AD2000 - a journal of religious opinionAD Books
Ask a Question
View Cart
Search AD2000: author: full text:  
AD2000 - a journal of religious opinion
Find a Book:

AD2000 Home
Article Index
About AD2000
Contact Us
Email Updates


Add Me
Remove Me

Subscriber Access:

Enter the Internet Access Key from your mailing label here for full access!


The scandal of Australia's anti-life Catholic politicians

Bookmark and Share

 Contents - Mar 2007AD2000 March 2007 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: How we can help young East Timorese - Peter Westmore
WYDSYD08: Salesian provincial urges parishes to sponsor Timorese to World Youth Day 2008 - Peter Westmore
News: The Church Around the World
Sandhurst: Goddess worship at Victorian education conference? - Michael Gilchrist
Formation: Continuing growth of Sydney's Catholic Adult Education Centre - AD2000 Report
Catholicism flourishes in South Korea - Richard Stokes
Leadership: The scandal of Australia's anti-life Catholic politicians - Marcel White
'Professional', a l carte Catholicism and its papier mch schools - Andrew T. Kania
Survey of Catholic teachers
The changing panorama of Victoria's historic 'Rupertswood' - Michael Moore
Catholic religion courses and the challenge of relativism - Audrey English
Letters: Reform needed - T. Kalotas
Letters: Catholic schools - Kevin McBride
Letters: Null and void - Fr. G.H. Duggan SM
Letters: Presumption - John H. Cooney
Letters: Suitable wedding attire - Tom and Barbara Phillip
Letters: Modesty of dress - Greg Byrne
Letters: Ten Commandments - Arthur Hartwig
Letters: Abortion counselling - Frank Bellet
Letters: Leadership needed - Anne Lastman
Letters: Human embryos - Rebecca Soares
Letters: Ecumenism? - Peter Davidson
Books: The Glory of These Forty Days, by Fr James Tolhurst - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: LISTEN MY SON: St Benedict for Fathers, by Dwight Longenecker - Michael E. Daniel (reviewer)
Books: SEEKING THE ABSOLUTE: The Founders of Christian Monasticism - Michael E. Daniel (reviewer)
Media: The Rosary of the Virgin Mary - 4 DVD or 4 CD set - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: Order Books from
Reflection: The Holy Trinity - source of true Christian unity - Fr John O'Neill

A disturbing phenomenon evident during both the cloning and RU486 debates in the Australian Federal Parliament in 2006 has been the number of anti-life politicians who profess adherence to the Catholic faith. They must be made to answer for their public dissent and Church leaders should be addressing this public scandal with a degree of urgency.

Senator Claire Moore, for example, admits in a newspaper profile, "I've been involved in pro-choice groups and women's groups for a long time. I'm a practising Catholic, which is terribly confusing for a lot of people and sometimes confusing for me."

Malcolm Turnbull visited the Vatican as part of an official delegation on Palm Sunday 2006 while his website proudly beamed his association with World Youth Day (including hosting three prominent international archbishops at his family home).

Status of embryo

Happy to play World Youth Day liaison and gracious host, Turnbull concludes an article with this prayerful reflection on the 2008 Catholic event, "Let us pray that World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney will fill the world with Christ's love and that all of us who are engaged in this great endeavour shall share in and be inspired by God's passionate love for the human adventure."

This is all very edifying, but during the passage of the recently passed cloning Bill, Catholic convert Turnbull rhetorically asked the Federal Parliament regarding the embryo, "[W]hile these human cells are alive, can they be regarded as a human person?"

He continued, "It seems to me that our society has already reached a conclusion to the effect that an embryo at this very early stage is more in the nature of a potential than an actual human being and that the rights of this microscopic bundle of cells are not equal to those of a foetus, let alone a newborn baby."

Turnbull's temerity is startling. Having stood up at the end of the RU486 debate to clarify his support for the abortion pill, he was then sent to Rome on behalf of the Government to deliver a message to Benedict XVI. Meanwhile, Turnbull offers comments on his website about the latest papal encyclical, the Eucharist and the liturgy, and quotes passages from Scripture.

Dr Brendan Nelson, who credits the Jesuits for influencing his decision to go into medicine, proudly proclaimed during the abortion pill debate to believe in "One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church" and then proceeded to vote in favour of RU486, not to mention cloning.

Teresa Gambaro stood in Parliament on 4 December and affirmed, "As a Roman Catholic, I take my faith and the issues of human life very seriously." Yet on 6 December she voted for cloning and for the harvesting of eggs from aborted females.

After giving a dissertation on Thomas Aquinas and moral theology, Warren Snowdon declared, "I feel comfortable in my position as a Catholic in being able to support this legislation."

Brendan O'Connor, another Catholic MP, also found that quoting Aquinas led him to vote in favour of plundering late term aborted females to create clones.

Joel Fitzgibbon talked about "my Catholic faith" and then voted for cloning (in addition to his earlier vote for RU486), as did Anthony Albanese in supporting RU486, mentioning his Irish-Italian Catholic background. Maria Vamvakinou "consulted her parish priest" before voting for cloning.

Catharine King, conceding - with an apparent tinge of regret - that she was "brought up Catholic", claimed that abortion, embryo experimentation, foetal farming and cloning are all acceptable. Another Catholic MP, Patrick Farmer, who is on the same World Youth Day committee as Turnbull, voted in favour of cloning as did Stephen Smith and Joe Hockey.

The list seems endless, as is the case at each state level, where we find Claire Martin (Northern Territory Chief Minister), Steve Bracks, Robert Hulls and Morris Iemma, all Catholic (at some point at least) and all with anti-life legislative records.

Such individuals should not be invited to cut the ribbon at Catholic school fetes, speak at diocesan conferences, stand on the stage at World Youth Day, or take active leadership positions in their parish.

US bishops

Australia's bishops need to respond to this public scandal as many US bishops have already done. Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted (Phoenix Diocese), for example, in a document titled Catholics in the Public Square, instructing the faithful on the dilemma of public officials betraying Church teaching, wrote:

"If a politician is actively supporting and furthering the culture of death, he is not only causing scandal; he is sinning. Similarly, when a politician performs actions (like voting) that allow for abortions and even promote abortions ... that politician is materially co-operating in grave sin. When this occurs, then the politician cannot receive Holy Communion without previously making a good confession. A good confession would require sincere sorrow for such sin and a firm purpose of making amendment. Since the harm done would be public in nature, the amendment should also be public."

Australian Catholic politicians who have voted for cloning and abortion should make a public renunciation of their actions. And while we should pray for them, this does not preclude action. Our Catholic community through the bishops must reproach them officially for their scandalous public dissent.

Marcel White is 22 years old, having converted to Catholicism in 2005. He is an undergraduate Law Student at the University of Melbourne.

Bookmark and Share

Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 20 No 2 (March 2007), p. 9

Page design and automation by
Umbria Associates Pty Ltd © 2001-2004