A new name for solidarity with First Australians
|Solidarity with the First Australians means to deepen our friendship.|
Each year on the first Sunday in July, the Catholic Church in Australia honours and prays with the First Australians.
To coincide with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday 2011 (3 July), the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference through its Bishops Commission for Relations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders has released a statement titled ‘Friendship: a new name for solidarity with First Australians’.
“What we nowadays call the principle of solidarity is frequently stated by Pope Leo XIII, who uses the term ‘friendship’. Pope Pius XI refers to it with the equally meaningful term ‘social charity’,” the Bishops Commission for Relations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders says in its statement.
“Pope Paul VI, expanding the concept to cover the many modern aspects of the social question, speaks of a ‘civilization of love’.
“The term ‘friendship’ with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is a possibility we could examine more fully. This would imply that to be in solidarity with the First Australians means to deepen our friendship with each other.
“It means to develop an attitude of support and unity. It makes our relationship personal and practical.”
Making friendship a priority
The Bishops Commission for Relations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders says Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday prompts us to think about how we can start or deepen friendships with our First Australians.
“Although symbolic national victories have been won, nothing much seems to be happening in between those historic moments to ‘close the gap’ between Aboriginal disadvantage and the fruits of Australian life enjoyed by the majority,” the Bishops Commission says in its statement.
“True friendship cannot tolerate such a gap. Like the Good Samaritan in the Gospel, friendship demands a deeper heart-felt response that implies a real imperative to reach out to those on the margins and bring them home to full health and hope.“
By developing friendships, we would become aware first-hand of the issues that concern us all.”
Download Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday 2011 Statement
Visit Aboriginal Catholic Social Services at CatholicCare Social Services
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