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Workplace Justice | Trade Justice | World Poverty | Social security

‘Within an unjust economic system marked by significant structural inequities, the situation of the marginalised is daily becoming worse. Today, in many parts of the world, people are starving, while in other places there is opulence.’

Pope John Paul II, World Food Day, 16 October 2003

 


 

Workplace Justice

'The feast of St Joseph the Worker provides an opportunity for all of us to appreciate the dignity and creativity of work, and, at the same time, to reflect on the need to provide every member of our community with the opportunity to undertake meaningful work'

Bishop Kevin Manning, St Joseph the Worker Pastoral Letter 1999

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Trade Justice

 The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council sees trade as essential for development of countries and acknowledges the positive effects of globalisation. However, the economy cannot be taken as the ultimate determinant of human life.  The challenge is to ensure that the human person remains the centre and the beneficiary of all aspects of globalisation and trade. 

It is not free trade, but fair and just trade which will enable this for all peoples.

Discussion Guide - Australia & United States Free Trade Agreement

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World Poverty

The struggle against poverty must not be reduced simply to improving the conditions of life, but to removing [people] from this situation, creating sources of employment and adopting their cause as one's own.

Pope John Paul II, 'Law of the Market is not enough', Vatican, 15/12/03

From the April 2013 Briefing:

Dear Friends,
As we journey through Holy Week, we follow the journey of Jesus Christ - condemned by the authorities and many of those who had hailed him a King, enduring the ridicule and suffering of the Passion, but overcoming death to appear before us as the risen Christ, our Savior offering the hope of Easter.

Celebrating Palm Sunday, Pope Francis has spoken of this journey:

‘We waved our palms, our olive branches. We too welcomed Jesus; we too expressed our joy at accompanying him, at knowing him to be close, present in us and among us as a friend, a brother, and also as a King: that is, a shining beacon for our lives. Jesus has awakened great hopes, especially in the hearts of the simple, the humble, the poor, the forgotten, those who do not matter in the eyes of the world ...

‘Jesus is God, but he lowered himself to walk with us. He is our friend, our brother. He illumines our path here. And in this way we have welcomed him today. And here the first word that I wish to say to you: joy! Do not be men and women of sadness: a Christian can never be sad! Never give way to discouragement! Ours is not a joy born of having many possessions, but from having encountered a Person: Jesus, in our midst; it is born from knowing that with him we are never alone, even at difficult moments, even when our life’s journey comes up against problems and obstacles that seem insurmountable, and there are so many of them!’ (link)

From the first days of his pontificate, Pope Francis has been reminding us of the plight of people who are poor.

READ MORE ↓

He spoke with representatives of world media about how he came to choose his name:

‘Francis of Assisi. For me, he is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation; these days we do not have a very good relationship with creation, do we? He is the man who gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man ... How I would like a Church which is poor and for the poor!’ (link)

At an ecumenical and inter-faith gathering he highlighted the role of all faiths to address human need and the causes of poverty and hardship, apparent in myopia of modern ideologies such as consumerism:

‘There is much that we can do to benefit the poor, the needy and those who suffer, and to favour justice, promote reconciliation and build peace. But before all else we need to keep alive in our world the thirst for the absolute, and to counter the dominance of a one-dimensional vision of the human person, a vision which reduces human beings to what they produce and to what they consume: this is one of the most insidious temptations of our time.’

He spoke of the need to pursue higher values of truth and goodness, and particularly an openness to the transcendent in the face of a materialism that seeks to eliminate God from the human story.
(link)

And addressing diplomats from around the world he highlighted the commitment of the Church to work of justice:

‘How many poor people there still are in the world! And what great suffering they have to endure! After the example of Francis of Assisi, the Church in every corner of the globe has always tried to care for and look after those who suffer from want, and I think that in many of your countries you can attest to the generous activity of Christians who dedicate themselves to helping the sick, orphans, the homeless and all the marginalized, thus striving to make society more humane and more just.’

He has called on all countries to join in this work of justice:

‘My wish is that the dialogue between us should help to build bridges connecting all people, in such a way that everyone can see in the other not an enemy, not a rival, but a brother or sister to be welcomed and embraced! ...

‘Fighting poverty, both material and spiritual, building peace and constructing bridges: these, as it were, are the reference points for a journey that I want to invite each of the countries here represented to take up.’ (link)

As we travel this journey of Holy Week together, we are called to remember our brothers and sisters who shoulder the cross of poverty and suffering. To Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who endure poverty in a land of plenty; vulnerable asylum seekers languishing in immigration detention facilities; the 20% of the world’s poor near us in East and South East Asia and the Pacific. In the plight of all who are poor, devalued or in any way distressed, we recognise the structures and systems of the world that cause and perpetuate human suffering. As Pope Francis says, how we respond by fighting poverty, peacebuilding and creating solidarity will be the ‘reference points for a journey’. Our shared work for justice is based on the hope of Easter - God’s love for us we see in the ultimate sacrifice of Christ and his victory over the obstacles and sufferings of this world.

