REFLECTION ON THE SOCIAL JUSTICE STATEMENT (From Leonie Cornell)

Themed as The Cry of the Earth and The Cry of the Poor, this year’s Social Justice Statement calls us to a conversion of deeper love for our earth and our neighbour.

Citing Scripture, Tradition, Science, and Catholic Social Teaching, we are asked to hear the cry of the Earth, which can be seen not only in the recent years’ extreme floods, fires, and storms and rising oceans.  We are also asked to hear the cry of the poor, particularly those vulnerable people who always bear the most impact from disasters. We are also asked to listen to the young, whose future we are impacting by not acting on climate change now.

We are challenged to See, Judge and Act, and to work towards a just transition to a low carbon economy.

The Bishops’ statement sets out ways we can begin and I thoroughly recommend its reading to you all. Click on the image below:

social justice statement

Foreword – Archbishop Mark Coleridge President, Australian Bishops Conference

Pope Francis reminds us that encounter, dialogue, and listening with an open heart enable God’s transforming love to move more powerfully in the world. Yet when faced with complex interrelated crises – the pandemic, the ecological crisis, the economic crisis, hunger, threats to peace and security – we can find ourselves overwhelmed by information or bogged down in disagreements about details.

In the annual Social Justice Statements, we seek to discern the signs of the times and, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, to recognise how God is calling us to respond. As bishops our task is to bring the light of the Gospel to bear as we seek to respond to the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth.

With Pope Francis, we avoid getting “mired in theoretical discussions” and instead seek to “hear the true stories” of people’s experience, look at reality through the eyes of those most affected, and “listen with an open heart to the stories that they tell”. Our task is to listen to people, to the earth, and to all of God’s creation, since every created thing is interconnected, speaks of the wellbeing of each part and of the whole, and reveals something of the Creator.

This Statement draws from Scripture, from the theological tradition, from Catholic social justice teachings and from the wisdom of the world, including insights of the First Nations peoples. All these are placed in dialogue with human experience. This year we offer some theological foundations for a genuinely Christian response to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor: creation in and through the Trinity; the sacramentality of all created things; the wonder and beauty available to the contemplative eye; and the need for conversion and change of life. Our hope is that these will ground and inspire comprehensive and effective responses not only from the Catholic community but from all who want to care for our common home in this time of great need.