel a significant distance for an abortion becomes an ‘emergency.’

She urged profilers to encourage healthcare professionals to stand up and campaign for their rights of conscience.

“They need more than a good heart. They need legal protection and education supported by good quality empirical research and our heartfelt appreciation that they exist, to give them the courage to stand for life.”

Kill the Bill: over several hours on Sunday afternoon cheerleaders led the crowd in noisy and boisterous chants.

Longtime NSW Upper House MP, the Revernd Fred Nile, told the crowd the legislation was the worst he had ever seen.

“I’ve been in Parliament for 38 years. I’ve seen the good and the bad, the evil, the tricks and lies. But this is the worst bill I’ve seen in those 38 years,” he told the crowd.

Reverend Nile also denounced the timing of the push to legally remove any limits on abortion.

“It’s an ambush bill. Parliament was given only three days to debate it in the Legislative Assembly,” he said.

‘Ambush legislation’

He had moved for a parliamentary inquiry into the legislation to report in 3-4 months but parliament was given only three days in which to report on the legisdlation.

“This is the evil we’re confronting in the parliament of NSW, both in the Assembly and in the Upper House,” he said.

Like numerous other religious, civic and political leaders at the protest, Rev Nile paid tribute to Tanya Davies and Kevin Connolly for being prepared to risk their political careers over the legislation.

Mr Connolly, the Member for Riverstone also addressed the rally and has written in this week’s Catholic Weekly of why he has stood for the unborn.

Protesters hold a ‘Love them both’ sign referring to both mothers and their unborn children. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

“I thank God for both Tanya Davies and Kevin Connolly, who have put their political careers on the line for the defence of human life and to stand for truth,” Rev Nile said, adding that already some NSW politicians had been threatened with the loss of their careers for opposing the legislation.

Mr Abbott also called for prolifers to get behind such politicians.

“My political life is over. I am a free man,” he said during his speech. “But there are some people who have taken enormous political risks to be here today. There are people who have put their promotion at risk. There are people who have put their ministerial positions at risk.

“And if there is something that is fundamentally lacking in our political life today it is character, courage and conviction.

A young protester holds a sign aloft duing the rally. The turnout of several thousand delighted protest organisers who said the numbers were larger than the Martin Place protest on 20 August. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

“I hope every single one of you can do everything you possibly can to support members on both sides of parliament who really have put their political lives on the line to be here today. These are people of great integrity and our country is incredibly lucky to have them.”

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MLC Mark Banasiak said congratulated prolifers on the campaign they had mounted.

With their 15,000 or so submissions to the parliamentary inquiry into the Greenwich legislation, “you broke the system in parliament. It crashed,” he said.

He urged all present to continue their protest outside parliament this coming week as the upper house debated the bill.

Related:

  1. Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP: Pro-Choice equals No-Choice
  2. Kevin Connolly: defending life is more important than preselection

The post Beware consequences, prolifers warn Berejiklian government appeared first on The Catholic Weekly.

]]>
barnaby_joyce_post Barnaby Joyce addresses the rally last Sunday 15 September in Hyde Park. Failure to allow key amendments tot he NSW abortion legislation currently before the state parliament would have important consequences for the government, he said. Photo: Giovanni Portelli tony_abbott_post Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott greets the large crowd. He saluted the courage of State MPs such as Kevin Connolly and Tanya Davies for putting their political careers on the line in the defence of life. Photo: Giovanni Portelli crowd_post Organisers were delighted with the size of the crowd which turned out for the rally in Hyde Park. Photo: Giovanni Portelli heartbeat_post The sound of an unborn child's heartbeat confimred to many why they were there. Photo: Giovanni Portelli cheerleaders_post Kill the Bill: over several hours on Sunday afternoon cheerleaders led the crowd in noisy and boisterous chants. loce_them_both_post Protesters hold a 'Love them both' sign referring to both mothers and their unborn children. Photo: Giovanni Portelli protest_boy_red_head_post A young protester holds a sign aloft duing the rally. The turnout of several thousand delighted protest organisers who said the numbers were alrger than the Martin Place protest on 20 August. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Pro-choice equals No-choice https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/pro-choice-equals-no-choice/ Mon, 16 Sep 2019 06:47:08 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=27174 They call themselves “pro-choice”: yet what choice do the promoters of the abortion bill offer the unborn? Death, no reason given, up to 22 weeks

The post Pro-choice equals No-choice appeared first on The Catholic Weekly.

