“Why should the Australian Government be frightened if New Zealand chooses to act with compassion?” The Catholic Diocese of Auckland Justice and Peace Commission ask the Australian Government to let New Zealand resettle asylum seekers on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. Labelling the living conditions of the detainees a “violation of basic human dignity”, the Commission appeal for solidarity and compassion. In doing so they point to Pope Francis’ encouragement not to be afraid of refugees. Furthermore they affirm that Catholic teaching urges us to focus on the needs of the most vulnerable. They urge the Australian government to accept New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s 1 November offer to take into New Zealand 150 refugees from the Manus Island detention camp. Auckland Justice & Peace Commission Statement Read their media release here: [gview file=”https://social-spirituality.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/manus-island-akl-catholic-jp-news-release-15nov17.pdf”]. Learn more about Catholic Social Teaching and seeking asylum Basic teachings Inspirational quotes What the Australian Catholic Bishops say
Bishop Patrick Dunn, President of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference, has welcomed an increase in New Zealand’s refugee intake, and the pilot of a community sponsorship program. He acknowledged that New Zealand’s contribution is modest and pointed to the need to address the causes of the refugee crisis, saying: “The extent of the global refugee crisis is staggering and the number of people that we can help is never going to solve the issue. An end to conflict and persecution and meaningful and lasting peace are the only things that can resolve this crisis.” The community support program would allow for refugees beyond the government’s quota to be welcomed. More information from CathNews NZ & Pacific.
Cardinal John Dew will launch a Poverty and Justice Bible campaign in Wellington on 13 September 2015 to coincide with the start of Social Justice Week. Over 350 people are expected to attend the event. CathNews New Zealand reports that the campaign, jointly developed by the Bible Society New Zealand and Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, centres around a new Catholic Poverty and Justice Bible. It is a New Zealand edition of The Poverty and Justice Bible which uses the Catholic NRSV translation and includes a unique study section. The studies are derived from the New Zealand Year 12 Religious Education curriculum and from Caritas resources. The Poverty and Justice Bible campaign is supported by the New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ Conference, and endorsed by Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Cardinal Dew said that it was inspired by Pope Francis’ concern for the poor: “Pope Francis is passionate about people living the Gospel of Jesus and he has a deep concern for those who suffer from injustice and live lives of poverty.” The Bible Society is making a buy one get one gift free offer which will make available free copies to people or families who cannot afford to purchase one. For more information on sales and gifts, contact email@example.com
A Constitutional Conversation is going on in the Pacific country of Aotearoa New Zealand. In their submission, the Catholic Bishops support moving to a written constitution and have proposed an Introduction for such a constitution. They explore the meaning of freedom, truth and responsibility. Read their submission here. Development agency Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has also made a submission. They emphasize the role that a written constitution could play in protecting human rights, and they support the submission made by the Catholic Bishops. Read their submission here: [gview file=”https://social-spirituality.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Caritas-submission-2013-on-the-Constitutional-Review.pdf”]
The season of Lent calls us to take stock of our lives. How well are we witnessing to our values and beliefs? Do they permeate every dimension of our lives, or do we, perhaps without thinking too much about it, bracket them from some parts of our lives? During the season of Lent we ask ourselves how we can follow Jesus more closely, accepting his invitation to make the Kingdom of God present in the world. In his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis reminds us that evangelisation is not complete if the Gospel is separated from any part of life (EG, n 181). The light of the Gospel touches every part of our lives – if we let it in. For example, we can make the Kingdom of God present in the world through what we do – and do not – buy. Fair trade Easter eggs can be an icon of the light of the Gospel shinning on the economic dimension of life. Is Chocolate a Faith Issue? Will you be buying fair trade Easter eggs? Perhaps you haven’t really thought much about chocolate production as a faith issue? However the way in which a lot of chocolate is produced involves the exploitation and even enslavement and trafficking of workers, including children. Unfair terms of trade also keep communities in poverty and dependence. These are issues that Pope Francis is very concerned about. So, if you want to stand with him against these injustices, one thing that you can do is to buy only fair trade chocolate. Never heard of fair trade chocolate? There’s lots of information about fair trade chocolate at Stop the Traffick. Each year Australian Religious Against Trafficking in Humans runs an Easter campaign designed to raise awareness of the links between chocolate production and trafficking in persons and how we can use our power as consumers to promote change. We can witness to our faith by shopping for fair trade Easter eggs. How will you recognize fair trade chocolate? There is a system of accreditation and labeling run by Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand as part of the international fair trade network. It works in a similar way to the accreditation and labeling of organic products. There are also producers and retail networks that specialise in fair trade products. The Trading Circle, created by the Good Shepherd Sisters is a good example. They support income-generating projects that provide women with alternatives to prostitution and that reduce the vulnerability of communities to trafficking. You can support their work by buying their products online or in-store. School Activities Check out the schools section of the Traffik Free Chocolate website for activities and resources. Go to this page for a good chocolate gamification update on the traditional Easter Egg Hunt. Another Way of Behaving in the Economy Fair trade networks witness to the Gospel by demonstrating that there is another way of behaving in the economy. Exploitation is not inevitable – it is a choice on the part of producers and consumers. Witnessing to alternative ways of living in the world is a particular gift to the church of the religious institutes and they have been at the forefront of Catholic action on fair trade. Pope Benedict XVI, in his encyclical Caritas in Veritate, calls for love and the logic of gift to be part of the way in which the global economy operates. This should not be a redistributive afterthought, but an integral part of systems of production and consumption. What fair trade networks have demonstrated is possible must now become an ordinary part of all production and consumption. Clearly, a Christian commitment to fair trade products must go beyond chocolate, and beyond the Easter season. Likewise our participation in making the Kingdom of God present in the world goes beyond our patterns of consumption. But right now, fair trade Easter eggs can be an icon of the new life of the Resurrection present even in acts of production and consumption.