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Thursday, 14 February 2013
Page: 1529


Mr FRYDENBERG (Kooyong) (11:25): On indulgence: I rise to acknowledge the significant contribution of Pope Benedict XVI following his announcement that he will resign on 28 February this year. Pope Benedict is a learned man who has shown great leadership as the head of the Catholic Church and spiritual leader to more than one billion Catholics worldwide. His resignation has come as a shock to the world, representing as it does the first time the Pope has resigned since the mid-15th century. But the Pope's personal decision deserves our utmost respect as it reflects a desire to put the interests of the church before one's self. As the Pope said in his statement:

After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths due to an advanced age are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.

I, like so many Australians, have visited the Vatican and been struck by its beauty. I am in awe of this significant and historic institution.

In my own electorate of Kooyong I have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with many Catholic schools, churches and faith based organisations that do such good work promoting faith, learning and pastoral care in our community. I look at events like World Youth Day, held just a few years ago in Sydney, and see the important work the church leadership is doing to spread the message to the younger generations. I look at the celebrations that followed the canonisation of Mother Mary McKillop, Australia's first saint, as St Mary of the Cross and feel confident that the church's importance will only continue to grow.

In conclusion, among the many admirable qualities that Pope Benedict XVI brought to the role was his willingness to be a strong voice against racism around the world. His commitment and that of the church to interfaith dialogue not only builds on the significant legacy of John Paul II's papacy but augurs well for his chosen successor. On behalf of the people of Kooyong I join members on both sides of this House and thank Pope Benedict XVI for his visionary and inspirational leadership in taking the world towards greater peace and unity.