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Articles are reproduced with thanks from the Archdiocesan website, unless otherwise stated.

'The Christian minority in India is under serious threat'

15 October 2014
Aid to the Church in Need

After the election of Narendra Modi of the Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as prime minister of India the country's secular constitution is under threat.

With these words Ajay Kumar Singh, Catholic priest and human rights activist in Kandhamal District in the East Indian state of Odisha (formerly Orissa), warned of the growing influence of radical Hindu forces on the Indian subcontinent. ‘Especially under threat is the Christian minority because it is rejected by extremists as alien and because they regard the Christian message as endangering the caste system,’ stressed Fr. Kumar Singh, who also works for the Odisha Forum for Social Action (OROSA). He was talking at a meeting with staff of the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

According to Fr. Kumar Singh, the aim of the Bharatiya Janata Party is to establish a state religion which excludes the lower castes and the minorities. ‘They even want to impose only one language, Sanskrit, even though hundreds of languages are spoken in India,’ the Catholic priest continued.

Chief Justice Warren delivers the Newman Lecture

3 October 2014

According to the Honourable Marilyn Warren AC, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, the apparent elusiveness of a perfect application of justice must never thwart the quest for justice in all our lives.

‘If you can imagine injustice,’ she said, ‘then you can imagine justice.’

Addressing an audience of students, college and university staff, members of the judiciary and legal profession and invited guests at the annual Newman Lecture on Friday 22 August at Mannix College, a Catholic residential college affiliated with Monash University, Chief Justice Warren approached the topic ‘What is Justice?’ from several different angles.

Chief Justice Warren attended school at the Kilbreda Convent in Mentone before graduating in law from Monash in the 1970s. She outlined some of the major moral, legal and philosophical theories of justice, considered judicial and popular media notions of justice, and reviewed certain high-profile court cases in which justice had, or had not, been seen to be done.

NSW Judge & Foundation Member Of St Thomas More Society Mourned

3 September 2014

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

The city's legal profession together with members of the Archdiocese of Sydney and the St Thomas Moore Society are mourning the death of Justice John Patrick Slattery AO, KGCSG, QC.
Justice Slattery died last Friday. He was 96 years old.

For many years Justice Slattery was not only one of the nation's most respected and admired members of the judiciary, but a man who throughout his life made an outstanding contribution to the Church.

The Mass of Christian Burial for Justice John Slattery will be held on Friday, 5 September at 1.30 pm at St Mary's North Sydney. The Principal Celebrant will be Father Paul Coleman SJ.

Among the many hundreds who will pay tribute to Justice Slattery at his funeral will be the St Thomas More Society, the fellowship of Catholic lawyers he helped found back in 1945 to provide opportunities for members to members to acquire a deeper understanding of the principles of Christian ethics and morality in relation to the practise of law.

Religious Freedom Fundamentally Important - Attorney General George Brandis

14 August 2014
Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

This year's University of Notre Dame's annual Lecture on Religious Liberty will be given by Federal Attorney General, Senator George Brandis on Wednesday, 20 August at the university's Sydney School of Law, Broadway.

At a time when religious freedoms are increasingly being eroded in the Western world, Senator Brandis both as Shadow Attorney General in opposition and now as the Commonwealth's Attorney General, has been a fierce and outspoken defender of religious liberty which he regards as a fundamentally important value.

"The right of people who practice or profess a particular religious faith to live their lives and to conduct their institutions in accordance with the precepts of their religious faith is integral to religious freedom and religious freedom is a fundamentally important value," the Senator explained in vigorous opposition when the Labor Government's Sex Discrimination (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Amendment Bill 2013 was being debated.

The Bill which became law on 1 August last year was rushed through Parliament in the final sitting week of the Labor Government in June 2013, not only included provisions to protect sexual orientation and gender but nullified religious exemptions for faith-based aged care centres and institutions.

This has meant all aged care facilities that receive Government funding must accept same-sex couples and provide them with double beds rather than two single rooms as had been the practice at aged care homes managed by Catholic and other faith-based organisations.

Faith Faces Increasing Challenges in Today's Secular World

12 August 2014
Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

Christianity is deliberately being pushed out of Western culture so that secular liberalism can be established in its place, says one of the USA's leading ethicists, Dr Benjamin Wiker.

