$2 [The minister’s comments were] an of- fensive slur on my character, and on the unstinting efforts of all the people who are dedicating themselves to ensuring that everything possible is being done ...” Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB PERTH ARCHBISHOP Timo- thy Costelloe SDB stands by his decision to pen a stun- ningly sharp rebuke to West- ern Australia’s Minister for Child Protection. The archbishop told The Catholic Weekly that he took the strong stand “not in order to generate some kind of con- troversy” but to urgently state the Church’s actual position on the Sacrament of Recon- ciliation. “I felt I had no option but to raise this issue in as clear a way as I could because it is such an important issue,” he said. “It is an essential part of our faith, it’s not something that sits out on part of the pe- riphery.” Minister Simone McGurk had called on the archbish- op to support a law forcing priests to disclose informa- tion about child abuse dis- cussed in confession. Introducing the proposed legislation on 13 May, Ms McGurk said that the Catho- lic Church had “resisted change in this area”, that it was time for “the Church’s leadership to put child safety first”. She said Archbishop Costel- loe hadmade his opposition to breaking the Seal of Confession clear and called on him to sup- port the legislation in full. In his letter last week the arch- bishop wrote that the minis- ter’s comments were “an of- fensive slur on my character, and on the unstinting efforts of all the people who, in this archdiocese, are dedicating themselves to ensuring that everything possible is being done to ensure that children and young people are as safe as they can possibly be in Catholic institutions and set- tings”. The Royal Commission was aware that only the Pope has the authority to make changes to the Church’s uni- versal law including in rela- tion to the Seal of Confession, he wrote, and that support for breaking the confessional seal would mean his imme- diate excommunication and the suspension of any priest who followed his advice. “If you were aware of this, then I can only assume that in mak- ing the statements you did you were engaging in what might be called ‘virtue sig- nalling’ in order to demon- strate your commitment and that of your government to child protection,” he wrote. “If this is the case then you are using your position for political advantage at the expense of the Church and at my expense. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Not at all, Minister Archbishop issues vigorous pastoral letter following MP’s push to do away with Seal of Confession ¾ ¾ Marilyn Rodrigues AFTER A lifetime of giving, it was about time Tony Cranney was on the receiving end. The president of the Sydney branch of the St Vincent de Paul Society was surprised live on air by Channel 9’s Today Show last week for his tireless work for the community and presented with a cheque for $10,000. And without even skipping a beat (or checking in with his wife Maggie) he donated the money straight back to his local community “because I witness on a daily basis the struggles of so many”. Tony has already put some of the money towards finding accommodation for a legally blind man who found himself homeless and in desperate need of help. CONTINUED ON PAGE 6 ¾ ¾ Debbie Cramsie Hero Tony pays it forward 24, May, 2020 NEW BILL: KEEPING NSW FAITH FREE FERTILITY PROBLEMS? HELP IS AVAILABLE P12 P3 Reluctant hero Tony Cranney (far right) with the Channel 9 film crew and good mate Phil Lesmond.