Voice To Parliament
Bishops’ statement calls for ‘new engagement’ with First Peoples
Australia’s Catholic bishops have called on the nation to seek “a new engagement” with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in their annual Social Justice Statement launched today. Since the 1940s, the bishops have published annual statements that urge the Catholic community to reflect and act on social, economic and ecological issues. The statements are published as a focal point for Social Justice Sunday, which will be marked on August 27.
This year’s statement, Listen, Learn, Love: A New Engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, was launched in Western Sydney by Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, chair of the Bishops Commission for Social Justice, Mission and Service.
The theme for this year’s statement was chosen in May 2022, well before the Voice to Parliament referendum was mooted and before the timing of a vote was proposed. While the bishops don’t suggest how people should vote, Bishop Long said “whatever the outcome of this year’s referendum, we ask the Church in Australia to make efforts to lead the way for our fellow Australians” in pursuing reconciliation.
“Our atitudes and actions towards First Nations Peoples need to be grounded in justice, love and humility,” he said.