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Conviction of former Adelaide archbishop overturned

NEWCASTLE (CNS): New South Wales District Court judge, Roy Ellis, overturned the conviction of Australian Archbishop Philip Wilson, whom a lower court found guilty of failing to report allegations of child sexual abuse by Father James Fletcher.
 
The 68-year-old archbishop was the highest-ranking Church official to be found guilty of abuse-related charges stemming from the actions of clergy. 
 

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Australian legislation threatens confessional seal

SYDNEY (CNS): “The government threatens religious freedom by appointing itself an expert on religious practices and by attempting to change the sacrament of confession while delivering no improvement in the safety of children,” wrote Archbishop Christopher Prowse of Canberra and Goulburn in The Canberra Times on June 7 in response to the passing of the Ombudsman Amendment Bill 2018 by the Australian Capital Territory’s Legislative Assembly.
 

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New book on Jesuits in China

SYDNEY (UCAN): A first in publishing on China, the two-volume A Call to Mission: A History of the Jesuits in China 1842-1954 was launched in Sydney, Australia, on February 19.
 
Jesuit Father David Strong, the author, spent 15 years writing and researching material covering three continents in this work which covers the second phase of the Jesuit engagement with China. 
 

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Hammer and sickle censorship jams Down Under printing presses

HONG KONG (SE): The long arm of hammer and sickle censorship has reached the presses of Allen & Unwin, Australia’s leading publisher and longtime promoter of academic literature.
 
It made a sudden decision to return the manuscript to the author of a book called, Silent Invasion: How China is turning Australia into a puppet state, by Adelaide academic, Clive Hamilton, for what are being described as spurious reasons.
 

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Espionage in the lecture hall or bewildered students?

HONG KONG (SE): The machinations of the United Work Front Department outside of China and meddling in local affairs by Beijing are currently being criticised at both a high level and with great seriousness in Australia.
 
Speaking at a Confucius Institute in Adelaide in October, the country’s top ranking diplomat, the secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Frances Adamson, warned international students that freedom of speech is a highly treasured Australian value and that they are not invited to interfere in that.

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Will Catholics swing for same-sex marriage?

SYDNEY (SE): As Australia prepares for a postal survey on attitudes towards same-sex marriage, a poll commissioned by the Equality Campaign conducted by Jim Reed from Newgate Research claims that more than half of the country’s Catholics are likely vote in favour of it.
 
The poll discovered that approximately 66 per cent of the overall population is inclined to express a favourable opinion on the question, but among those who adhere to a religion only 58 per cent said they would favour the idea.
 

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Confessional seal challenged

SYDNEY (SE): The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has recommended that Australian states and territories introduce legislation to overrule the long held sacred nature of the seal of the confessional.
 
If carried out in the six states and two territories the legislation would demand that priests from across the country comply with a mandatory reporting to police requirement in the event of anyone confessing to child sexual abuse.
 

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Behind the hollow headlines

MELBOURNE (SE): News of the 20th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from British to Chinese sovereignty set to be celebrated on July 1 overshadowed the headlines in Australian newspapers on June 29 when police in Melbourne announced that George Cardinal Pell had become the highest ranking Church official ever to be charged with sexual offences.
 
A former archbishop of both Sydney and Melbourne, and currently the prefect for the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy, Cardinal Pell is to face the court in Melbourne on July 26.

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Sydney sees biggest ever petition to parliament

SYDNEY (SE): Members of the Legislative Council (upper house) in the state parliament of New South Wales in Australia sat in silence as a history-making petition was tabled by Labour member, Greg Donnelly.
 
The petition, bearing 55,559 signatures, was tabled in opposition to an Abortion Law Reform Bill filed and authored by the Greens Party member, Mehreen Faruqi.
 

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Australian shame has message for worldwide Church

SYDNEY (SE): The 21 days of shame of the Church in Australia reached its 14th day on February 17, but tended to drop out of the news as the submissions being made to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse were focussed more on structural problems rather the grizzly details that dominated the first week.

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