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Church leaders in Victoria say prayer is an integral part of the democratic tradition. (Bigstock)

In response to a push by some parliamentarians to end prayer in the Victorian Parliament, Melbourne Archbishop Peter A Comensoli has joined faith leaders in writing to state parliamentarians expressing “the fundamental and ongoing importance of prayer in Parliament”. Source: Melbourne Catholic. 

Calling on all Members of Parliament to recognise “the valuable role of prayer in Parliament and ensure its practice continues to play an integral part of our democratic tradition”, the letter is signed by Archbishop Comensoli; Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne Philip Freier, Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne; Imams Victoria board secretary Sheikh Muhammad Nawas Saleem; Hindu Council of Australia (VIC) president Shri Makarand Bhagwat; and Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council interfaith and community liaison Rabbi Ralph Genende.

The letter’s signatories observe that the short time of prayer with which each parliamentary sitting day opens is a “common tradition of the Westminster system”, and that both this tradition and the Acknowledgement of Country provide “a vital link to two important facets of our heritage”.

They affirm the practice of reciting the Lord’s Prayer—a simple prayer “commonly held across traditions” and “underpinned by crucial notions of forgiveness, gratitude, reconciliation, unity and the common good—recognising that we alone, are not the sole arbitrator of our destiny”.

While acknowledging that Victorians are “diverse in many ways”, the signatories call on MPs “to respect these beliefs and the rich, long-held traditions on which our parliamentary system has been built”.

“Parliamentarians do not recite the Lord’s Prayer in Parliament because it is a workplace,” they write, but “because it is an action of public acknowledgement of their responsible service to the people of Victoria.”

Read the letter: 


Archbishop joins religious leaders to write letter on prayer in Parliament (Melbourne Catholic)