Reason #2,489,055 why Nobody Goes to Church Any More.
So much for separation of Church and State…
The prominent Catholic priest and lawyer Frank Brennan has condemned new police powers for World Youth Day as a “dreadful interference” with civil liberties and contrary to Catholic teaching on human rights.
The Catholic Church yesterday stood firm behind the State Government’s laws restricting annoying and inconvenient public protests.
Father Brennan’s attack came as groups that had had no plans to protest during the event vowed to do so in response to the new laws…
“As an Australian Catholic lawyer, I am saddened that the state has seen fit to curtail civil liberties further in this instance than they have for other significant international events hosted in Sydney,” he said.
“The rights of free speech and assembly should not be curtailed only because visiting pilgrims might be annoyed or inconvenienced in public places.”
Dr John Sweeney, the co-ordinator of research at the Edmund Rice Centre, said Jesus Christ had paid the price for saying what he thought and the right to free speech needed defending.
“It would rather be like Jesus calling for a police escort on Palm Sunday. Obviously, he wouldn’t and when Jesus went into Jerusalem people yelled out things the religious leaders in their time didn’t like and they rebuked Jesus and he said he couldn’t quieten his supporters.”
The director of GetUp.org.au, Brett Solomon, did not rule out a campaign of protests or pranks among his 280,000 members to highlight what he called the “absurdity” of the rules, even if it meant fines of $5500. Many had not been angry before about the papal visit. “We could organise 1000 people in annoying or inconvenient T-shirts to people the route,” he said.
The groups planning protests include anti-homophobia and pro-contraception organisations, atheists, agnostics, gay- and lesbian-friendly churches, victims of abuse by Catholic clergy, and civil libertarians.
Victims’ groups who met police in Melbourne on Tuesday were told they would not be allowed to protest in 40 designated areas, and that they must apply seven days ahead to hold a demonstration and their banners and T-shirts would be vetted.