Remote area voice sees PM 'off target' on IR

Broome's Office of Justice, Ecology & Peace has said that Prime Minister John Howard's attempts to silence Church comment on the Government's proposed Industrial Relations reforms show a lack of understanding of the role of Church leaders and organisations.

In the context of Church criticism of the reform proposals, Mr Howard last Sunday challenged the idea that the Church can hold a position on particular social issues, asserting that there's "no such thing as a Catholic or an Anglican view on anything. It depends on individuals".

Broome Office Coordinator Br Shane Wood said yesterday that the attempt by the Prime Minister to ward off Church criticism of the IR proposals was "wide of the mark:.

"His comments demonstrate the Prime Minister's lack of understanding of the role and responsibilities of Church Leaders and Church organisations committed to social justice," he said.

"Unlike the Prime Minister, Church Leaders are required by their position to preach the Word in season and out of season," he said. "They are not responsive to the whims of popular opinion or swayed by the pressures that come from the need to keep an eye on the next election."

Br Wood said that Church Leaders and Church groups with a responsibility for the promotion of social justice are required to take their lead from the Gospel, and based on a solid tradition of over a century of Catholic Social Justice teaching, to apply these principles to current affairs.

"Also unlike political parties in most instances, having had the principles of Catholic Social Justice Teaching applied to a particular issue by Church Leaders or their agencies, it is up to the conscience of the individual members of the Church to act as they see fit on that advice. This is not to weaken the principle or to call into to question the process by which it was arrived at. It is to give to the individual the respect and dignity that is their right, and to leave them to exercise their informed conscience on the issue at hand."

Preemptive strike misses the targetů (Office of Justice, Ecology and Peace, Diocese of Broome 11/8/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Diocese of Broome

Commission answers PM's denial of existence of Catholic position (CathNews 10/8/05)
PM dismisses voice of Church (CathNews 8/8/05)
Melbourne Archbishop coordinating IR response (CathNews 3/8/05)
Minister tells churches to stay out of IR fight (CathNews 11/7/05)
Pell voices wages concerns (CathNews 4/7/05)
Canberra bishop speaks out on job insecurity fears (CathNews 1/7/04)
Church leaders worried about Howard IR changes (CathNews 29/6/05)
Bishop hits back at Minister's claims on IR reforms 1/6/05)
Catholic body seeks meeting with Minister over workplace laws (CathNews 30/5/05)

We want this! We need this! We demand this! (Online Catholics 10/8/05)
PM holds out against IR pressure (Seven News/Australian Associated Press 9/8/05)
Family Provisions Decision (Australian Catholic Commission for Industrial Relations 8/8/05)
No "Catholic" political stands, Australian premier says (Catholic World News 7/8/05)

12 Aug 2005