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Bishop cautions judges on anti-terror laws

Sydney Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Fisher told members of Sydney's legal fraternity yesterday that the law is under challenge from "those who would respond to perceived threats to security with suspension of rights".

During his homily at the annual Red Mass at the city's St Mary's Cathedral, he highlighted the 'non-negotiable' rights of individuals, which he insisted must prevail "amidst ideological fashions or against powerful interest groups and even, sometimes, against majorities".

Suggesting that terrorism "invites us to look into the abyss of lawlessness", Bishop Fisher described the Gospel as "fundamentally counter-terrorist".

He said the Gospel and the law have in common a rejection of the cycle of aggression and revenge. They bring about closure, proposing an end to feuding "by refereeing disputes fairly on the basis of facts and principles".

Bishop Fisher, who was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney last year, trained as a lawyer before entering the Dominican Order. The Red Mass is celebrated annually on 2 February in the Cathedral to mark the beginning of the legal year.

Homily for the 'Red Mass', Opening of the Legal Year (Archdiocese of Sydney 2/2/04)

Archdiocese of Sydney

3 Feb 2004