A member of America's Envoy Institute's Catholic Apologetics, prolific author and conference speaker, Dr Wiker is in Sydney this week to deliver a series of lectures at the Catholic Adult Education Centre (CAEC) at Lidcombe, and to conduct an intensive two-day course at the Centre on Saturday and Sunday, August 16 and 17.

Free to the public, Dr Wiker's first lecture entitled: "Worshipping the State: Secular Liberalism as the New Religion of the West," will take place at Lidcombe' Catholic Centre tonight at 7.30 and will show how over the past 200 years secular states have transferred the worship of God to the worship of humanity itself.

"Or more precisely transferred the worship of God to the greatest concentration of human power, which is the state itself," Dr Wiker says and contends that since the French Revolution and the Age of Reason that followed, political movements have rejected Christianity and transferred the worship of God to worship of the secular state.

This idolisation of the state can be seen in political movements such as Nazism, Fascism, Nationalism, Communism and Socialism, he says and believes it is no accident that scholars refer to these movements as "political religions."

Not only has Christianity been increasingly rejected and overtaken by these "political religions" but secular states gained power by promising to give citizens in this life what Christianity has only promised in the next.

'I come to you because my people suffer' - Archbishop of Aleppo Jean-Clement Jeanbart

29 July 2014
Aid to the Church in Need

'MANY Muslims are now shy to declare themselves Muslim. I have heard several Muslims say to me: "I am ashamed - I do not understand that Islam is like that". So I think it is the time for a true dialogue. I think it is the day of the Lord perhaps. So I have to take my Cross in my hand, even if I'm 70, and begin my mission again - and I feel myself a man of 45.' With these words, the Greek Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo, Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart, voiced his dedication to those whom he calls ‘his people’ during a visit to the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.

The war in Syria is now three years old. The suffering is indescribable, the devastation terrible. Hundreds of thousands of families in mourning, millions of refugees who no longer know where to turn and so hide at home, hunting day and night to feed their children. Archbishop Jeanbart explains that a barbaric scorched earth policy has left nothing untouched in its passage - thousands of industries damaged and tens of thousands of schools, hospitals and dispensaries destroyed. 'All the structures, all the infrastructure, the heritage, all the industry - they have destroyed every single means of income for these people. People have no way to live in the cities - of course in the country they are farmers and they can live - but in the cities … Aleppo has lost 1400 industrial structures, this is a suffering.'

Widespread Support for Nitschke Suspension

24 July 2014

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

Chris Meney, Director of the Archdiocese of Sydney's Life, Marriage and Family centre has welcomed the decision by the Australian Medical Board to suspend euthanasia campaigner, Dr Philip Nitschke from practising medicine in a ruling that finds Nitschke "a serious risk to public health and safety."

The ruling handed down last night came after an investigation by the Board revealed Nitschke had communicated by email with Nigel Brayley, a 45-year-old Perth man who had sought advice on how to kill himself before committing suicide in May this year.

Although said to be suffering from depression, Nigel Brayley did not suffer from a terminal illness and was still a young man.

For Chris Meney the death of Nigel Brayley is an example of the "slippery slope" the Church and pro-life advocates have long warned about, and which is also documented in countries such as the Netherlands where euthanasia and assisted suicide are legal.

A Win for Religious Freedom in the US - For the Moment

18 July 2014
Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

A move to reverse the "Hobby Lobby" contraceptive ruling in the US Senate has failed - but not forgotten.

Republicans blocked a Democratic-led bill designed to override a Supreme Court ruling and ensure access to contraception for women who get their health insurance from companies with religious objections.

However the Democrats have promised to re-energise the debate later in the year.

But the debate is simply not just one of pro-choice or pro-life. It is very much one of religious freedom and needs further explanation.

On 30 June, the United States Supreme Court handed down a decision in favour of Hobby Lobby against Sylvia Burwell, Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in relation to the HHS Mandate. The HHS Mandate, issued under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly known as ObamaCare), required that from August 2012, all employer-provided health insurance plans provide 20 forms of contraception, without the need for co-payment from the employee.

Failure to comply with the HHS Mandate would see a company fined $100 per day, for each of their employees. It was estimated that for Catholic Charities USA, the fine for non-compliance would amount to $140 million per year.


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