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Electronic Bulletin of the
Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of Brisbane

Friday 26 June 2020

The Church in the Modern World


You have to know in order to understand. Knowledge is a necessary step towards understanding others. Jesus himself tells us this in the account of the disciples on the road to Emmaus: “While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him” (Lk 24:15-16). When we talk about migrants and displaced persons, all too often we stop at statistics. But it is not about statistics, it is about real people! If we encounter them, we will get to know more about them. And knowing their stories, we will be able to understand them. We will be able to understand, for example, that the precariousness that we have come to experience as a result of this pandemic is a constant in the lives of displaced people.

Pope Francis, Message for World Day of Migrants & Refugees 2020

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Sunday
The Church celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday on 5 July. The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council has produced a resource booklet to help parishes to celebrate on the day and for schools to use at other times. You can find the booklet at:
A special Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Ken Howell at the Cathedral of St Stephen at midday on Sunday 5 July. During the pandemic, limited numbers of people may attend Mass at the Cathedral. If you would like to attend this special Mass, you will need to register at the Cathedral office on 3324 3030 or at:
NAIDOC Week celebrates the culture, history and contribution of First Nations peoples in Australia. It is usually celebrated in early July. Because of the pandemic, the new dates for NAIDOC Week are 8 – 15 November. You can find out more information and look at resources to help you plan your celebrations at:
No Child Left Behind
The Refugee Council of Australia is seeking signatures on a petition supporting a public statement expressing concern about the 16,000 children and refugee families who face significant economic hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people seeking asylum have lost their jobs during the pandemic and are not able to access income support from the Government. The statement calls for action by Minister Anne Ruston to address this unacceptable situation. You can find the petition at:
World Day of Migrants and Refugees
Pope Francis’ Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2020 (27 September) has been released. His focus for this year is displaced persons. In the message, there is a link to a document from the Vatican’s Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Pastoral Orientations on Displaced People. The full text of the Pope’s message is at:
Social Justice Sunday
Remember that Social Justice Sunday is now the last Sunday in August, 30 August. The theme for this year’s Social Justice Statement is mental health. Further details will be available next month.
After the Pandemic
The Commission’s Chair, Ms Maree Rose, has issued a media release calling for the concerns of people who were facing injustice and hardship before the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic to be a high priority for action as Australia begins to emerge from the worst of the crisis. To read the release, please go to the Commission’s blog:
Queensland Reconstruction
The Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane is one of over 30 partner organisations in the Queensland Community Alliance. After much listening to many people’s stories about the impact of the pandemic, along with much consultation and discussion, the Leaders Council of the Alliance has approved a MaroonPrint for the social and economic reconstruction of our State as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. In the last week, a civil society summit was held to  seek endorsement for the MaroonPrint. The MaroonPrint summarises the vision of what type of Queensland civil society wants to see after the pandemic. It contains some practical principles which the Alliance representing almost 2 million Queenslanders wants to see underpinning the decisions made about reconstruction by our Government. In coming weeks, assemblies will be arranged with both the Leader of the Opposition and the premier to share this MaroonPrint with them and seek their commitment to incorporate this vision and set of principles into the policies they will take to the State election to be held in late October. More news about these assemblies and other activities planned soon. For now, you can read the Alliance MaroonPrint on the Commission’s blog at:
West Papua
You may recall that anti-racism rallies took place across West Papua in August and September 2020. They were in response to racist abuse hurled at West Papuan students living in the Indonesian city of Surabaya by Indonesian extremists. Dozens of people were killed during the demonstrations and dozens of Papuans were also arrested. Some were charged with offences relating to property damage. Others were charged with trason. Seven leading activists were arrested during that time and subsequently flown to East Kalimantan. They were put on trial recently and all seven were convicted and sentenced to terms of under 12 months. Leading human rights organisations such as Amnesty International have condemned the actions of Indonesian authorities as an affront to the right to free and peaceful expression of political views.

The Commission recently received a statement from over 50 Indigenous Papuan priests about the current human rights situation in West Papua. We are currently seeking to obtain a good translation and will share it later. For more on the trial of the seven activists, see:
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