Hobart Archbishop defends right to public comment

CLICK HEREFollowing an attack on outspoken religious leaders by Tasmanian Liberals Senator, Eric Abetz, Hobart's Archishop Adrian Doyle has said the Church has the right to comment and is expected to when political issues have a moral dimension.

ABC Radio quotes newspaper reports that say Senator Abetz has described church leaders involved in public debates as "uninformed, ignorant and unhelpful".

"We're in a no-win situation," said Archbishop Doyle. "There are people who criticise us for not speaking up loud enough and often enough and now we're told that we have no place in the conversation at all."

The Mercury newspaper yesterday quoted Senator Abetz's speech at a Melbourne meeting of the Christian lobby group Salt Shakers.

"I get a funny feeling that church leaders will not be asked on the last day whether they supported the privatisation of Telstra," the senator, who is also Special Minister of State, told the group.

Abetz is described as a "committed Christian".

"While the victim lies bleeding in the gutter, they would hold a press conference and call on the Government to employ someone to look after the victim," he said on Saturday night.

He railed against "uninformed" religious objections he had heard about the sale of Telstra, native title and the minimum wage.

Churches defend right to public comment (ABC Tasmania 29/8/05)
Abetz lashes church leaders (The Mercury/news.com.au 29/8/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Archdiocese of Hobart
The Hon. Eric Abetz, Senator for Tasmania
Senator Hon. Eric Abetz, Special Minister of State
Salt Shakers

Rudd says Church must influence politics (CathNews 29/8/05)
PM dismisses voice of Church (CathNews 8/8/05)
Howard praises Archbishops' intervention (CathNews 19/10/04)

Catholics in public office: Keeping nominees' faith in perspective (Catholic News Service 26/8/05)

30 Aug 2005