The Brisbane Archdiocesan Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace has produced a resource called Working for the Common Good, to encourage prayer and action for the common good in the lead up to the G20 meeting to be held in Brisbane, Australia in November 2014. It includes extracts from the social teachings of St John XXIII, St John Paul II, and Pope Francis, prayer materials, and a call for submissions to the Commission that their representative will take to the civil society gathering that is an official part of the G20 process. Read the resource here.
Bishop Bill Wright, Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle Diocese in Australia, reminds us that the call to be Easter people is a call to live justly. What does it mean to you to try to live as Jesus did? How can we, like Jesus, be people of “integrity who will not bow down before injustice or be deflected from [our] cause by the threat of violence”? View Bishop Wright’s Easter Message below:
Feelings about Prime Minister Abbott’s decision to bring back the British Honours system’s Knights and Dames in Australia have been mixed. It would have been very interesting if he had consulted the community about who and what we should honour, and what titles would be most appropriate. We are sometimes wary of honours, and of those who seek them, but honouring others is a very human thing and part of our Catholic tradition. We honour the saints for their example of holiness, and learn from them. We can learn from being honoured too. Once, when I was working with an organisation of the Good Shepherd Sisters, I was introduced to a gathering as ‘audacious’. I didn’t feel very audacious, but I knew that in Good Shepherd circles audacity is considered a virtue. It is linked with their fourth vow – zeal for the salvation of souls. One thing that I love about the Good Shepherd Sisters is that they are women who get close and hear the pain and the hopes of people who are poor or marginalised, especially women and girls. They are bold in making these silenced voices audible. Audacity like that is worthy of honour. Years ago, when I was leaving a position to take up a new role, a legendary Columban missiologist declared at my farewell that I was an expert in Catholic Social Teaching. I see myself as a student and a practitioner in the field rather than an expert. I shall never be as learned as the late great Cyril Hally. He was a significant scholar who was committed to learned ministry and deep existential engagement. I’d like to honour that kind of seriousness, commitment and depth. More recently I was with a friend who was in the final stages of a terminal illness. He wanted to introduce me to another friend of his who he said was a good and unassuming person – like myself. Surely, in more than twenty years of friendship, he must have noticed my ego needs? It was high praise from a Jesuit who took St Ignatius of Loyola’s warnings against the dangers of riches, honour and pride very seriously. Brilliant and talented, Adrian Lyons spent his life in quiet ministries helping others. I’d like to honour such humility and service. Titles like Sir and Dame just don’t match the things I want to honour. Maybe we could award people the Coffee Cup of Compassion or the Shabby Coat of Humility? Perhaps we could confer titles such as Nagging Voice for Justice or Dogged Seeker of Truth? What honours would you like to create?
The Australian Catholic Bishops’ agency for people on the move, the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office, has produced a short pamphlet outlining key Church teachings on asylum and migration. Read it here.