Monday 15 December 2008
Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has called on Catholics to turn their backs on consumerist values and to open their eyes to the plight of the poor and oppressed of the world at Christmas.
The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s Social Justice Sunday Statement this year provides Catholics with a good framework within which they could make decisions about how they celebrate Christmas.
“The Bishops told us that the consumerist mentality which is so dominant in our society contributes to on-going unhappiness and dissatisfaction,” Mr Arndt said.
“The Bishops remind us that the Gospel calls us to be aware of the plight of those who are poor and to be active in addressing their situation,” he said.
“They also remind us that our over-consumption of the Earth’s resources will have dreadful consequences for the Earth which God has entrusted to us to care,” he added.
“The birth of Jesus is something which we should celebrate with great joy, but the way we celebrate it should reflect the values of the Reign of God which Jesus proclaimed,” he said.
“As the Bishops told us, the message of Jesus is about being more rather than having more,” he said.
“So, let’s try to focus more on acts of love and justice rather than spending lots on presents and lavish Christmas lunches,” he said.
“Let’s try to remember the poor and oppressed in our own community and around the world, not only with acts of charity, but with a commitment to act for justice,” he said.
“Taking action for justice is an essential part of the proclamation of the Gospel,” he said.
“If we keep it simple in our lives, we may be able to give more generously to those who have little,” he said.
“Our generous support of Church agencies such as the Society of St Vincent de Paul, Caritas Australia and Catholic Mission is an act of love which reflects the love of God which Jesus lived and preached,” he said.
“Living simply may also give us the time to focus on action to address the injustice and oppression faced by many in Australia and around the world,” he said.
“Our advocacy of Government action to address the poverty of those mentioned in the Bishops’ Social Justice Sunday Statement like Indigenous Australians, single parent families, refugees and asylum seekers and homeless people is also a very important expression of God’s love,” he said.
“Our thoughts, prayers and action can also extend to those around the world who live in great poverty and who suffer great oppression in countries like Zimbabwe and Burma,” 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.