Catholicism 'under siege' from secularism


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Eminent Catholic lawyer Tony Macken has claimed that Catholicism is under siege from secularism that is rife in today's society.

Speaking at Campion College's 5th annual Edmund Campion dinner on Thursday 24 June, Macken referenced John Henry Newman who was among the first to identify secularism as the new challenge to religious belief.

Mr Macken addressed about 100 people including students and ex-students, staff, benefactors, and members of the board.

Campion College, Australia's only Liberal Arts College, was celebrating the Feast of St Edmund Campion, with Mr  Macken as guest speaker for the event. The on-campus event included Mass, Mr  Macken's presentation of 'Edmund Campion in Australia - Catholic Audacity in a Secularist Society'.

Mr Macken's speech covered the life and influence of Edmund Campion. He spoke about the relevance and importance of the saint's life on Catholics, and specifically students, today.

"We can be very sure that he (Edmund Campion) sees us as Catholic champions engaged with him in the service of the Lord in the battle of cosmic dimension," Mr Macken said.

Seek out 'Catholic culture'

Mr Macken referred to an article by Greg Sheridan, Foreign Editor of The Australian newspaper, in which guidance in surviving secular society was offered to Catholics. He mentioned Greg Sheridan's advice that Catholics should seek out Catholic culture which exists in abundance, and that Catholics have the right to expect accurate representation in an age of popular culture.

Mr Macken added his own points to those made by Mr Sheridan, stating that a key battleground is the secular universities, just as it was for Edmund Campion.

According to Mr Macken, the moral and intellectual culture of a secular university, good or bad, presages the moral and intellectual culture of Australian society in three-to-five years' time, and it can be reshaped within a university generation of three years. Furthermore, he said, transforming the culture of Australian society calls for particular leadership qualities, and Edmund Campion was the exemplar.

Mr Macken took questions from the audience, and finished by saying that even a small student body, such as that at Campion, can be a powerful force in bringing about change in a conforming university atmosphere.

Tony Macken was educated at St Ignatius College, Riverview, and graduated in Arts and Law at the University of Sydney. He is the Principal of AJ Macken & Co, an Australian legal practice which is recognised as one of the leaders in the field of employment and industrial law. Mr Macken has also been active in the public defense of Catholic interests.

On 6 April 2010, Mr Macken was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland by the President of Poland. Mr Macken is currently the President of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and he has also served as its Chancellor.

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