The Bishops Commission for Catholic Education, speaking on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, has expressed concern at some elements of the Federal Government’s budget announcement regarding Catholic school funding.
As Bishops, we acknowledge the difficult financial situation currently faced by the Government and the nation. We are fully aware of the need for restraint and responsible stewardship of the nation’s resources. We also acknowledge the Government’s recognition, in its funding proposals, of its responsibility to facilitate parental choice in the matter of education. It is this principle that undergirds the now well-established practice of funding a Government education system and a Catholic education system, as well as hundreds of Independent schools.
We are encouraged that the Government has now announced that there will be a minimum funding indexation for all Australian schools in the medium to long term. The Government’s proposed floating indexation rate had been creating uncertainty for schools, school systems and families. Continue reading
Fairness and compassion should be the cornerstones of our society. How we treat our poorest and most vulnerable is a measure of our commitment to a fair and just society.
Today, Archbishop Denis Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said, the Catholic Bishops welcome the government’s commitment to fully fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme and its housing measures to help people secure more affordable housing.
The Bishops acknowledge the government’s decision to remove earlier measures from the 2014-15 budget that may have affected families and the vulnerable in our society.
For those on the very margins of our society, especially those with no prospect of meaningful work, the budget offers no new hope.
‘A lack of regard for the poor and marginalised alienates them from society rather than allowing them to participate fully within it,’ Archbishop Hart said. Continue reading
Bishop Terry Brady
Australia’s national policy should be directed to destroying human trafficking by 2030, Bishop Terry Brady told a parliamentary inquiry today.
Bishop Brady was giving evidence on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement in Sydney at their hearing on human trafficking. Bishop Brady is Chair of the Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life.
‘Australians have a moral imperative to eradicate the injustice of human trafficking and modern slavery,’ Bishop Brady said. ‘If we know that the human dignity of people is being harmed in this way, we should do what we can to free them from that ill-treatment.
‘As an example to others and to spur reform in Australia, the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney announced in March that it would slavery-proof its supply chains. Continue reading
Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world, Australia’s Catholic bishops have told a Parliamentary inquiry.
More than 100,000 Christians are killed each year because of their faith and the bishops highlighted how Christians had been driven from the cradle of Christianity in the Middle East.
The Australian Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade is holding an ‘Inquiry into the status of the human right to freedom of religion or belief’. The inquiry this week published the Bishops’ submission.
But Christians are by no means the only people suffering for their faith, with the submission also condemning the persecution of Yazidis, Baha’is, Jews, Muslims and others.
“Understanding and recognising the full complexity of the right to freedom of religion or belief will be increasingly important to Australia negotiating its way in the world,” said Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president, Archbishop Denis Hart. Continue reading
More than 30 of Australia and New Zealand’s top palliative care practitioners have joined forces to oppose the introduction of euthanasia and physician assisted suicide, describing the practice as “unnecessary and unsafe”.
A letter, authored by Professor Douglas Bridge and co-signed by 32 other palliative care specialists and medical professionals was published in this week’s edition of the Medical Journal of Australia’s MJA InSight.
It was a response to an opinion piece recently published in the MJA by Palliative Care Specialist, Professor Emeritus Ian Maddocks, who asked whether it was time to consider an integration of palliative care, euthanasia, and physician assisted suicide (EPAS).
“As palliative care practitioners, we know this supposed common ground is both a contradiction in terms and contrary to sound medical practice,” the letter from the 33 practitioners says.
“Supporting people when they are dying is utterly different to intentionally causing them to die. What Professor Maddocks calls ‘a single effective intervention’ is in fact an act of killing.” Continue reading
Parliament House, Canberra
All members of religious groups deserve the right to not participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies if they hold a traditional view of marriage, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) said in a submission released this week.
The Australian Senate has established a select committee to examine draft exemptions for ministers of religion, marriage celebrants and religious groups so they do not have to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies, should the law be changed. The Select Committee on Same-Sex Marriage is expected to report on 13 February 2017.
“Changing the definition of marriage would have an impact on all the members of the Catholic Church, but perhaps the most significant impact would be on ordinary parishioners trying to live their Catholic faith in their daily lives,” said Archbishop Anthony Fisher, chair of the ACBC’s Commission for Family, Youth and Life. Continue reading
Address delivered on 4th October 2016 at the Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA on the conference theme: Religious Rights in a Pluralistic World
Firstly, thanks very much to Brigham Young University for organising this wonderful conference and for bringing us all together.
Australia is a pluralist society. We are blessed with freedom, a stable system of government and a rich mix of ethnic, racial and religious groups. But inherent in a pluralist society are different views and beliefs and the challenge of how to accommodate those different perspectives.
The Catholic Church in Australia is an established part of the community, with a quarter of Australians identifying as Catholic, with one in five Australian students attending Catholic schools and Catholic hospitals providing about ten percent of healthcare services across the nation. Continue reading