]]>
Reading Time: 2 minutes
Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP addresses the massive crowd in Hyde Park last Sunday. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

This is the text of Archbishop Anthony Fisher’s remarks to the anti-abortion Stand for Life rally in Hyde Park last Sunday 15 September.

They call themselves “pro-choice”: yet what choice do the promoters of the abortion bill offer the unborn? Death, no reason given, up to 22 weeks; death, if two doctors agree, right up to birth; death, even after birth, if the baby escapes the abortion net; death if you are the wrong sex, or have a cleft palate, or are inconvenient. To the baby the Kill Bill says: you have no choice but to be dead. So much for “pro-choice”!

They say they’re pro-choice: yet what choice do the promoters of the Kill Bill offer pregnant women? No counselling, no information-giving, no pregnancy support, no alternative. To women the kill bill says: you have no choice but to abort. So much for “pro-choice”!

Doctors: abort or leave healthcare

They say they’re pro-choice: yet what choice do the Kill Billies offer doctors? Either perform abortions, advertise other providers, or get out of healthcare. To doctors and hospitals the Kill Bill says: you have no choice but to facilitate abortions. So much for “pro-choice”!

They call themselves pro-choice: yet what choice do the promoters of the abortion bill offer our community? They tried to push this bill through, without parliamentary scrutiny, without a public inquiry, without consultation with constituents, no amendments, no compromise. To MPs and citizens the Kill Bill says: get with the abortion industry’s dream bill or else. So much for “pro-choice”!

No choice but abortion

Whether you’re an unborn baby, a distressed pregnant woman, a doctor, MP or citizen: the Kill Billies bullies want you to have no choice but abortion.

I plead today on behalf of human reason, dignity and rights to our community: surely we can do better! I pray today on behalf of women, babies, doctors, citizens to our God: Lord, that we might do better! And I speak today on behalf of God and humanity to our political masters: stand up for life and love; you can do better than this awful bill! “Today I call the heavens and earth as my witnesses,” says the Lord in Deuteronomy 30:19, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life, then, so that you and your children may live.”

Thousands turned out for the massive rally, delighting organisers who said numbers exceeded expectations. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

The post Pro-choice equals No-choice appeared first on The Catholic Weekly.

]]>
Archbishop_crowd_post Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP addresses the massive crowd in Hyde Park last Sunday. Photo: Giovanni Portelli Archbishop_crowd_close Thousands turned out for the massive rally, delighting organisers who said numbers exceeded expectations. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Kevin Connolly: I stand for life, no matter the cost https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/kevin-connolly-i-stand-for-life-no-matter-the-cost/ Mon, 16 Sep 2019 06:14:17 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=27160 I knew from the start that politics is a numbers game and the numbers were unlikely to align with me. Nevertheless I came to the realisation that standing up for life was so fundamentally important to a decent, civilised society that it would be worth doing even if victory was not achieved.

The post Kevin Connolly: I stand for life, no matter the cost appeared first on The Catholic Weekly.

]]>
Reading Time: 5 minutes
Kevin Connolly MLA addresses the massive rpolife rally in Hyde Park on Sunday. Photo Giovanni Portelli

As a Member of Parliament I deal with all sorts of issues of concern to constituents in my area and a wide range of matters arising as legislation or policy affecting the state. While all of these are important to someone in the community, and deserve my attention and diligence as a result, few issues could genuinely be described as matters of “life and death”. The abortion bill is one.

When the bill was launched into Parliament last month I was both repulsed by the extreme nature of this anti-life bill and outraged at the manner in which it was introduced and propelled through the parliamentary process.

Why I went into politics

It forced me to question why I was in politics; why I was prepared to make the compromises inherent in being a member of a political party; what I wanted to achieve through my involvement and efforts; and whether it was worthwhile continuing.

My instinctive reaction was to do everything I possibly could to expose the false premise on which the bill is based and to prevent it from being passed. Even as I did so, I knew from the start that politics is a numbers game and the numbers were unlikely to align with me. Nevertheless I came to the realisation that standing up for life was so fundamentally important to a decent, civilised society that it would be worth doing even if victory was not achieved.

