Rumblings Down Under

Prelate’s words on cloning prompt government probe

Perth, Jun. 7, 2007 ( – An Australian lawmaker has called for a parliamentary investigation of a Catholic archbishop who warned politicians against voting to support therapeutic cloning.

Fred Riebeling, the speaker of the legislative assembly of West Australian, said that he wanted to question Archbishop Barry Hickey of Perth. The archbishop had said that Catholic legislators should not receive Communion if they voted for the cloning bill.

Riebeling said that the archbishop’s public statement was a threat against members of parliament. “He has said he didn’t make a threat,” the assembly speaker said. “I think he’s the only person in Australia that doesn’t think that.”

Australia’s Prime Minister John Howard came to the defense of Archbishop Hickey, saying that he did not interpret the archbishop’s statement as a threat.

Archbishop Hickey had said that Catholics who vote for legal cloning “are acting against the teaching of the Church on a very serious matter and they should, in conscience, not vote that way; but if they do, in conscience they should not go to Communion.”

The archbishop’s statement appeared shortly after another Australian prelate, Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, warned legislators that a vote in favor of cloning would have “consequences for their place in the life of the Church.”

Neither Archbishop Hickey nor Cardinal Pell threatened to excommunicate politicians, and neither prelate said that he would refuse to administer the Eucharist to legislators who supported the cloning bill– although Cardinal Pell left open that possibility.

A spokesman for the Perth archdiocese said that Archbishop Hickey would cooperate with any inquiry by parliamentary investigators.


Fred, let me fill you in on something. You are not required to stay Catholic. No one is forcing the State to do anything in regards to its laws. You have total freedom as a legislator to vote for or against any legislation. What you cannot do, however, is whine when your private membership in such a club kicks you out for contradicting its tenets. The State has neither the authority to dictate to the Catholic Church what its beliefs can or cannot be, nor does it have the authority to interfere in its internal regulatatory actions.

Why do liberals only insist on the separation of church and state when it is a one way street?

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