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Australian prelate: government grants tame Church’s advocacy for poor

Catholic World News - August 15, 2011

On the eve of his retirement, an Australian prelate said that fear of the loss of government funding for Catholic social service agencies prevented him from speaking out more boldly on behalf of the poor.

“While I am proud of the broad range of social work in which the Church is involved, I think I should have been more vocal about social issues such as the plight of the homeless, Aboriginals, the disadvantaged, and refugees,” said Archbishop Barry Hickey of Perth. “In accepting government grants the Church's role as an advocate of the poor can be blunted … I regret not having been vocal enough.”

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  • Posted by: GabrielAustin9013 - Aug. 16, 2011 12:13 PM ET USA

    Who pays the piper calls the tune. And... It is another instance of the neglect by our bishops of the first rule of the virtue of charity: it is personal. We will get no credit because a government bureaucracy worked on social problems. Recall the widow's mite. [It leads one to wonder if bishops know any poor widows].

  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Aug. 15, 2011 7:56 PM ET USA

    Solution: stop taking government money. For it, substitute money gathered in the only way pleasing to God: by inspiring sacrificial giving among the faithful.

  • Posted by: kmbold - Aug. 15, 2011 7:29 PM ET USA

    "The poor" is a pretty safe subject in this era of beat-on-the-rich. What"other social issues" could he actually have mentioned? Premarital sex? Contraception? Abortion? Euthanasia? Homosexuality? If he can't mention them now I doubt he ever would have. What government bureaucrat held a bludgeon over him to prevent him? Blame everybody but one's own weakness.

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