Thousands participated in the Hyde Park rally. Organisers said they believed the crowd was larger than the 20 August Martin Place rally. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

Further, I realised that it was more important for me personally to know that I had done all I could to defend life than it was for me to succeed at the next preselection, the next election or at any other political goal. I would only be a failure if I failed myself.

The bill purports to “decriminalise” abortion, as if we were reading in the papers every week of women and doctors being sent to jail over the issue. Clearly that’s not the case. Abortion has been deemed legal in NSW since 1971 and no woman or doctor who has abided by the common law rules set at that time has faced criminal penalty.

Emotional moment: prolife protesters hold a sign aloft duing the rally in Hyde Park. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

Those common law rules said that abortion was not unlawful if

(a) a doctor held a genuine belief based on reasonable grounds that

(b) an abortion was “necessary” to protect a woman from harm to her health, whether physical or mental; and

(c) the danger to be averted was proportional to the means used to avert it (ie. the abortion).

What the bill really does is to “repeal” the common law rules set in 1971. Ironically this means that abortion would no longer be linked to any “health” criterion, even though the bill is misleadingly named the Reproductive Health Care Reform bill.

All ages were present but the young made up a massive percentage of Sunday’s crowd. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

The new regime would make abortion available for any reason or none.  Up to 22 weeks any doctor can provide it. After 22 weeks, two doctors have to agree – but there is still no requirement for any reason at all. If there are two doctors in NSW who are as pro-abortion as Dr Philip Nitschke is pro-euthanasia, then those two could conduct abortions right up to birth perfectly legally under this bill. This is despite ample evidence that the community does not want to see late term abortions facilitated.

Such an approach can only be contemplated by denying the humanity of the unborn child altogether.

Horror legislation

There is a litany of other horrors which stem from this basic premise.

  • There is no prohibition on leaving a baby born alive after an attempted abortion to die.
  • There is no ban on the sale of body parts or tissue from aborted human beings.
  • There is no constraint of any kind against eugenics – ie. aborting on the basis of disabilities or unwanted characteristics.
  • There is no ban on using abortion for gender selection.
Thousands participated in the rally. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

Nor is there any genuine concern for women evident in this bill. The proponents of the bill fought hard to prevent a lower house amendment requiring “informed consent” from a woman before an abortion was performed. On that score at least, common sense prevailed and the amendment was carried.

But there was less success in attempting to ensure women seeking abortion had access to counselling. All that could be passed was an amendment to allow the doctor to decide whether or not to offer a woman counselling.

Voting down protections for girls and women

Even worse, an amendment to make it an offence to coerce a woman to have an abortion was defeated.

Insultingly, the bill doesn’t even talk about a woman, but about a “person who is pregnant”.

This is certainly not a pro-woman bill.

Finally, the bill contains a new obligation to be placed on doctors who have a conscientious objection to abortion to facilitate the process by referring a woman to someone who will perform an abortion.

A fascist solution?

I view this as a fascist solution in search of a problem. Has anyone demonstrated a problem so severe and so urgent that it could only be solved by the extreme measure of forcing a person to act against his or her conscience? In fact to my knowledge no-one has presented any evidence that people cannot find abortion clinics in NSW if they want to.

In the upper house amendments will be moved to address all these crucial issues. These amendments are not distractions or filibusters but genuine attempts to retrieve some degree of humanity from an inherently bad bill. I sincerely hope that they are successful.

Kevin Conolly MLA is the Member for Riverstone.

Related

The post Kevin Connolly: I stand for life, no matter the cost appeared first on The Catholic Weekly.

]]>
Connolly_address_post Kevin Connolly MLA addresses the massive rpolife rally in Hyde Park on Sunday. Photo Giovanni Portelli protesters_crowd_post Thousands participated in the Hyde Park rally. Organisers said they believed the crowd was larger than the 20 August Martin Place rally. Photo: Giovanni Portelli protesters_post Emotional moment: prolife protesters hold a sign aloft duing the rally in Hyde Park. Photo: Giovanni Portelli the-emssage_post All ages were present but the young made up a massive percentage of Sunday's crowd. Photo: Giovanni Portelli crowd_wide_post Thousands participated in the rally. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Blessed day for mums and bubs https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/blessed-day-for-mums-and-bubs/ Mon, 16 Sep 2019 04:34:09 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=27126 Gladesville couple Christine and Luke Neely were thrilled to attend the annual Mass.

