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Pell call to keep religion on public agenda

A Sydney Sunday newspaper featured comments from the city's Cardinal George Pell stressing the need for Catholics in public life to bring their faith to bear on their work.

A feature in The Sun-Herald quoted the Cardinal's comments on the importance of religious perspectives "on a whole range of issues that touch public life".

"If you're a Christian, Christian principles will influence the way you think and the way you judge and the way you act," he said. "And the separation of the church and the state doesn't mean to say that church people have to shut up about their religious convictions in public life."

The paper reported that Cardinal Pell's comments came at a time when two of the Federal Government's more powerful ministers are bringing religion into the political forum and public life.

Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott, a Catholic, caused a major stir in March when he told students at Adelaide University that the rate of abortion was a national tragedy and that society had too lax an attitude towards sexual promiscuity among teenagers. He has also weighed into the debate on the availability of the morning-after pill over the pharmacy counter.

Federal Treasurer Peter Costello will attend the Baulkham Hills-based Hillsong Church next month to greet the delegates on the first day of the church's annual conference. He also gave an address at a national day of thanksgiving commemoration at Scots Church in Melbourne last month.

Cardinal Pell said he was pleased with Mr Abbott's comments and that he had a "difficult path to tread as a Christian and as a Minister for Health where the Government subsidises, for example, so many abortions".

"I think it was useful for him to promote some public discussion of those moral dilemmas," he said.

Keeping God in the election (Sun-Herald 27/6/04)

Pell calls on Catholics to get involved in politics (CathNews 2/6/04)
Cardinal George Pell: Pentecost Pastoral Letter 2004: Is Faith without Works dead? (Archdiocese of Sydney 30/5/04)
Cardinal's "Primacy of Conscience" comments still drawing flack (CathNews 16/6/04)
Archdiocese of Sydney | Cardinal George Pell

28 Jun 2004