Melbourne Archbishop Peter A Comensoli says the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer at the start of parliamentary sitting days “is a community call to honour God, so as to love and serve others before ourselves”. Source: Melbourne Catholic.
Archbishop Comensoli made the comment on X (formerly known as Twitter), responding to the news that the Victorian Parliament may consider a change to the 100-year-old practice of starting sitting days with the Lord’s Prayer.
Discussion of the issue was sparked by the decision of two Labor MPs to sit out the prayer because of Pope Francis’ recent remarks calling for a global ban on surrogacy.
One of the Labor MPs, Frankston’s Paul Edbrooke, said, “My personal view is that Parliament is a workplace and I don’t see a need for it.”
Archbishop Comensoli took issue with the characterisation of parliament as a “workplace”.
“The sitting of Parliament is not about ‘going to work’. Parliamentarians, when exercising their elected responsibilities, are not simply ‘doing a job’. The offering of the Lord’s Prayer at the commencement of parliamentary sittings has nothing to do with “someone’s workplace’,” Archbishop Comensoli wrote.
“This simple prayer – commonly held across traditions – is a community call to honour God, so as to love and serve others before ourselves.”
Archbishop Comensoli pointed to the many contributions made by people of faith to the life of Australian democracy.
‘[The Lord’s Prayer] embodies the deep contributions thousands have made to our democracy and its institutions, and is a strong reminder that our parliamentary representation is not the ultimate authority for building a just and caring society.’
‘At a time when respect for our common life is facing great challenges across the State of Victoria, proposals by our elected representatives to abandon the Lord’s Prayer seem inward-looking and unenlightening,’ he said.
Archbishop responds to calls to abandon the Lord’s Prayer (Melbourne Catholic)
Should Australian parliaments axe the Lord’s Prayer? In Victoria, it’s up for debate (By Benita Kolovos, The Guardian)
Lord’s Prayer could be dumped from Victorian Parliament (Canberra Times)