The post Blessed day for mums and bubs appeared first on The Catholic Weekly.

]]>
Reading Time: 2 minutes
Bishop Anthony Randazzo blesses Christine Neely and her unborn child at the Mass for Pregnant Women at St Mary’s Cathedral on 15 September 2019. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

Dozens of expectant mothers and their families attended the annual Mass for Pregnant Mothers at St Mary’s Cathedral last Sunday.

Among them were Gladesville couple Christine and Luke Neely who preparing to welcome their first child in October. They were thrilled to be able to attend the Mass which is organised each year by the Sydney archdiocese’s Life, Family and Outreach Centre.

Mothers line up to receive a blessing for their unborn child at the popular Mass held each year. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

The couple, who married last August, will wait until the big day to find out whether their baby is a boy or girl but didn’t want to lose the chance to get their little one blessed by Bishop Tony Randazzo during the special Mass.

“I knew about this Mass and thought it would nice to go, but it’s usually held in November so I’m glad we didn’t miss the opportunity,” said Mrs Neely.

“We’re very excited. This is the thirteenth grandchild on my side so there will lots of cousins and the first grandchild on Luke’s side so he or she will be showered with love.”

Bishop Tony Randazzo blesses a child following the Mass for Pregnant Women. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

Mums, dads and their unborn children are blessed during the Mass which forms part of the archdiocese’s extensive support offered to all the people of Sydney at every stage of life.

Bishop Randazzo extended his blessings “to all expecting parents and the new life they hold”. “May mothers and fathers know the importance of their vocation and the difference they make in our world,” he said.

Following the Mass, the couple joined more than 3000 others at the Stand for Life rally to protest NSW’s abortion bill.

“It was a nice coincidence and quite appropriate that the two events were on the same day,” Mrs Neely said.

“Life should be something to be treasured and blessed.”

Related articles:

The post Blessed day for mums and bubs appeared first on The Catholic Weekly.

]]>
Christine-Neely_mass-pregnant-mothers_120919_850 Bishop Anthony Randazzo blesses Christine Neely and her unborn child at the Mass for Pregnant Women at St Mary's Cathedral on 15 September 2019. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli 190915_cw_pregmass_029 Mass-for-pregnant-mums_150919_850
Praying as a family to end abortion https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/praying-as-a-family-for-an-end-to-abortion-in-nsw/ Mon, 16 Sep 2019 03:57:20 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=27124 Let us get down on our knees and pray together as a family asking Our Lady to intercede for our politicians

The post Praying as a family to end abortion appeared first on The Catholic Weekly.

]]>
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Prayer is effective because it has actual effects.

By Steve Buhagiar

As the members of the Upper House make their final vote on the NSW Abortion Bill, it is so very important that we come together as a family and pray for the defeat of this devastating legislation. But how can we do this in the busyness of family life when our days seem to flow one into the other and where there seems to be a million and one things that we need to do each day? Here, we might just look at three points which can help us prioritise a period of time in which to pray as a family for the defeat of this Bill.

‘Intentional’ family prayer time

The situation we are in at this time is quite extraordinary. There is a very real sense that our society is losing respect for the fundamental value of human life and especially for the unborn child in the womb. The topic of abortion is certainly in the news so let us take advantage of this and use it as an opportunity to bring it to prayer in our daily family routine. We must not allow ourselves to be desensitised to the reality of abortion in our culture and have the courage to call it out for the travesty that it is. If we are not in the habit already, let us call our family together ‘intentionally’ to pray for the defeat of this Bill; it is that important! When we mark this issue as something that we are called together to pray for, it will surely be impressed on the minds and hearts of our teenagers and young ones.

Praying the family rosary for conversion and openness of heart

The rosary was given to us a gift from heaven and through the maternal hands of Our Lady herself. The Blessed Mother gave it to St Dominic as a means by which to convert hearts and to enflame those who had become lukewarm or had even left the Faith. The same rings true today. We are living in a world of the walking wounded and in a society which has become complacent and even antagonistic towards the Catholic Church. This is why the call for abortion, euthanasia, gender ideology has found fertile ground in which to grow and fester.

