Building Bridges collects the Social Justice Sunday Statements of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 1988 – 2013. It is a beautifully produced reference book with an excellent index – and I wrote an introduction highlighting the major themes and consistent concerns of this body of local Catholic Social Teaching.
The first series of annual social justice statements by Australian Bishops began in the early months of the Second World War and ended during the Second Vatican Council. They were generally made in the name of the Archbishops and Bishops of the Catholic Church in Australia, or through the Episcopal Commission for Social Action.
From 1973 to 1987, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace prepared annual Social Justice Sunday Statements. They were usually, but not always, issued in the name of the Commission, a predominantly lay body, rather than the Bishops. Some of these statements were ecumenical efforts co-authored with the national justice and peace agencies of other Christian churches.
Building Bridges brings together the first 26 statements of a third series of Social Justice Statements. Responsibility for their preparation has rested largely with the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, which replaced the CCJP in 1987 following a review of national justice, development and peace structures of the Church and a subsequent restructure.
The social justice statements are teaching documents issued for Social Justice Sunday but are intended to have currency beyond one day or year. With that in mind, it was decided in 2010 to rename them Social Justice Statements rather than Social Justice Sunday Statements. They have covered economic issues such as the role of the economy, poverty and unemployment; social issues such as justice for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, immigration, racism and intolerance; peace and human security issues, and care for creation.
Order your copy now from the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council.