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A Catholic hospital in Australia is attempting to resist the government’s bid to forcibly take control of its facilities, launching a petition that has drawn more than 25,000 signatures in its first week. The petition has gained the support of Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher OP, who is urging as many people as possible to sign.
Aleteia previously reported that Calvary Public Hospital has been owned and operated by the Little Company of Mary Health Care since 1979. In 2010, the ACT opened negotiations to purchase the hospital outright for AU$77 million, but these talks broke down because they needed Vatican approval for the sale. Now, ACT intends to forcibly take over Calvary, at no charge, and they say they intend to invest AU$1 billion into a new facility at the same site.
In a letter from Archbishop Fisher, provided by Catholic Weekly, the prelate described the legislation that would commandeer the hospital as an “extreme land-and-assets grab.” He wrote:
“It’s no secret that the ACT government want to force Calvary Hospital to provide abortions now, and euthanasia and assisted suicide in the future.” Archbishop Fisher continued, “Taking the land, buildings and hospital equipment and transferring staff employment across to Canberra Health Services allows them to push their anti-life agenda right through the hospital.”
The unprecedented action by the government has drawn together a new action group within the Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn, headed by the former Vicar General Fr. Tony Percy, who recently released a video that explains the situation and launched the petition at the website Catholic Voice.
The petition page outlines the concerns of the archdiocese, beginning with how the legislation was drafted and tabled without any consultation with Calvary Hospital. The group also takes umbrage at the time frame given for the transition, which the petition says, “demonstrates a complete unwillingness on the part of the ACT government to dialogue with its citizens.”
Furthermore, the petition notes that the ACT government already runs a hospital, the Canberra Hospital, which the petition states, “is already struggling to provide adequate services.”
The archdiocese also fears that the annexation of Calvary Hospital will embolden ACT to target other faith, welfare and community groups without consultation.
Fr. Percy hopes to gain as many signatures as possible for the petition, noting that the Archdiocese will not stay quiet on this issue:
“We will not be lying down. The government has got a fight on its hands,” Fr Percy told The Canberra Times.