Every year, the Australian Catholic Bishops Office publishes a themed social justice statement . This year’s statement focuses on the synchronicity between the need for both ecological and social conversion in our lives as we listen to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.
In their Statement, the Australian Catholic Bishops say, “the signs of the times are clear – we know that we human beings need a change of heart, mind, and behaviour”. This call is so timely – especially as we discern the way forward through not just fires, floods and droughts, but COVID-19 as well. During the recent launch of the 2021 Social Justice Statement, the Bishops expressed their sincere commitment to addressing these cries of Earth and her people.
We are called to listen to those already experiencing the impact of climate change such as more frequent and severe bushfires and floods; to those whose livelihoods are threatened because they work in industries that contribute to climate change; to those, especially our First Nations people, who feel the impact of changes of nature itself; and to our Pacific neighbours who are experiencing rising sea levels which threaten their homes, their culture and their food supply.
We are invited to listen to the voices of Wisdom. Our call is to be caretakers of Earth which is a gift of God’s boundless love; a gift which reached a pinnacle with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus who is in solidarity with us and Earth. As we gather – wherever we are – to celebrate Eucharist, we are reminded of God’s sacramental presence in the things of Earth, bread and wine, and in the gathered community. Even as we marvel at the wonders of the natural world, including you and me, we hear its cries because of the way in which we humans are treating it. We are called to lament and be sorry. We are reminded to listen to the findings of science such as those incorporated in the very recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. We recognize the distinctive insights of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the need to incorporate them in any conversations about the future of our common home and her inhabitants.
We are called to act. The Social Justice statement (p14) tells us that “we are being called to a new way of thinking, feeling, understanding, and living”. It is a call to conversion which is both an individual and a collective call. A way forward for our community will be considered once we all have read and reflected upon the Statement. Watch this space!
The Statement, together with a podcast, prayer cards and video resources, is available at the ACBC Office for Justice, Ecology and Peace www.socialjustice.catholic.org.au
The statement (pdf) can also be downloaded directly by clicking here. If you would like a printed copy, you are invited to ring the Parish Office with your request on 5430 9390.