The Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands expressed their condolences to the family of the asylum seeker killed on Manus Island and reiterated their opposition to Australia’s offshore processing of asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea: “Detaining people against their will in PNG, even if it “works” as a deterrent is not a just solution worthy of a great nation otherwise proud of its human rights record. It clearly places an intolerable strain on the capacity of PNG to manage, and might lead to even more deaths, injury and trauma. Close the centre and manage the problem in Australia.” Read their statement here.
How would you describe the requirements of basic human solidarity? How would you like to be treated if you were a stranger or seeking protection?
Do you have a friend who is completely different to yourself? How do they enrich your life? Can you identify some ways in which people of cultures or religions other than your own reflect the inexhaustible beauty of God?
In what ways might materialism lead us to degrade the material world? How might we shift our thinking about the environment from a resource-to-be-used perspective to one of relationship?
In what ways might a culture encourage us to feel that the successes of others somehow deprive us of good things? Are we caught up in a zero sum attitude of winning or losing? Do we define ourselves as winners or losers?
Bishop Christopher Saunders, Chair of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, denounced the Australia government’s asylum seeker policy as “a campaign of cruelty”. He called for compassion and international cooperation. Read the media release here. When you read about asylum seekers, what is your first instinct – to protect your own way of life, or to protect their lives?
Who are the most vulnerable in your society? Do they have a voice in public policy discussions? How does your faith community go about listening to them?