2023 ACBC Social Justice Statement: Much to ‘Listen, Learn Love’ from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People
17 August 2023
While the Social Justice Statement is a teaching document of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, a large part of this year’s statement was written by members of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council. It is part of the message’s exhortation to “listen”.
Bishop Long said, ‘Listening is hard. Hearing about young people taking their lives, about so many people ending up in jail, of children still being taken away from their parents and grandparents and about the ongoing racism is tough.
‘It must be so much more difficult for these people to tell us about their painful experiences. We are deeply grateful to those who shared their stories of pain with us.’
The theme for this year’s statement was chosen in May 2022, well before the Voice to Parliament referendum was mooted and before the timing of a vote was proposed. While the bishops don’t suggest how people should vote, Bishop Long said “whatever the outcome of this year’s referendum, we ask the Church in Australia to make efforts to lead the way for our fellow Australians” in pursuing reconciliation.
‘Our attitudes and actions towards First Nations Peoples need to be grounded in justice, love and humility,’ he said.
‘We need to listen with deep respect and learn from them about what needs to be done to improve their situations. We need to walk with them, day by day, and work with them to bring about change for the better – for their people and for all of us.
‘Strengthening our relationship with our First Peoples is integral and indeed critical to the strengthening of the whole nation.’
Watch the launch: https://www.youtube.com/live/jz_5pam7nBs?si=XV-ox6EyCatkD98J
Access the statement at: https://socialjustice.catholic.org.au/