The Australian bishops’ decades-long tradition of publishing an annual Social Justice Statement continues this week, with the launch of Listen, Learn, Love: A New Engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples on Thursday.
In May last year, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference agreed the 2023-24 statement would consider the place of First Nations peoples in Australian society today. It was prepared in partnership with the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council.
NATSICC speaks directly in the statement about the history of injustice and mistreatment faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and shares what they hope for in the future.
With the statement being published as the country prepares for the referendum on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament, the bishops encourage all Australians to seek out opportunities for dialogue with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to become informed about their hopes for the future.
“Let us commit ourselves to fostering a civilisation of love in Australia,” the statement says.
“Let’s come together in friendship and love to show all that love can not only change individual lives, but that it can change society for the better.”
Each year’s Social Justice Statement is an opportunity for Australia’s bishops to share teachings on a contemporary social issue and to offer guidance on how the Catholic faith can inform people’s actions and attitudes in responding to these issues.
The statement will be launched at Holy Family Primary School, Emerton, in Parramatta Diocese, on August 17 at 9am AEST. It will be livestreamed on the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/CatholicOrgAuacbc
The statement is released ahead of Social Justice Sunday, which is marked on the final Sunday in August – August 27 this year.