The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council (ACSJC) and Catholic Social Services Australia (CSSA) issued a joint statement criticizing the Australian Government’s 2014 Budget announcements. Bishop Christopher Saunders, Chair of the ACSJC said:“It actually punishes individuals and families who look to Government for financial support and drives division and alienation in our Australian community.” Jacky Brady, speaking for CSSA noted that: “This budget presents savings to the Federal Budget that have a domino effect on the household income – from cuts to the family tax benefit thresholds, the introduction of Medicare co-payments and changes to indexation rates for some payments and allowances. Many people are already surviving with limited means and have limited flexibility to absorb additional costs so it is inevitable that low to middle income households will suffer the most.” Read the full statement here. How do you think this budget measures up to the responsibility of government to organize and promote the common good? How might citizens build solidarity and social inclusion in the face of such decisions?
Bishop Gerard Hanna, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Delegate for Migrant and Refugees, has called for a thorough review of Australia’s refugee and asylum seeker policies. The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office believes that an independent report into events leading to the brutal death of Reza Barati in immigration detention on Manus Island reveals a serious failure on Australia’s part to accept full responsibility to protect those who seek refuge on its shores.
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.
The National Council of Priests of Australia have backed the Bishops’ 8 May 2014 statement on Australia’s asylum and refugee policies. They say: Like our Bishops, many of us have seen the faces and heard the stories of these people and cannot hide our shame at the way some are being treated. Here is the full text of their 14 May 2014 statement…
In this reflection for CatholicCare Sydney, Sandie Cornish reflects on slow fashion and solidarity with the poor and the earth. For more on ethical clothing labelling, visit Ethical Clothing Australia. New ethical brands are emerging all the time, so check their accredited brands list from time to time.