The members and staff of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council wish you the joy of Easter and the hope of the risen Lord.

John Ferguson

 

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Social security

‘God gave the earth to the whole human race for the sustenance of all its members, without excluding or favouring anyone.’

Centesimus Annus, 31, Pope John Paul II

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Dear Friends,

As we journey through Holy Week, we follow the journey of Jesus Christ - condemned by the authorities and many of those who had hailed him a King, enduring the ridicule and suffering of the Passion, but overcoming death to appear before us as the risen Christ, our Savior offering the hope of Easter.

Celebrating Palm Sunday, Pope Francis has spoken of this journey:

‘We waved our palms, our olive branches. We too welcomed Jesus; we too expressed our joy at accompanying him, at knowing him to be close, present in us and among us as a friend, a brother, and also as a King: that is, a shining beacon for our lives. Jesus has awakened great hopes, especially in the hearts of the simple, the humble, the poor, the forgotten, those who do not matter in the eyes of the world ...

‘Jesus is God, but he lowered himself to walk with us. He is our friend, our brother. He illumines our path here. And in this way we have welcomed him today. And here the first word that I wish to say to you: joy! Do not be men and women of sadness: a Christian can never be sad! Never give way to discouragement! Ours is not a joy born of having many possessions, but from having encountered a Person: Jesus, in our midst; it is born from knowing that with him we are never alone, even at difficult moments, even when our life’s journey comes up against problems and obstacles that seem insurmountable, and there are so many of them!’ (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/homilies/2013/documents/papa- francesco20130324_palme_en.html )

From the first days of his pontificate, Pope Francis has been reminding us of the plight of people who are poor.

He spoke with representatives of world media about how he came to choose his name:

‘Francis of Assisi. For me, he is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation; these days we do not have a very good relationship with creation, do we? He is the man who gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man ... How I would like a Church which is poor and for the poor!’ (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/speeches/2013/march/documents/ papa-francesco_20130316_rappresentanti-media_en.html )

At an ecumenical and inter-faith gathering he highlighted the role of all faiths to address human need and the causes of poverty and hardship, apparent in myopia of modern ideologies such as consumerism:

‘There is much that we can do to benefit the poor, the needy and those who suffer, and to favour justice, promote reconciliation and build peace. But before all else we need to keep alive in our world the thirst for the absolute, and to counter the dominance of a one-dimensional vision of the human person, a vision which reduces human beings to what they produce and to what they consume: this is one of the most insidious temptations of our time.’

He spoke of the need to pursue higher values of truth and goodness, and particularly an openness to the transcendent in the face of a materialism that seeks to eliminate God from the human story.

(http://www.vatican.va/holy father/ francesco/speeches/2013/march/documents/papa-francesco_20130320_delegati-fraterni_en.html )

And addressing diplomats from around the world he highlighted the commitment of the Church to work of justice:

‘How many poor people there still are in the world! And what great suffering they have to endure! After the example of Francis of Assisi, the Church in every corner of the globe has always tried to care for and look after those who suffer from want, and I think that in many of your countries you can attest to the generous activity of Christians who dedicate themselves to helping the sick, orphans, the homeless and all the marginalized, thus striving to make society more humane and more just.’

He has called on all countries to join in this work of justice:

‘My wish is that the dialogue between us should help to build bridges connecting all people, in such a way that everyone can see in the other not an enemy, not a rival, but a brother or sister to be welcomed and embraced! ...

‘Fighting poverty, both material and spiritual, building peace and constructing bridges: these, as it were, are the reference points for a journey that I want to invite each of the countries here represented to take up.’ (http://www.vatican.va/holy father/ francesco/speeches/2013/march/documents/papa-francesco_20130322_corpo-diplomatico_en.html )

As we travel this journey of Holy Week together, we are called to remember our brothers and sisters who shoulder the cross of poverty and suffering. To Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who endure poverty in a land of plenty; vulnerable asylum seekers languishing in immigration detention facilities; the 20% of the world’s poor near us in East and South East Asia and the Pacific. In the plight of all who are poor, devalued or in any way distressed, we recognise the structures and systems of the world that cause and perpetuate human suffering. As Pope Francis says, how we respond by fighting poverty, peacebuilding and creating solidarity will be the ‘reference points for a journey’. Our shared work for justice is based on the hope of Easter - God’s love for us we see in the ultimate sacrifice of Christ and his victory over the obstacles and sufferings of this world.

The members and staff of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council wish you the joy of Easter and the hope of the risen Lord.

John Ferguson