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From the Rector
Recently there has been a series of articles in one of our daily newspapers, highlighting the “wealth of the Catholic Church”, both in Australia and worldwide. The content and tone of the articles were meant to denigrate the Church. I am sure many Catholics, and fair-minded people, could see through all this. Every now and then, some politicians get up on their high horse and advocate that all Church properties be taxed. It is obvious that there is an attempt in the media to paint a negative picture of religion, and if possible, to discredit all activities associated with religious beliefs and values. The secularization of culture, that is creating a society completely based on secular ideas, devoid of any religious content and beliefs, seems to be the ultimate objective of some of the media.
The method is to create confusion and doubt in the minds of people, to ridicule one’s beliefs, to generate division, to use only partial information, to avoid reporting all aspects in a debate, and even to offer ‘fake news’ taken from unreliable sources.
To try to counter-act this biased reporting, a Catholic organization sent around a set of figures and statistics under the title “The good we rarely tell anyone”.
I reprint here some of that factual information, so that readers may use it at the appropriate time and as the occasion arises.
The Catholic Church:
- is the largest employer in Australia – after the Government;
- runs 1700 schools (primary, secondary, special) – with more than 750,000 students and 87,000 Staff (70% of all Teachers and 45% of Principals are female);
- owns and runs the Australian Catholic University, which is the fastest growing national university, with 25,700 students, producing the largest number of nursing and teaching graduates in Australia;
- provides 10,500 hospital beds in 77 hospitals;
- is the largest welfare provider outside the Government; it cared for 1.1 million clients in 2017;
- runs “Caritas Australia” to assist projects in many developing countries (in 2017 it raised $30 million, while “Catholic Mission” raised another $12 million);
- supports the St Vincent De Paul Society (SVDP), which is the largest and most extensive welfare network in the country, with 18,000 members and 30,000 volunteers;
- is the largest provider of trained personnel to help developing countries;
- Its membership adds up to 5.3 million people; of these 650,000 attend church every Sunday – enough to fill the MCG seven times!
All of the above has nothing to do with profits and wealth.
It is all based on Christian values and beliefs, and great generosity, sacrifice, and a sense of responsibility for those who are needy and poor.
Lent is also a time of thinking about others, and wanting to make a difference to our world!
Fr Frank Bertagnolli SDB