The Catholic Weekly 6 September 2020

$2 By including ‘gender identity’ it means that counselling a child to feel com- fortable in their own body, with their biological sex, is considered ‘conver- sion’ and is now illegal.” Archbishop Christopher Prowse MEDICAL AND religious lead- ers have blasted the Australian Capital Territory Government for ignoring grave concerns be- fore pushing a radical ban on conversion therapy. From early next year so- called ‘conversion practices’ will result in a 12-month jail termor afineof $24,000, but the law’s critics say its definition is dangerously broad. Canberra Goulburn Arch- bishop Christopher Prowse said it potentially criminalises parents, carers, teachers and medical professionals who advise a child who expresses gender confusion or dyspho- ria to ‘watch and wait’” before committing to hormonal and surgical treatment with serious health risks and life-long conse- quences. In addition, a last-minute amendment made before 27 August passing of the Sexuality and Gender Identity Conver- sion Practices Bill in an effort to appease faith leaders, “does not address the concerns”, the arch- bishop said. Also not addressed was a request to ACT Chief Minster Andrew Barr for clarity on the definition of an LBGT conver- sion ‘practice’, and at what ages people qualified as a ‘recipient’ in the legislation, he added. “We’re very disappointed that this shoddy piece of legisla- tion was passed so quickly with a scandalous lack of communi- ty consultation on the matter,” Archbishop Prowse told The CatholicWeekly . “The major issue is about family and parental fundamen- tal human rights, which have been completely overlooked. “I just hope that other gov- ernments considering similar legislation give their people an opportunity to discuss it and take their concerns seriously. “We’re trying to see what fur- ther response can bemade.” A spokesperson for the Aus- tralian Catholic Medical Asso- ciation denounced the “dan- gerous and extremist ideology on the practice of medicine, the parent-child relationship and the freedom for individuals to seek independent advice”. “The cynical use of the term ‘conversion therapy’ for this legislation has misled the pub- lic,” the spokesperson said. “By including ‘gender identity’ it means that counselling a child to feel comfortable in their own body, with their biological sex, is considered ‘conversion’ and is now illegal ... and considered a formof child abuse. “Parents seeking a second opinion in other Australian states can face jail time. “Under this legislation, no ACT therapist can risk asking a child questions about why they feel uncomfortable in their body. CONTINUEDONPAGE2 Leaders blast ban Gender laws end parents’ rights to act and determine what is best for their children ¾ ¾ Marilyn Rodrigues HUGO DITROIA is living proof that the future of the Catholic Church in this coun- try is in great hands. This week the 28-year-old was entrusted with the most senior role a lay person can have in a diocese, as chancellor for the outback Dio- cese ofWilcannia Forbes. The former city-slicker with a heart for the bush has a sun- ny-natured approach com- bined with a serious commit- ment to Christ and the Church’s mission on earth. Despite his youth, Hugo has already travelled a long journey to prayerfully discern what part God wants him to play in build- ing up the Church inAustralia. And while his bishop is de- lighted at the appointment, no one is happier than Hugo that it will be in the close-knit “dioce- san family” he loves. FULL STORY ON PAGE 3 ¾ ¾ Marilyn Rodorigues Chancellor’s role is heaven-sent 6, September, 2020 THE RULE YOU MIGHT KISS BY AMBASSADOR TO OPEN DOORS P6 P18 Hugo Ditroia and Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green in a field of canola in the outback diocese.