The rosary is the means that heaven has given us to bring about peace and especially peace in the family and in our hearts. Is this not what we yearn for most of all? When Our Lady appeared at Fatima in 1917 and during each apparition to the Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta, she asked them to pray the rosary. The consistency of this request has come down to us today and is in fact more urgent than ever. Let us get down on our knees and pray together as a family asking Our Lady to intercede for our politicians that they will have openness and conversion of heart and know the truth of the inherent dignity of every human life.

Praying for the defeat of the culture of death is critically important – especially at this time.

Accompanying our prayer with fasting and daily heroism

In the early 1990’s a book was published entitled Only Heroic Catholic Families Will Survive. At its heart, the book developed the idea that in order to survive the forces in culture that continually assail the family, marriage and the dignity of life itself, parents need to take on a daily ‘heroism’ that stands up for the good in spite of the counter cultural position one needs take in order to do this.

A family discussion on what ‘daily heroism’ looks like today is well worth the time. Our children know that to live the Catholic Faith among their peers at school often means being labelled as ‘different’. When we name it and share our experience of being ‘different’ even as adults, we impress on our children the vital sense of solidarity that the Faith provides. We are part of the Communion of Saints and are striving for an eternal reward. This is a strong context in which to present the good of fasting and daily heroism. We fast because our efforts do make a difference not only to ourselves and our families, but also to the wider community. The lives of the saints down through millennia give ready example to this aspect of the lived Christian life.

In this last week before the determining vote on the NSW Abortion Bill, let us be intentional in our family prayer time and lead our children in doing what we should at this critical period in our nation’s history. Our children will see it as normative that “we pray” when we are faced with danger and uncertainty in the cultural battles that we will continue to face. Let us believe that our prayer time is powerful and efficacious and that Our Heavenly Father always listens to our prayer in spite of how difficult or dire the situation looks around us. Ave Maria!

Resources such as the Stand for Life Rally flyer, the Our Lady of Sorrows novena, or Postcards to the MPs

The Family Prayer Facebook page

The post Praying as a family to end abortion appeared first on The Catholic Weekly.

]]>
green_rosary_beads_post Prayer is effective because it has actual effects. green_booklet_postL Praying for the defeat of the culture of death is critically important - especially att his time.
Q&A with Fr John Flader: Excommunication possible https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/qa-with-fr-john-flader-excommunication-possible/ Sat, 14 Sep 2019 00:30:38 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=27042 “Dear Father, I am disturbed by the fact that some Catholic politicians have voted for the legalisation of abortion in this country. For me, this is a great scandal. Could or should they be excommunicated for doing this?” We can begin by looking at what the Church teaches regarding the denial of Holy Communion in […]

The post Q&A with Fr John Flader: Excommunication possible appeared first on The Catholic Weekly.

]]>
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Young women protest the extreme abortion bill currently before the NSW Parliament. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli
Young women protest the extreme abortion bill currently before the NSW Parliament. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

“Dear Father, I am disturbed by the fact that some Catholic politicians have voted for the legalisation of abortion in this country. For me, this is a great scandal. Could or should they be excommunicated for doing this?”

We can begin by looking at what the Church teaches regarding the denial of Holy Communion in certain circumstances. Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law reads: “Those … who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

Can it be said that a person who publicly expresses support for the legalisation of abortion and who votes for such legislation is obstinately persisting in manifest grave sin? There would seem to be no doubt that this is the case.

The Church has repeatedly taught that abortion is a grave sin. For example, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: “Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law” (CCC 2271).

Therefore, to deny publicly, to contradict openly a teaching as clear and fundamental as this is clearly a grave sin.

It can be argued that someone who has not been taught the faith properly and does not understand the Church’s clear position on this issue might not be guilty before God of a formal sin.

But at the same time, since abortion is manifestly the ending of the life of an innocent human being in the womb of its mother, it should be clear to everyone that this practice is gravely contrary to the natural law.

And at this stage of history virtually everyone, non-Catholics included, knows where the Catholic Church stands on the issue. It is therefore a scandal for a Catholic politician to support the legalisation of abortion and to vote for it.

