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Monica Doumit: Calvary takeover reveals political endgame

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We need to fight to preserve our Catholic institutions, even if we are sometimes disappointed in how they are run and how the management behave.. Photo: CNS, Martin Villar, Reuters
We need to fight to preserve our Catholic institutions, even if we are sometimes disappointed in how they are run and how the management behave.. Photo: CNS, Martin Villar, Reuters

“We need to do another Goulburn school strike. If we shut the schools like they did back then, the government would have to listen to us on religious freedom.”

“All we need is a bishop with the courage to do it. We should do the same for the aged care facilities if they try to force euthanasia on us, or the hospitals if they try to force abortion.”

I’ve heard sentiments like these many times. Sometimes I’m the one expressing them. Of late, “close the schools” seems to be the most popular solution for every socio-ecclesial problem around.

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My eagerness to close all the Catholic institutions as an act of defiance had cold water poured all over it this past week, after the ACT government showed that closing Catholic facilities is not a threat to left-wing governments. Indeed, it is their end game.

The ACT government’s announcement that it would compulsorily acquire the land and assets of Calvary Public Hospital and simply offer existing staff new contracts with Canberra Health Services is a brazen attempt to get the church out of service provision.

It is no coincidence that the land-and-assets grab was made just weeks after a parliamentary inquiry recommended forcing Calvary Public Hospital to perform abortions, and comes just months before the introduction of Australia’s most extreme euthanasia and assisted suicide laws.

Having one of the ACT’s two major hospitals take an institutional objection to killing its patients—born and unborn—would be bothersome when the state-sanctioned and taxpayer-funded killing of the vulnerable is the cornerstone of the territory’s “healthcare” plan.

So the ACT government will acquire the hospital and re-employ the staff on new contracts, which will undoubtedly include an obligation to participate in abortion and euthanasia.

They are betting that while a Catholic institution may have the resolve to maintain a principled position about human life, the majority of employees will not hold a similarly strong stance.

Perhaps this is because they need to keep their jobs at a time when cost of living pressures are daily increasing, because they weren’t fully committed to—or didn’t fully understand—the Catholic vision of the sanctity of life, or like most Australians, have a high degree of confidence in the government.

Of course, those who do hold a strong conscientious objection to abortion or euthanasia will be “free” to decline the continuation of employment with Canberra Health Care Services.

Photo: BuiltforCBR/ACT Government

In one move, the ACT has neutralised conscientious objection, individual and institutional. What good will it do to shut the schools and hospitals under these circumstances?

“Your aged care facility won’t allow euthanasia? We’ll just take it over, and the staff who don’t want to participate don’t have to sign a new contract with Canberra Health Services.”

“You won’t teach gender ideology in your schools? No worries, we have teachers who will, and we can afford to pay them a little extra because we will sack your religion teachers and your pastoral care teams.”

We are no longer left wondering about how the state would react if the church decided to close its health, education and welfare services.

The ACT government has answered: we will take your land and assets at a “just” price and re-employ the non-Catholic and Catholic-lite staff who had little commitment to your ethos anyway.

If this works, they have also set a precedent for every left-leaning government in the country, which at present is nearly all of them.

“Close the schools” isn’t a threat from the faithful anymore. It’s an opportunity for the aggressive secularists.

A 2023 revival of Goulburn isn’t going to work this time and proposing the closure of Catholic institutions plays right into the hands of those who are trying to force us out of the space through the tightening of anti-conscience and anti-discrimination laws.

We need to fight to preserve our Catholic institutions, even if we are sometimes disappointed in how they are run and how the management behave.

If we don’t, then we make it easy for what is happening in the ACT to be replicated.

The first step in the fight – if you haven’t already – is to sign the petition at savecalvary.com.au, and to keep Archbishop Christopher Prowse and those working with him in your prayers.

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