Social Justice Trends_May 2020


Dear Friend

In this issue we focus on COVID-19 and the creativity of love.

How might we reimagine our world?


Social Solidarity and Social Distancing

“This major shock to our community, and our economy, could provide an opportunity to reset our thinking about how we support the poorest, most marginalised, and most vulnerable members of our community,” says Bishop Vincent Long, Chair of the Bishops Commission for Social Justice, Mission and Service, in a Pastoral Message for the Feast of St Joseph the Worker. The Message and accompanying video focus on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our work lives.

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Caritas COVID-19 Appeal

Caritas Australia is urging thousands of school children, teachers, church and community leaders across Australia to support its work with vulnerable communities facing the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of the pandemic is amplified for those who are in communities already vulnerable to poverty, disease and malnutrition. Caritas Australia works across 23 countries and with 1.52 million people worldwide. Your generosity can help.

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New Vatican Commission

Pope Francis has asked the Dicastery for Integral Human Development to help to galvanise Vatican agencies to respond to the pandemic, embrace hope and imagine the future. Cardinal Turkson explains that a new COVID-19 Commission has been established. It will support local churches to respond to immediate needs, and “to think about a post COVID-19 society and world, especially in areas of ecology, economics, labour, healthcare, politics-governance, communications and security.”

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Sharing Action to Leave Nobody Behind

Do you have a story of an innovation or good practice to share with Catholic organisations around the world? Tell us how you are helping asylum-seekers, refugees, international students, temporary residents and migrants during this crisis, and seeking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among them. Send your story to us at the Office for Social Justice in writing, as a video, or as a podcast.

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The Water of Life 

Aqua fons Vitae is a new document from the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. Its purpose is to help local churches to reflect and act on “the issue of water, development and the future of human life on Earth”. Focusing on water for human use, water and human activities, and water as a space, the Dicastery points out matters requiring awareness raising and advocacy. It suggests some specific commitments that could be undertaken by churches at the local level.

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World Environment Day – 5 June

Celebrated every year since 1974, the theme for World Environment Day 2020 is celebrating biodiversity. The UN Environment Program explains that “recent events, from bushfires in Brazil, United States and Australia to locust swarms to the COVID-19 outbreak, highlight how meddling with ecosystems and biodiversity from its natural state is creating unprecedented challenges for humankind on a global scale”.

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Refugee Week – 14-20 June

Events for Refugee Week will largely be digital and online this year but there are still plenty of things that you can do to celebrate – like backing the Refugee Council of Australia’s five calls to protect refugees and people seeking asylum during the COVID-19 pandemic and circulating the public statement on this by Catholic leaders. Visit our online calendar for more ideas.

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World Social Media Day – 30 June

Can you imagine living through a pandemic without social media? On World Social Media Day we recognise and celebrate social media’s impact on global communication. It is a good time to revisit the Bishops’ Social Justice Statement Making it Real: Genuine human encounter in our digital world. You’ll find more ideas for activities on our online calendar.

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If you have any feedback for the Office for Social Justice, please contact our Editor Sandie Cornish at


Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv (Chair), Bishop Paul Bird CSsR, Bishop Terence Brady, Bishop Max Davis, Bishop Bosco Puthur, Bishop Christopher Saunders, Bishop Donald Sproxton, Bishop William Wright.

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The Office for Social Justice facilitates this newsletter in good faith. Its aim is to promote adult faith formation, awareness and action in relation to social, economic and ecological justice issues. Factual information is presumed free of error. If this is found to be incorrect please contact the OSJ for purposes of rectification. The reference to news items and the provision of links to other websites is solely for the user’s convenience. The OSJ assumes no responsibility for, nor does it necessarily endorse, these items or websites, their content, or their sponsoring organisations.

Social Justice Trends is a publication of the Office for Social Justice and is distributed monthly. Our aim is to provide news of interest to you. If you have suggestions or feedback about Social Justice Trends please don’t hesitate to get back to me.




Sandie Cornish
Publications & Research Officer
Office for Social Justice

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