The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher, says Catholic political leaders such as US President Joe Biden who make a virtue of their faith should stand up for the church’s teaching, including on abortion. In a newspaper interview, Archbishop Fisher argued that Anthony Albanese was misguided in labelling the US Supreme Court decision over­turning the constitutional right to abortion in America as a global “setback” for women’s health and safety.  “I don’t think he’s got that right. The job of the US Supreme Court is to interpret the constitution fairly on the words on the constitution. There was no absolute right to abortion such as it had been invented by the court.  “All these judges have done is say, ‘no, this is a matter for parliaments and electors to decide’. I think that’s right. That’s what we do in Australia. Even pro-abortion commentators have long noted the constitutional basis to the right to abortion was very weak.

“I don’t think this was an attack on women or women’s rights. It was, at best, a legal question of who should decide these matters.” Archbishop Fisher said he hoped the US Supreme Court decision would help “put some breaks on the abortion pandemic” and generate new interest around the serious moral questions raised by the termination of pregnancies. He said the development in the US “presents a moral challenge to us in Australia”.  “Because America is kind of internationally a cultural leader, we can’t be unaffected by it.  Can’t we have a reasoned, rational debate about reducing the numbers of abortions rather than always being about reducing the barriers to abortion?” Archbishop Fisher said the 1973 Roe v. Wade case had effectively “invented a constitutional right and, in the process, took that power away from legislators and voters which I think distorted American democracy”.

The acceptance of the decision in subsequent decades had “trivialised the moral question of whether thousands or, in the case of America, millions of unborn babies matter”, he said. Archbishop Fisher said Catholic political leaders who publicly promoted their faith should defend the teachings of the church. “If you are going to tell the world you are a pious believing Catholic, you should stand up for that and not for something radically contrary to that. If you really don’t believe that, then what is your faith? You can’t coherently be saying both. “I don’t know that Mr Biden has yet been going about saying he thinks that abortion is a positive good like some have, but he’s certainly walking the line saying this is going to cause major social problems and difficulties for women.  “He gives every indication that he supports a very liberal abortion regime. And that’s strange.”

“I think there is every sign that Joe Biden genuinely does love God and Christ and the Catholic Church, so there is an inconsistency or an incoherency in this. But I am saying that from a distance. I don’t know what his full reasoning is around this matter.” Archbishop Fisher said the Supreme Court decision revealed that change did not always move in a progressive direction, arguing that societies were like pendulums and capable of moving “backwards and forwards”. “It is the case that we can move a long way in one direction and then, a generation later, move in a different direction. I don’t know if tags like ‘progressive’ and ‘conservative’ always work in debates like these. “Christian leaders who advocated for the abolition of slavery were probably branded as conservatives but really it was a very progressive cause. “Even the kind of language of progressive and conservative doesn’t quite capture what’s going on here.”

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

Print This Post Print This Post



Comments are closed