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Perth Archbishop says preserve religious character of Good Friday

Archbishop Barry Hickey has urged members of his community to be vigilant in order to prevent Good Friday from becoming too secular.

This follows promotion of a car burn-out competition at Perth's Quit Motorplex on Good Friday night, and calls from other religious leaders for increased spiritual awareness of the day.

The leaders have regretted a steady increase in recent years in the number of businesses which open their doors on Good Friday.

Archbishop Hickey told the West Australian that having a multicultural society is no reason to deprive the community of the importance of the day, during which everyone could focus on the meaning of life.

"Many people who do not attend religious services also appreciate having one day in the year that helps us to be aware that there is more to life than the hustle and bustle of daily affairs and our seemingly endless need to be entertained," he said.

"The events of the first Good Friday and Easter Sunday provided the principles on which our society was built, our sense of value of each person and our commitment to service and mutual support."

Meanwhile drag racing manager Peter Pike said up to 8000 people attended the burn-out competition, which he said "took on a religious fervour of its own" as the crowd chanted nicknames of their heroes, such as Feral and Butcher.

In Melbourne, Archdiocesan vicar-general Monsignor Les Tomlinson defended controversial laws banning some retail trading on Easter Sunday. He told The Age that Easter Sunday is the holiest day in the Christian calendar and it was important families be able to spend it together.

Most major shopping centres are expected to close on Easter Sunday because big retailers that employ more than 100 people are not allowed to open. Without foot traffic from major "anchor tenants" such as Myer, David Jones and Coles, small retailers would be wasting their time coming in to work, centre managers said.

Keep Easter unique: clerics (The West Australian 7/4/04)
Opening laws blasted by retailers (The Age 7/4/04)

7 Apr 2004