Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Warns of ACT Government Extreme Land-and-Assets Grab

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney has intervened in the Calvary Hospital crisis, accusing the ACT government of an “extreme land-and-assets grab” in an attempt to implement an “anti-life agenda”. The comments by Archbishop Anthony Fisher came a week after the Labor territory government introduced legislation which would clear the path for Canberra Health Services to take over the ownership and management of Calvary’s Bruce campus in early July. In a call to arms, the Archbishop said Calvary Health Care had been operating hospitals and aged care facilities for decades, providing “quality health care to Canberrans regardless of their religious belief”.  “It’s no secret that the ACT Government want to force Calvary Hospital to provide abortions now, and euthanasia and assisted suicide in the future,” he said.

“Taking the land, buildings and hospital equipment and transferring staff employment across to Canberra Health Services allows them to push their anti-life agenda right through the hospital.” It comes as a bill for voluntary assisted dying laws is expected to be introduced to parliament later this year. The Archbishop decried the clandestine effort to “ram the bill” through parliament, warning the government’s decision to take away from the Catholic Church after 44-years could set the precedent for government takeover of other faith-based organisations. “It’s also not just an issue for the ACT. If the ACT Government is successful in this radical action, it could serve as a blueprint for other governments as well,” he said, calling on Catholics to pray against the takeover.

ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith has previously conceded that relationships with the Catholic provider have been difficult at times, but said the acquisition was about ensuring the government was delivery efficient outcomes in a system plagued by problems. Catholic Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn Christopher Prowse said he was “stunned and shocked” by the decision, claiming he had been blindsided by the move. We are utterly astounded,” he said. “There has been no formal contact with the archdiocese, nor has any reason been given.”

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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