January 31, 2005

Defend unborn's rights, Pope tells Catholic lawyers

Sydney Morning Herald

By Linda Morris
February 1, 2005

In a rare personal message, the Pope has appealed to Australia's Catholic lawyers to defend the rights of the unborn and aged.

Conferring his blessing on the St Thomas More Society, the Catholic lawyers' association, the Pope John Paul II urged its members to defend the "inviolable dignity and rights of every human being - from conception until natural death".

The message came as the society marked its 60th anniversary at St Mary's Cathedral with a "Red Mass" to mark the start of the legal year. The mass was celebrated in the presence of three cardinals and before some of the state's most senior judges, barristers and solicitors.

The society, named for the lawyer and politician beheaded by Henry VIII in 1535 for refusing to accept the king's claim to be supreme head of the English church, has quietly lobbied for changes to the abortion laws.

The society has also opposed euthanasia and advised on the Catholic Church's formal protocol for dealing with sexual abuse claims. Most recently, it argued for the NSW Government to give legal protection to foetuses and is now urging Federal Parliament to hold the line on banning the use of embryos in stem-cell research.

Posted by kshaw at January 31, 2005 07:13 AM