Social Justice Sunday is 27 August and the new ACBC Social Justice Statement, Listen, Learn, Love: A New Engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples will be launched on Thursday 17 August.
The new Social Justice Statement is issued in an important year for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and, indeed, for all Australians. It’s the year when we vote on a referendum to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians through enshrining a Voice to Parliament in the Constitution.
Both the Bishops and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC) speak to us in this year’s statement. They see the referendum as an opportunity for the Church to begin a new engagement with the First Peoples of our land.
NATSICC speaks directly to us about the history of injustice and mistreatment faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and shares what they hope for in the future.
NATSICC supports the Voice to Parliament. While not directly advocating support for the referendum, the Bishops encourage all Australians to seek out opportunities for dialogue with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples so that we are well informed about their hopes for the future before we decide on our vote.
The Bishops and NATSICC see this year as an opportunity for the Church to lead the way for all Australians. Instead of telling the First Peoples what should happen, they say we need to listen to them and learn from them what is the best way to overcome their significant disadvantage. Instead of arrogance, the Church can lead the way to a better future for the First Peoples and for all Australians by engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in a spirit of humility and love.
The Bishops and NATSICC invite us to this new engagement in the statement’s conclusion:
We, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council, invite members of the Church to walk with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in this year of great possibility.
We hope for an end to the pain, the hurt and the injustice that has burdened the First Peoples of this land for far too long.
Let us commit ourselves to fostering a civilisation of love in Australia. Let’s come together in friendship and love to show all that love can not only change individual lives, but that it can change society for the better.
A raft of resources are being prepared to accompany the statement including a one page summary, a video introduction, liturgy notes, a spoken word version of the statement and social media resources.
The statement will be launched at Holy Family Primary School, Emerton, in Parramatta Diocese, on Thursday 17 August, at 9:00 AM. RSVP here by 10 August. For those who cannot attend in person, it will be livestreamed on Facebook. More details will be available in our next bulletin.
Stay tuned to our website for more information and resources as they are uploaded: