Friday 17 October 2008
Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission called on Catholics to pressure political leaders to take action to end poverty in Australia and around the world.
The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, was speaking after leading Archdiocesan staff in pledging a commitment to action on world poverty in the grounds of the Cathedral of St Stephen on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Friday 17 October.
Similar gatherings, involving tens of millions of people, were held in parishes, schools, workplaces and communities around the world between 17 and 19 October to remind world leaders of their commitment to end world poverty and hunger.
“We gathered on the same day as the Prime Minister sat down with the leaders of Australian business to discuss responses to the current global financial crisis,” he said.
“We gathered to say that almost a billion people around the world are hungry and malnourished and that this is as important a crisis which demands urgent and substantial action,” he said.
“We must keep reminding our leaders that they made important promises at the United Nations in 2000 and that they must keep them for the sake of our suffering sisters and brothers,” he said.
Mr Arndt said that Catholics should also be asking our leaders to take concerted and sustained action to address the poverty which over two million Australians face,” he said.
“The Social Justice Sunday Statement of Australia’s Bishops indicates that poverty in Australia is a critical issue which needs sustained action and Catholics should be tirelessly advocating this,” Mr Arndt said.
Mr Arndt is a member of the Queensland Facilitating Committee for Anti-Poverty Week which coincides with the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The Committee helped community groups and agencies around the State to organize events and activities to raise awareness about poverty.
Anti-Poverty Week was launched by the Speaker of the Queensland Parliament, Mike Reynolds, at the Parliamentary Annexe earlier in the week (on Monday 13 October).
“The Bishops told us that much of poverty in Australia is structural which means it is caused by the way society and our economic system are organized,” he said.
“The Bishops urge us to be advocates for change which makes it possible for our fellow Australians to throw off the shackles of poverty and live dignified lives,” he said.
“I encourage Catholics who have not yet read this year’s Social Justice Sunday Statement to get a copy or read it on the internet and use it as a basis for action,” he said.
For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476. NB This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right. The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.