- Jan 18, 2020
Australia’s prime minister said on Thursday he will apologize to victims of child sex abuse in churches and other institutions over decades.
An Australian inquiry into child abuse on Friday recommended that the Catholic Church lift its demand of celibacy from clergy and that priests be prosecuted for failing to report evidence of pedophilia heard in the confessional.
After Australians overwhelmingly supported same-sex marriage in a postal referendum, the head of Australia’s bishops’ conference called on the government to enact conscience protections to “ensure that Australians can continue to express their views on marriage, that faith-based schools can continue to teach the traditional understanding of marriage and that organizations can continue to operate in a manner that is consistent with those values.”
Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne and leaders from several Christian denominations joined together to sign a letter protesting the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill being discussed in the parliament of the Australian state of Victoria. They said that euthanasia and assisted suicide “represent the abandonment of those who are in greatest need of our care and support.”
Australian Church leaders met with Vatican officials last week about a number of topics, including the ongoing investigations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the relationship between the Church and society as a whole, the re-establishment of trust following the abuse crisis, and a call for greater participation of laypersons in decision-making roles in the Church in Australia.
Although most Australian bishops are urging a “no” vote on an upcoming national plebiscite regarding gay marriage, two prelates are singing outside the chorus. Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen of Parramatta says the vote “should be an opportunity for us to witness to our deep commitment to the ideal of Christian marriage … but it should also be an opportunity for us to listen to what the Spirit is saying through the signs of the times.”