As the country faces intense legislative debate this upcoming year over same-sex “marriage” and euthanasia, Cardinal George Pell of Sydney blasted politicians who claim a Catholic identity, yet consistently defy Church teachings on major issues.
In a Jan. 4 interview with the Sunday Herald Sun, Cardinal Pell gave a sharp rebuke to Australian members of parliament who "fly under the Christian or Captain Catholic flag" but "blithely disregard Christian perspectives" in their actions.
"If a person says, 'Look, I'm not a Christian, I've a different set of perspectives,' I disagree but I understand," he said. "If a person says to me, 'Look, I'm nominally a Christian but it sits lightly with me,' I understand that.”
"But it's incongruous for somebody to be a Captain Catholic one minute, saying they're as good a Catholic as the Pope, then regularly voting against the established Christian traditions."
Cardinal Pell called out politicians who endorse secular stances on issues while insisting that they're Catholics, saying, “if you're espousing something that's not a Christian position, don't claim Christian backing for that."
The Catholic Church “doesn't teach the primacy of conscience,” he said, explaining that a person's conscience doesn't trump Church teaching. “You know if somebody said apartheid was all right, nobody would say, 'Yes you can say that because of the primacy of conscience.'"
"To the extent that on a significant number of issues you depart from Christian teachings you know it's incongruous to be billing yourself as a champion of Christian rights,” he said.
"I'm not telling people how to vote," he underscored during the interview. "I'm telling people how I think they should vote. I'm an Australian citizen and I have as much right to do that as any other citizen."