Laypeople Need to Take Up the Struggle for Religious Freedom - Cardinal Pell

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
10 Jul 2015

A new phase of political struggle which can only be fought by the laity - Cardinal Pell

The Catholic laity need to take up the struggle for religious freedom including the right to teach Christian doctrine publicly in parishes and schools, operate hospitals according to Catholic teaching and speak out against the  push for same-sex marriage.

The culture wars are entering a new phase of political struggle which can only be fought by laypeople, a struggle more than likely to intensify in the near future - evidenced in the recent same-sex marriage referendum in Ireland, the recent US Supreme Court decision on the same issue and the current campaign here in Australia to change the Marriage Act including threats and formal complaints to church leaders claiming they have violated anti-discrimination laws for standing up against same-sex marriage.

This was the message from the Vatican's Secretariat for the Economy, Cardinal George Pell when he addressed the recent Fota VIII International Liturgy Conference in Cork, Ireland on the importance of recovering the mission of the laity and drawing from St John Paul II's 1988 document, "Christifideles Laici,"

Cardinal Pell told the conference he believed the Irish and US decisions clearly show the extent to which Western society is abandoning many of its Christian legal foundations calling the Irish referendum "a victory for John Stuart Mill and utilitarianism."

"We shall have to struggle peacefully and democratically and cooperatively to ensure that our hospitals cannot be forced to offer abortion and euthanasia," he said.

Cardinal Pell said the separation of church and state did not legitimise in any way any right of governments to be anti-religious or to diminish or intimidate the Christian community.

The importance of recovering the mission of the laity is vital - Cardinal Pell

Speaking following the conference Cardinal Pell said it was extremely concerning the church has had to surrender its rights  in Catholic adoption agencies in Britain and Northern Ireland and urged young people to get involved in political life and warned the laity against fleeing from the world and instead becoming preoccupied with church services and tasks of the priesthood.

"We don't need watered down and uncertain priests, and we don't need lay faithful who seem determined to fill the gap," he said.

On the October Synod of Bishops on the family, the cardinal told the Catholic News Service; "We've got no warrant to change the teachings of Scripture."

Speaking on his role as Vatican Secretariat for the Economy he said there was "a lot of good news" concerning Vatican finances.

"We've made very significant progress, structurally with a number of appointments. I think we now have a good idea of what is happening financially in the Vatican. That is a big start," he said.

The Council for the Economy will meet in mid-July. After that meeting, the 2014 accounts and 2015 budget will be published; all will be certified by all the sectional heads in the Vatican and will have been compiled according to contemporary accounting standards - in line with the Cardinal's determination for complete financial transparency.
"We're not home yet; we've got the structures in place; we've got to make them work. There are pockets of incomprehension and resistance still," he added.

Cardinal Pell's full address was titled "The Vine and the Altar: Learning From the Teaching of St John Paul II on the Priestly Role of the Catholic Laity."