Moreover, to deny a fundamental teaching like that on abortion is really to fall into the sin of heresy, defined in the Catechism as “the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and Catholic faith” (CCC 2089; Can. 751). The word “obstinate” is important.

Protesters crowd into Martin Place on Tuesday 20 August to stand for unborn life. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

There may be Catholics who simply do not know what the Church teaches on a particular issue and who, once informed, accept the teaching. They are not heretics. But if someone has been warned that what they are advocating is contrary to Church teaching and they obstinately persist in their belief, they are guilty of heresy.

What is more, someone who persists in heresy automatically incurs a latae sententiae excommunication; that is, the person is excommunicated by the law itself (cf. Can. 1364).

Since it is often not clear exactly who is guilty of heresy and is therefore excommunicated, the local bishop, after an investigation, may choose to declare publicly that the person is excommunicated.

So, in answer to your question, politicians who are known to be Catholics and who vote for legislation like the legalisation of abortion may be excommunicated. Whether the local bishop considers this to be the best way to proceed, however, is another matter.

One approach he may take, after speaking personally with the politician and warning him or her of the scandal they are causing, is to ask the person not to present himself or herself for Communion in any Masses they attend in his diocese.

This is not the same as excommunication, which prevents the person from receiving any sacrament in the Church until such time as the person repents and has been absolved of the excommunication.

This approach was taken, for example, in 2008 by Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City against Kathleen Sebelius, Governor of Kansas, who had vetoed a bill passed by both houses of the state legislature greatly restricting access to abortion.

After speaking personally several times with Governor Sebelius about her action, the Archbishop asked Sebelius not to present herself for Holy Communion until such time as she amended her life and publicly repudiated her previous actions. Other American Archbishops who have done this include John Myers and Raymond Burke.

In many cases this may be the best pastoral approach to a difficult problem. If the politician is not normally attending Mass and receiving Communion anyway, it still stands as a warning and a clarification to the faithful of the diocese.

Related articles:

The post Q&A with Fr John Flader: Excommunication possible appeared first on The Catholic Weekly.

]]>
Liberal-conference-protest_070919_Portelli_850 Protest-1 Protesters crowd into Martin Place on Tuesday 20 August to stand for unborn life. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Blinded by the light Review: A sunny portrayal of family https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/blinded-by-the-light-review-a-sunny-portrayal-of-family/ Fri, 13 Sep 2019 20:30:39 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=27051 Abundant charm and an insightful depiction of the ups and downs of both friendship and family life make Blinded by the Light, writer-director Gurinder Chadha’s touching fact-based mix of drama and comedy a winner. Though it’s safest for grown-ups, the valuable lessons of the film qualify it as possibly acceptable for mature teens, despite some […]

The post Blinded by the light Review: A sunny portrayal of family appeared first on The Catholic Weekly.

]]>
Reading Time: 2 minutes
Young love: Viveik Kalra and Nell Williams delight in Blinded by the Light. Photo: CNS/Warner Bros.
Young love: Viveik Kalra and Nell Williams delight in Blinded by the Light. Photo: CNS/Warner Bros.

Abundant charm and an insightful depiction of the ups and downs of both friendship and family life make Blinded by the Light, writer-director Gurinder Chadha’s touching fact-based mix of drama and comedy a winner.

Though it’s safest for grown-ups, the valuable lessons of the film qualify it as possibly acceptable for mature teens, despite some vulgarity in the script.

Amid political and racial tensions, as the hardscrabble world of 1980s Luton, England, provides the movie’s setting, British Pakistani teen Javed (Viveik Kalra) aspires to be a poet.

But he’s hemmed in by his overbearing father, Malik (Kulvinder Ghir), who wants him to pursue a more lucrative career.

Introduced, more or less accidentally, to the music of Bruce Springsteen by classmate Roops (Aaron Phagura), Javed finds a fresh source of inspiration in the Boss’ working-class anthems, which resonate with his own experiences.

Javed’s newfound enthusiasm is shared by Eliza (Nell Williams), the fellow student for whom he’s fallen.

Yet Matt (Dean-Charles Chapman), Javed’s best friend since childhood, with whom his relationship has already become fraught, remains indifferent to Springsteen’s poetry and pathos.

