About half of Australia’s 1000 World Youth Day Panama pilgrims have made a pre-WYD stop in Washington DC to take part in the annual March for Life today. Source: CNS.
The other half made a pilgrimage to Mexico City to see the site where Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to St Juan Diego.
Why, though, would Australians want to participate in the march when American law plays no role in Australian law?
“What America does in this (issue) does affect the whole world,” said Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, citing the US Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, and how state laws are affected.
Australian law, according to Archbishop Fisher, similarly makes distinctions on what belongs in the federal purview and what is germane to its states.
Australia’s biggest pro-life challenge is euthanasia, Archbishop Fisher said. Victoria has legalised the practice, and advocates of physician-assisted suicide would like to alter the law so that medical professionals “legally be required to cooperate” with any euthanasia wish, he added.
Another challenge for the Church in Australia is the child abuse royal commission report issued in December 2017. Among the royal commission’s recommendations was the requirement for priests to divulge information received under the seal of confession regarding child sexual abuse.
Archbishop Fisher said two Australian states have already made it law requiring for priests to break the seal of the confessional – a law that priests have said they will not follow.
The archbishop said it was presumptuous of the royal commission to think that one nation’s bishops would ask the Church worldwide to “alter its universal teaching.”
He added he found it ironic that, following a recent case in Victoria where a criminal defence attorney turned out to be a police informant, Australia’s legal community wants to “enshrine” lawyer-client confidentiality in Australian law, yet not extend “confessional privilege” to the Church.