The church has failed victims of clergy. The state must not.

Where are the Victorian government leaders brave enough to say the age of deference is over and enough is enough? A royal commission will not bring back the lost lives of two of my daughters or many other victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, but it will help prevent much further suffering.

To reject gay marriage is to be blind to our common humanity

Advocates of gay marriage usually argue that, in its present form, the Marriage Act denies gays justice conceived as equal access to goods and opportunities. This can obscure the deepest reasons why the act should be revised.

Donvale development squabble now an unholy row

MELBOURNE'S Coptic Orthodox Church has been accused of trying to dodge proper planning process in its bid to build a sprawling sports and accommodation complex on the edge of one of Melbourne's green wedges.

The church and a group of Donvale residents have been locked in an acrimonious dispute for the past two years over the church's plans for the leafy site, which include an imposing multipurpose stadium for 2000 people, several basketball, squash and volleyball courts, an indoor swimming pool, a gym, cafe, youth centre and retreat accommodation for the Coptic Christian community.

Gay marriage: PM to save face

JULIA Gillard appears set to avert a damaging blow to her authority at this weekend's ALP national conference, having all but secured the necessary support for her plan to give Labor MPs a conscience vote on same-sex marriage.

But in a potential setback for the Prime Minister, the Left faction has strengthened its hand as it pushes to have support for gay marriage enshrined in the Labor Party platform.

Cause still has long way to go, says gay priest

TWENTY-FIVE years ago, in an act of considerable moral courage, Nigel Wright became the first Melbourne Anglican priest to identify himself as gay.

''I came out at a parish council planning weekend when I was priest in charge at Thomastown-Epping. The council said with one voice, 'tell us something we don't know','' Mr Wright recalled yesterday.

Priest lashes out at Pell over new Rome guest house

A LEADING Melbourne priest has criticised Cardinal George Pell for reserving a ''grand apartment'' for himself at the Australian church's new guest house in Rome, saying ''the ethics of our secular state are higher than those of our church''.

Father Eric Hodgens, an elder statesmen among the clergy, also savaged Australia's Catholic bishops for an abject performance during their five-yearly visit to Rome last month, particularly in failing to stand up for Bill Morris, sacked earlier this year as Bishop of Toowoomba.

Handling of Steiner closure criticised

EDUCATION Minister Martin Dixon has criticised his own department's handling of the decision to axe the alternative Steiner stream at Footscray City Primary, saying the way parents found out was ''not good''.

The criticism comes as Education Department deputy secretary Chris Wardlaw announced the Footscray City Primary council would be sacked, because it opposed the decision to close the Steiner stream and ''the new direction decided for the school''.

Anti-Semitism alive in Australian community

JEWS in Australia faced 517 incidents of harassment or intimidation in the year to September 30, a 31 per cent rise from the year before, according to the Jewish community's annual report on anti-Semitism.

"Put bluntly, in Australia this year, 10 times a week, every week, Jewish Australians were attacked or threatened," report author Jeremy Jones said yesterday.

When a conscience vote is a political cop-out

AT THE ALP national conference in Sydney later this week, gay marriage will be a hot topic. We doubt it will be in most Australian lounge rooms. While opinion polls suggest most Australians support a change to the law to allow homosexuals too marry, it is considered a low priority. This is understandable. Sweeping legislative changes introduced federally in 2008, and supported bilaterally, defined de facto partner to include both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. As a result, co-habiting gay couples have access to the same federal legal rights as co-habiting heterosexual couples.

Reprieve for pro-gay marriage pastor

A BAPTIST minister who faced the sack over his support for same-sex marriage has won a reprieve after a meeting that was to be held today to decide his future was cancelled.

Lilydale Baptist Church has been in turmoil since senior pastor Matt Glover said on a gay website two months ago that he favoured same-sex marriage.

Conservatives have accused him of ''opening the door to sin'', while activist Christian group Salt Shakers asked followers to pray that God would ''improve or remove'' him, Mr Glover says.

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