September 9, 2021
Social Justice Statement 2021-2022
Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor
Today is Social Justice Sunday. The Australian Catholic Bishops have published their annual Social Justice Statement, which is this year
titled: Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor. The Statement calls us to listen, hear and respond to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor through practical action. When one part of the Body of Christ is wounded, the other parts care for the afflicted part so that all can be healed and made whole. What affects one affects all, as everything and everyone is connected. We are invited to be lifegiving agents in the transformation of our communities in ways that reflect the mercy freely offered by our loving God.
As people of prayerful contemplation, dialogue, and action, we commit to right relationships in our covenant with God. It is clear that the signs of our times call for urgent action to defend, protect, and restore the earth and the dignity of the human person, especially those places, creatures, and people who are most vulnerable. In following God’s law of living a moral life from the inside out, we upend and transcend any worldly standards that would diminish the sacredness of any part of God’s creation. People are more important than profits, and the beauty of our natural world is a precious gift to us and to the generations who will follow. In transitioning to sustainable and just economic systems and practices, we commit to partnering with the work of the Spirit in renewing
the face of the earth. In their Social Justice Statement for 2021–22, Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor, 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”. The Statement provides theological
foundations to ground and inspire our efforts to care for creation while responding to the needs of the disadvantaged and excluded.
The Bishops invite us to join them in responding to Pope Francis’ invitation to take a seven-year journey towards total ecological sustainability guided by seven Laudato Si’ Goals.
The Goals are: response to the cry of the earth; response to the cry of the poor; ecological economics; sustainable lifestyles; ecological spirituality; ecological education; andcommunity engagement and participatory action.
Scripture, the theological tradition, Catholic social justice teaching, and the wisdom of the world – including insights of the First Nations – are all placed in dialogue with human experience. Four theological foundations for a genuinely Christian response to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor emerge from this dialogue. They are: 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.
Catholic families, communities and organisations are encouraged to: listen to the First Nations; reflect on the theological foundations offered by the Bishops; and, plan their next steps towards the Laudato Si’ Goals.
More information: ACBC Office for Justice, Ecology and Peace,
www.socialjustice.catholic.org.au or Tel (02) 6201 9845.