Many Difficulties for Catholics Down Under

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by David Nussman  •  •  March 12, 2020   

Cdl. Pell trial just one of many controversies

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Sex abuse allegations against Cdl. George Pell are in the news again this week.

The high-profile case has been hotly debated, with some commentators defending the cardinal's innocence.

But the Cdl. Pell case is only one of many controversies plaguing the Catholic Church in Australia.

Last month, a law in the state of Victoria took effect that requires priests to report abuse allegations heard in the confessional — violating the seal of confession.

A similar law came into the Australian Capital Territory last year.

Australian lawmakers introduced these measures in response to a 2017 report by Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

That commission specifically recommended new laws targeting the confessional, stating, "The legislation should exclude any existing excuse, protection or privilege in relation to religious confessions."

On internal matters, faithful Catholics are alarmed by the Australian Plenary Council, in which the Church's hierarchy seemingly gives a platform to those calling for the "ordination of women," "Communion for all," "same-sex marriage" and "ordaining married men to be priests" — among other things.

Between civil laws targeting the Church and theological dissent within the Church, there are many causes of concern for faithful Catholics down under.

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