The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council’s Briefing for April is now up on the website. The Briefing covers issues of Catholic social teaching in March 2016, highlighting resources, media items and diary events. It can be read here.
From the Secretariat, John Ferguson:
When he was writing this Message, Pope Francis could not know that on Easter Sunday in Lahore, Pakistan, a suicide bombing would leave at least 69 people dead and more than 300 injured. This attack was reportedly aimed at the Christian community, but the great majority of the victims were Muslim. Only a few days before the Message was issued, terrorist bombings in Belgium left 32 people dead and more than 300 injured…
…From time to time Australia has experienced similar violence, though nothing on the scale that has been seen elsewhere. Pope Francis’ message should, however, touch our conscience in one respect:
‘The Easter message of the risen Christ … invites us not to forget those men and women seeking a better future, an ever more numerous throng of migrants and refugees – including many children – fleeing from war, hunger, poverty and social injustice. All too often, these brothers and sisters of ours meet along the way with death or, in any event, rejection by those who could offer them welcome and assistance.’
We Australians have to ask ourselves what we are doing to offer welcome and assistance to such people. Sadly, we seem to be setting the worst example to the rest of the world: demonising instead of welcoming those ‘fleeing from war, hunger, poverty and social injustice’. We seek a military response rather than a humane one, and on the world stage we offer few solutions other than rigid border control and the pursuit of people smugglers. Those people who have made it to Australia – including vulnerable children – are deported to languish without hope or any prospect of a constructive life.
Jesus wants something else for these people. And, as Pope Francis reminds us – these challenges are international, not just local. Australia and each one of us is called to global response of mercy and justice…