As Javed seeks to balance personal fulfilment and filial duty, he and Eliza pursue a romance that contradicts Malik’s stated intention to arrange a marriage for his son.

Though a scene of them necking in Javed’s house while the rest of the family are away is left open-ended, the overall timbre of the movie would suggest that they don’t go much beyond kissing.

Fans of Margaret Thatcher, the late British prime minister, will be put off by the fact that Chadha’s script implicitly links her to the degraded behaviour of the skinheads and neo-Nazis, young and old, who antagonise Javed and his friends.

Under their guidance, one little boy urinates through the mail slot in the front door of one of Javed’s acquaintances.

Viewers will be confident that such unpleasantness will not prevail over the appealing characters who predominate in Blinded by the Light and for whom they’ll find themselves enthusiastically barracking.

By turns amusing and moving, this is a lively, well-made picture with a sunny disposition and a positive message about the enduring bond linking youngsters and their parents.

The film contains some mild sensuality, a scatological incident, at least one use of profanity, an ethnic stereotyping theme, and occasional crude and crass talk. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

The post Blinded by the light Review: A sunny portrayal of family appeared first on The Catholic Weekly.

]]>
Blinded by the light Review: A sunny portrayal of family Abundant charm and an insightful depiction of the ups and downs of both friendship and family life make Blinded by the Light, writer-director Gurinder ... Blinded by the light,Gurinder Chadha,Movie review,Viveik Kalra,Warner Bros,Movies Movie-150919 Young love: Viveik Kalra and Nell Williams delight in Blinded by the Light. Photo: CNS/Warner Bros.
Christianity is in a difficult place but encouraging signs abound https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/christianity-is-in-a-difficult-place-but-encouraging-signs-abound/ Fri, 13 Sep 2019 05:30:39 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=27046 A more traditional form of liturgy which motivates or encourages the laity to discover the riches of the Catechism, which in turn creates a better formed layman or laywoman are among the hoped-for benefits of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, says its new head in Australia. Monsignor Carl Reid, who […]

The post Christianity is in a difficult place but encouraging signs abound appeared first on The Catholic Weekly.

]]>
Reading Time: 5 minutes
Monsignor Carl Reid speaks at his installation in St Mary’s Cathedral on 27 August. Photo: Alphonsus Fok
Monsignor Carl Reid speaks at his installation in St Mary’s Cathedral on 27 August. Photo: Alphonsus Fok

A more traditional form of liturgy which motivates or encourages the laity to discover the riches of the Catechism, which in turn creates a better formed layman or laywoman are among the hoped-for benefits of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, says its new head in Australia.

Monsignor Carl Reid, who was installed as the new head of the Ordinariate at St Mary’s Cathedral on 27 August, is a former member of the Anglican Church of Canada, a bishop in the continuing Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, and was received into the Catholic Church, in 2012.

The following year he was ordained a priest in the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter (which covers the US and Canada). As the new Ordinary he is now a member of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, without actually being a bishop.

What was it that drew you to the Church of Rome?

A perhaps trite answer would simply be “history.” But it’s not far off the truth. After a brief hiatus from Anglican church attendance while I was studying engineering in university, upon my return, which was aided by a flash insight not unlike a certain Apostle’s experience on the road to Damascus, I was imbued with a thirst for historical knowledge as regards the Church.

Initially, I focused on the history of Anglicanism, only very quickly to discover that, if one intends to be honest in that regard, one must necessarily go back much further than 1534.

And that was powerfully convicting. That this coincided chronologically (1977) with the accelerated departure of Anglicanism from its cusp-like position between Reformed Protestantism and its tenuous Catholic roots only emphasised the recognition that to be separate from Rome was to be separate from the true One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

It was fortuitous that I was living in a city where other like-minded Anglicans thought it both worthwhile and important to attempt some sort of corporate return to ‘Mother Ship’. Twenty-two years later: Anglicanorum coetibus [came along].

In your experience how has the Ordinariate generally been received in the Catholic Church? What do you see as its prospects, particularly here in Australia?

Generally our reception has been very welcoming indeed, though there are undeniably geographies and dioceses where we are viewed, well, suspiciously.

Some feel we are still Anglican, not helped by the persistent and quite incorrect reference to us as “the Anglican Ordinariate.”

