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Preserving our Christian heritage


There are two stories in The Southern Cross this month which highlight the integral role of Christianity at significant moments in our history.

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The first relates to the inaugural PM Glynn Lecture by the Hon Dyson Heydon AC QC in which he reminds us that it was one of South Australia’s own adopted sons – Irish-born Patrick McMahon Glynn – who ensured the words ‘humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God’ were included in the preamble to the Australian Constitution (page 8). In the decade leading up to the birth of our nation, there was an acknowledgement that central to all of the deliberations and discussions on federation was a common belief in God.

Similarly, in the story about the World War II missal and bible gifted to the Archdiocese we see that US President Franklin J Roosevelt commended the reading of the bible to US and Australian soldiers, describing it as ‘an aid in attaining the highest aspirations of the human soul’.

The President’s poignant introduction to the New Testament once again highlights how our faith held such an important place in our lives – especially in these darkest of hours.

Christianity is such an intrinsic part of our past and yet as Mr Heydon pointed out there are those who would like to see it banished to the margins, if not totally obliterated. So insidious are the attempts to eliminate our ‘Christian’ roots in the name of political correctness that government departments are no longer allowed to use the term Christian name (it has to be ‘given name’) and the nativity play is off limits in public schools.

We live in a multicultural society where we respect different religions, backgrounds and cultures but that doesn’t mean we have to forget those fundamental traditions and beliefs that contribute to who and what we are today.

There is a glimmer of hope right under our noses, however. During a visit to one of our small parish schools, I listened to five-year-olds reading simple prayers like “please God, help feed the poor people” and “please God, look after my family”. They sang with gusto about “every step I take, I take with you, Jesus’.

What parent wouldn’t want their child to be exposed to that sort of beauty and hope in a world where there is so much hatred and violence? Never mind their academic results in Year 12; giving your child a strong grounding in the Christian faith has to be a huge plus. Giving your child the capacity to believe in something bigger than themselves, to believe in a God who loves them just as they are and who will look out for them as they go through life is a pretty amazing gift.

We should be shouting from the rooftops about the Catholicity of our schools to gain a much-needed competitive edge, particularly at a time when the State Government is spending $1.8 million promoting public schools!

We owe it to those five-year-olds with an openness for the truth to do our bit to make sure Christianity continues to have the same place in our future that it has had in our past.

That’s one of the reasons we will again be publishing the Christmas edition of The Southern Cross in The Advertiser on Saturday December 16. With a circulation of more than 160,000 throughout metropolitan and rural South Australia, this is a very effective way of extending our reach to people who wouldn’t otherwise be aware of our vibrant Catholic community. Free copies of the paper will also be distributed through parishes. It would be great if you could help us spread the word about this important initiative by asking friends and family to keep an eye out for The Cross in The Advertiser.


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