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?
Catholic Mission Australia together with Catholic Religious Australia have published a series of reflections on Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. The Francis Effect: Living the Joy of the Gospel can be viewed online as an ebook or you can order a hard copy from Catholic Mission. Look out for Sandie Cornish’s reflection on the social dimension of evangelization.
A statement from the Commission for Social Concerns of the Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands Catholic Bishops Conference says “… that while Papua New Guineans are not lacking in compassion for those in need, this country (unlike Australia which is a stable and thriving nation of immigrants) does not have the capacity at this time in its history to welcome a sizeable influx of refugees and provide for their immediate needs and a reasonable hope for a new and prosperous beginning. The leaders of Papua New Guinea and Australia surely know this and therefore appear to be making a very unwise decision. Papua New Guinea is rightly proud of the protection guaranteed by its Constitution to all people, citizen and non-citizen alike. We refer particularly to the section on freedom and liberty of the person (section 42) in the PNG Constitution. So is it right to bring people across our borders against their wishes? Is it right to imprison people who have not broken our laws? The implication that resettlement in PNG would be a deterrent is offensive to Papua New Guinea.”