We are not Anglican; we are fully Catholic.

As to our future prospects, on a somewhat microscopic scale, they very much mirror the rest of the Catholic Church: ageing priests, not always with a viable succession plan in place. Still, as we pray for vocations, we are seeing encouraging signs.

Monsignor Carl Reid greets Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP at his installation in St Mary’s Cathedral on 27 August. Photo: Alphonsus Fok
Monsignor Carl Reid greets Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP at his installation in St Mary’s Cathedral on 27 August. Photo: Alphonsus Fok

The Ordinariate Missal (approved in 2015) is quite beautiful. Does it bear any resemblance to the old Sarum rite, in use in pre Reformation England?

While there are recognisable roots in the Sarum rite, they are that by backwards extension.

Which is to say, some of the beautiful, sacramentally sound Book of Common Prayer prayers in hieratic or sacral English that we have brought into the Catholic Church in the Missal, as invited to do so by Pope Benedict XVI in Anglicanorum coetibus, are certainly English translations of Latin Sarum rite prayers, or in some cases, slightly redacted translations from Latin into so-called Tudor English.

Bishop Lopes, the US Ordinary, favours clerical celibacy, as an ultimate option, as this is the norm in the Roman Rite. Do you see this coming, or will we see greater use of married clergy?

Anglicanorum coetibus is very clear in terms of clerical celibacy being the norm. All seminarians fall into that category.

The only possible future married priests would be currently married Anglican clergymen who petition to become Catholic priests.

Then, as was the process for those of us who fell into that category, we first become Catholic laymen, undergo a process of formation, which might include focused time at seminary, and then may be accepted as candidates for the Catholic priesthood.

The Church clearly faces an increasingly problematic culture of modernity which is indifferent to God and the divine and seemingly fixated on radical personal autonomy and moral relativism at the expense of the common good. Many people are much more hostile to the Church than they were only two or three generations ago. Is Christianity dying away?

That’s a thesis topic! To be sure, as Pope Benedict warned us, the dictatorship of relativism strews the pathway for any Christian with powerful distractions, leading too often to a type of cafeteria style Catholicism/Christianity.

Still, I see encouraging signs in the western world: many devout, young Catholics who know and take the Catechism seriously; traditional monastic orders beginning to attract young novices. They will ensure the continuation of the Church. “The gates of Hell shall not prevail…”

Monsignor Carl Reid processes out with Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP at the end of his installation in St Mary’s Cathedral on 27 August. Photo: Alphonsus Fok
Monsignor Carl Reid processes out with Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP at the end of his installation in St Mary’s Cathedral on 27 August. Photo: Alphonsus Fok

In the light of these problems, (alluded to by Pope Benedict XVI in his references to a spiritually exhausted Western Christianity) what can the Ordinariate offer the whole Church?

I could be on somewhat shaky ground here, so I must answer carefully. Our traditional form of the Liturgy seems naturally to lead to a culture in which the laity seem impelled to dive back into their Catechisms.

This in turn, leads them to a better understanding of sacramental theology – thinking here of the frightening survey in the US last month that revealed that a significant majority of Catholics there don’t understand Transubstantiation, and therefore do not believe in the Real Presence.

If we can be of any help in restoring the faithful in the wider Church to a better understanding of that which the Church has always believed and continues to teach, then our presence will be of some importance.

What have been you and your wife’s impressions of your new country?

Well, thank goodness English is spoken here. That eases somewhat getting used to driving on the other side of the road.

We’ve been made to feel so welcome that my wife has commented several times that it really doesn’t feel all that different. Of course, we haven’t got yet to the 40C summer weather …

The post Christianity is in a difficult place but encouraging signs abound appeared first on The Catholic Weekly.

]]>
Rabel-Ordinariate-150919 Monsignor Carl Reid speaks at his installation in St Mary’s Cathedral on 27 August. Photo: Alphonsus Fok Rabel-Ordinariate-150919-1 Monsignor Carl Reid greets Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP at his installation in St Mary’s Cathedral on 27 August. Photo: Alphonsus Fok Rabel-Ordinariate-150919-2 Monsignor Carl Reid processes out with Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP at the end of his installation in St Mary’s Cathedral on 27 August. Photo: Alphonsus Fok