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New Pope an opportunity for religious reform.

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Australian Democrats Press Releases

Senator Lyn Allison Parliamentary Leader and Democrats Senator for Victoria Australian Democrats spokesperson for Prime Minister & Cabinet

Dated: 04 April 2005

Press Release Number: 05/155 Portfolio: Prime Minister & Cabinet

New Pope an Opportunity for Religious Reform

As the world's cardinals gather to elect a successor to Pope John Paul II, the Australian Democrats today said the process provides an opportunity to reform the church's hard line stance on issues such as sexuality, gender and contraception.

Senator Lyn Allison, Leader of the Australian Democrats said Australias five million Catholics have lost a leader known for his work for the world's poor but also an unwavering stance on traditional church doctrines.

"Many non-Catholics and Catholic moderates will hope this will be an opportunity to end the churchs hard line on access to birth control, same sex relationships and women's role in the church - stances that cause much painful discrimination," Senator Allison said.

Senator Allison said the death of Pope John Paul II has had a profound impact on Catholics around the world and has opened the door for an examination of his influence on society.

"He has reigned over a period of increasing influence of religious faith over public policy," Senator Allison said.

"Here in Australia we now have the opportunity to revisit this influence with recommitment to the democratic principle that church and state must remain separate, and that Government must be pluralistic in a way the churches will not," Senator Allison concluded.