Archbishop blames drought despair for suicide increase

Bishops Conference President Archbishop Francis Carroll has expressed alarm at the fact that a number of farmers in his Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese have taken their lives because of the worsening drought.

ABC News reports that the Archdiocese covers some of the areas hardest hit by the drought.

"Even the old timers are saying this is the worst ever," he said.

And after more than four years of continuous drought, Archbishop Carroll says it has become a hopeless fight for some farmers.

"There's been a high incidence of particularly male suicides and many people are putting that down to despair really, about the drought," he said.

Archbishop Carroll has called for a day of prayer for rain this Sunday in churches across the Canberra and Goulburn diocese.

The Catholic Weekly reported last week that bishops across NSW have supported his plea for the special day of prayer.

The Bishop of Wilcannia-Forbes, Bishop Chris Toohey, described the situation as "very serious". He said people regularly pray for rain in his diocese, which covers 53% of NSW.

"This is no ordinary drought - and that statement is coming not from me, but from people who have been here a lot longer than I have," he said. "They've never seen anything like it.

Drought despair blamed for suicide increase (ABC South-East NSW 7/6/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn

Call for prayer as bush faces a 'winter of fear' (CathNews 2/6/05)

The big dry - united in prayer (Catholic Voice, June 2005)

8 Jun 2005