A call to peace and non-violence
|Australian Catholic Social Justice Council National Executive Officer John Ferguson (left), Pace e Bene's Brendon McKeague, NSW Governor Marie Bashir, Australian Catholic Social Justice Council Chair Bishop Chris Saunders and Archdiocese of Sydney Aboriginal Catholic Ministry coordinator Elsie Heiss at the launch of The Australian Catholic Bishops’ 2010 Social Justice Sunday Statement.|
By Catholic Diocese of Parramatta Social Justice Co-ordinator Evan Ellis
The Gospel of Matthew says that “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ … You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matt 5:38, 43-44)
It is with this scripture passage that the Catholic Bishops of Australia break open the theme for this year’s Social Justice Sunday Statement which was launched on 14 September: “Violence in Australia: a message of peace.”
The statement is broad; focusing on a wide range of ways in which violence plagues society – ranging from domestic violence in the home; to violence on Australian streets; to racial violence against indigenous people, refugees, asylum seekers and international students. It focuses on specific incidents of violence and sees them as part of a broad problem. It discusses the personal roots of violence; violence in the family and in the community. The statement explores the different ways violence penetrates Australian culture, from football to alcohol, drugs, depression, vulnerability, poverty, racism, the media and social structures.
It then shifts to a focus on Jesus, speaking of him as the great peacemaker, as one who went to the margins, and who ultimately was crucified and rose again.
“The Son of God did not fight fire with fire, did not take control, but went to death for us. God, however, fought death with life, violence with peace”, reads the statement.
The statement was launched at Mary Mackillop place in North Sydney by her Excellency Marie Bashir, the Governor of New South Wales, while the response was given by Brendon McKeague of the peace and non-violence movement Pace e Bene.
The Social Justice Statement is now available on the website of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (www.catholic.org.au) and copies can be ordered from the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council (socialjustice.catholic.org.au).Social Justice Sunday will be celebrated in parishes across Australia on 26 September, 2010
Catholic Bishops speak on violence and peace in Australia
Visit the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta Social Justice Office
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