The Catholic Weekly 17 October 2021

$2 THE NATION’S peak Catho- lic healthcare advocacy body has called on NSW MPs to consider their position on vol- untary assisted dying (VAD) and understand that advanc- es in palliative care have fun- damentally changed the po- litical equation over the past decade. NSW looks set to consid- er the VAD issue afresh, fol- lowing the introduction of a private members bill. In an article published today in the Sydney Morning Herald, CHA Chair and former NSW Deputy Premier John Watkins AM is calling on NSW MPs to look at the issue in light of medical advances. “The idea that supporting euthanasia is progressive, and opposing it is conservative, is obsolete. In fact, any thoughtful progres- sive should be worried about where the rush towards vol- untary assisted dying is taking us,” Mr Watkins said. “The critical factor that’s changed over the past decade is medical science, primarily CONTINUED P2 VADwill hit the poor Former NSWDeputy Premier warns ‘progressive-conservative’ language is obsolete in plea for life 17, October, 2021 CHRISTIAN FAMILY’S RADICAL ROOTS P14 WAKE UP CATHOLIC AUSTRALIA! FIRES, FLOODS, plague and earthquake: they’re wake up calls. Wake up Catholic Austral- ia! There’s a bushfire con- suming faith in this land. Disillusionment over child sexual abuse has accelerat- ed the secularisation of re- cent decades. Many now identify with no particular reli- gion, institutional identity has corroded, young people are inoculated to faith by the cul- ture, and some churchgoers are out of sorts with Catholic teaching. This Council must consider how we’ll proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those without faith, those needing more formation and those yet to embrace their true identity as missionary disciples. Wake up to the flood of non-practice! Entire demo- graphics are missing. Too few now take part in Mass and Reconciliation. Volun- teers and resources are thin on the ground. Family, par- ish and school are all under stress when we need them most. With the flood-alarm of disengagement sounding, we need common pastoral action to rekindle enthusi- asm and inspire active par- ticipation in the Eucharistic community. Wake up to the pan- demic of moral confu- sion. Judeo-Christian influ- ence on law and culture has waned, conscience rights are threatened, and people of faith driven from the pub- lic square. Just lately Austral- ia has adopted some of the world’s most extreme abor- tion, euthanasia, marriage and sexuality laws. Pope Francis calls us to stand with those pushed to the periph- eries of the throwaway so- ciety: the unborn and dying. Also the disabled, elderly and mentally ill, trafficked or pornographised, refugees and homeless. And dispos- sessed First Australians—so generously sharing knowl- edge about reconciliation and healing. Our Council must drive new adventures in preaching the Gospel of Life and Love, Justice and Mercy, in unpacking Catholic moral- ity for the faithful, and in be- ing voices and servants of ‘the little ones’. Wake up: the vocational grounding of the Church is shaking. Sacramental mar- riage is in free fall and mar- Our Lord said to St Francis and to us. On his feast day we rec- ognise that the Church in Aus- tralia has many strengths to build on: in the faith and gen- erosity of its people, in its ex- traordinary network of institu- tions, above all in the Holy Spirit of this Great South Land. Alert to what should alarm us, but confident in God’s grace, we can respond to the signs of our times—with intelligence and humility, patience and hope, compassion and fidelity. HOMILY P8-9 This is the Intervention given by Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP at the Plenary Council on the Feast of St Francis, 4 October 2021 Wake up to the pandem- ic of moral confusion. Judeo-Christian influence on law and culture has waned.” riages failing. Religious are an endangered species. Good Shepherdly priests are sorely needed to provide sacraments, pastoral leader- ship and evangelisation. We look to this Council for new approaches to promoting, discerning and forming peo- ple for these crucial voca- tions, as well as the baptis- mal vocation in the world, to strengthening Christian iden- tity and sustaining mission. “Francis, my Church is in ruins: rebuild my Church,” Former NSW Deputy Premier JohnWatkins gives an interview to The Catholic Weekly in 2019. Now Chair of CHS, Mr Watkins has called on NSW MPs to better understand the decisive role of Palliative Care in the euthanasia debate looming in the state’s Parliament. PHOTO: ALPHONSUS FOK The critical factor that’s changed over the last decade is medical science, primarily in the field of palliative care. New treat- ments are enabling people ... to achieve a quality of life inaccessible last century. Former NSW Deputy Premier John Watkins FOSTER CARE: ARE YOU CALLED? P3