Social Justice Sunday 2022
This year’s Social Justice Sunday statement, Respect: Confronting Violence and Abuse, points out that the roots of domestic and family violence “lie in the abuse of power to control and dominate others” and that “this stands in contrast to the relationships to which God calls us”.
Our relationships, the Statement points out, should be “marked by equality and reciprocity rather than domination and violence; respect and freedom rather than coercion and control”.
We know that most often those who suffer violence and abuse in homes and families, in workplaces, and in communities, are women and children while the perpetrators are most often men. We support women in calling for respect in relationships for their lives and those of their children are sacred.
This year’s statement, Respect: Confronting Violence and Abuse, focuses in a special way on the problem of spiritual violence and abuse. It discusses how religious teachings – including our own – may be manipulated by perpetrators to excuse violence or to exert control over others.
Cultural factors in the Church and in society often also play an important role in the violence and abuse suffered in families, households, communities, and workplaces. This behaviour is sinful. We believe that respect, dignity and justice, transformation and hope are possible.
The Statement affirms the work being done by faith communities and organisations to support those who experience domestic and family violence and abuse, and to address the drivers and enablers of violence. It points to further ways in which we can all respond to spiritual violence.
Finally, it calls for faith communities to support and believe those going through domestic and family violence and abuse, to hold perpetrators to account and work towards individual and social transformation.
If you or someone you know is experiencing violence in any form—including spiritual violence—please know that your priest’s doors are always open for confidential discussion about the options available to your and your family.
Peace be with you
Fr Josh Whitehead