- Jan 25, 2020
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.
Over the years, Australia’s sexual abuse crisis has been one of the most infamous within the Church. A recent report from the Australian Royal Commission found that seven percent of Catholic priests in Australia serving between 1950-2009 have been accused of child sex crimes. Archbishop Mark Coleridge says the Church still has “a long way to go.”
Ahead of a plebiscite in Australia on same-sex marriage, the head of the Australian Catholic bishops’ conference said, “Our teachers, our parish employees are expected totally to uphold the Catholic faith and what we believe about marriage. People have to see in words and in example that our teaching of marriage is underlined.”
Australian bishops have called citizens in the country to vote ‘No’ at the postal plebiscite on same-sex marriage in November, which would open the door to changing the current law that recognizes marriage as between a man and a woman. The archbishop of Adelaide also invited Catholics to participate in the debate “in the spirit of grace, calm reverence and respect.”
The Australian state of New South Wales is investigating the extent of human trafficking within their borders. On Tuesday, the Archbishop of Sydney told the story of the time a person trapped in slavery approached him for help in the suburbs of Sydney.