Archbishop Comensoli releases statement on religious freedom bill on behalf of ACBC

Friday 4 October 2019

Media and Communications
“The Government’s Religious Discrimination Bill must protect the ability of churches and other religious groups to continue to serve the poor and sick through housing and supported accommodation, hospitals and aged care, soup vans, drop-in centres, providing food and clothing, and financial and emotional support,” the Archbishop Peter A Comensoli said today.
Archbishop Comensoli is Archbishop of Melbourne and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) spokesperson on religious freedom.
“The Catholic Church has a long and proud history of providing outstanding care and services to people across many backgrounds, including high-quality education, health services and social services. We serve those who are sick or elderly, poor or down on their luck.
“We can only continue that work if we can employ staff who support our mission. Many of our staff may not share our religious faith, but they support the value of our mission to serve others.
“This Bill would provide important protection against discrimination on the grounds of religious belief or activity and a positive protection of our freedom to act in accordance with our religious faith, but excludes vital parts of the work of the Church.
“Catholic hospitals and aged care are excluded from the legislation and should not be, because they are legitimate religious bodies which have carried out a key mission of the Church for more than 150 years, inspired by the example of Jesus.
“Including religious hospitals and aged care services in the legislation would help them to continue to hire people who support the value of their religious mission to serve others.”
Read the full submission here: 
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