Category Archives: Global Citizens

Solidarity with South Sudan

Map of Southern SudanThe Sudanese Bishops at their last meeting in Jubathis May have outlined a program and prayer in the lead-up to becoming the world’s newest nation on July 9th.

The campaign is launched on Saturday May 28th with Eucharistic processions. The next day Sunday 29th becomes a Day of Reconciliation as described

“Preaching on reconciliation at all levels social, political and religious. Reconciliation among tribes – mending differences through traditional and religious reconciliation rituals and symbols”.

 On Pentecost Day there will be blessing and planting of trees as symbols of new birth. Dioceses, families, institutions, school, and parishes will be encouraged to plant a tree.

Some trees will produce medicine, a sign of healing from trauma and war. Other trees will give fruit as signs of hope and promise.

On June 29th a novena will focus on the principles of Catholic Social Teaching.

Please join them in your prayer. There have been some violent incidents in the border areas over the past 5 months. They pray for peace, courage and hope.

Parishes, schools, agencies and households are invited to pray for them in their times of prayer and in their Eucharistic prayers of the faithful.  The set prayer below may be helpful for those wishing to incorporate prayer for Sudan into their times of prayer.

Prayer for the Republic of South Sudan

God of Mercies, we thank you for your great love for us.

We ask you to guide our leaders in the process of nation building.

Grant them wisdom, compassion and fortitude.

Loving God, give us courage to reject ethnic resentment

as well as ethnic conflicts.

Through the intercession of St. Josephine Bakhita, help us

to overcome hurt, hostility and bitterness in our hearts

so that we become reconciled citizens in our new nation.

Renew in us the will for honest and hard work,

and bring us closer to you in the spirit of service,

unity and lasting peace.

Lord, we pray for our heroes, our martyrs and all innocent people

who died during the long years of war.

 We pray in thanksgiving for all those who stood by us

in solidarity to bring about peace.

 Unite us from every tribe, tongue and people.

Send your Holy Spirit upon us and may your will be done in us.

 God bless our new nation;

Bless theRepublic of South Sudan.

In Jesus’ name, Amen!

West Papua Solidarity

The West Papua Solidarity Group Brisbane will hold a gathering  on Thursday 12 May at which it will screen the award-winning film Strange Birds in Paradise.

We also expect to have a guest speaker, Rosa Moiwend, a researcher for the Justice & Peace Office in Jayapura, West Papua.  Rosa will speak on the implications for tribal groups of MIFEE, the proposed large scale food security estate to be established in West Papua.

The event will take place at the BCC Brisbane Square Library community meeting room.  Refreshments will be served from 5.30 p.m.  The talk will start at 6.15 p.m. and the film will be shown from 7.15 p.m.

All are welcome.  Entry is free, but donations to cover costs and assist our campaign work would be greatly appreciated.

Please RSVP to  Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476..

Commission Continues Good Friday Death Penalty Vigil

Monday 11 April 2011

For the fourth year, Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission will hold a Good Friday prayer vigil for those on death row at Christ the King Catholic Church, Churchill Street, Graceville.

The vigil, which will be held at noon, will be an opportunity for Christians to offer prayer support for all those facing execution around the world, for their families and for all victims of crime.

While prayers will be offered for all on death row around the world, special focus will be given to the three Australians on death row in Bali, Andrew Chan, Myuran Sukumaran and Scott Rush, whose family is a part of the parish where the vigil will be held.

Prayers will also be offered for the Nigerian man, Titus Ani, who shares a cell with the Australians and for whom the Corinda-Graceville Parish provides special support.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that the three Australians in Bali have been waiting for a long time for the outcome of their final appeals to the Indonesian Supreme Court.

“All three men lodged their appeals soon after the middle of last year and there is still no word on a decision,” Mr Arndt said.

“This is a very difficult time for these men who are detained in overcrowded conditions in Bali,” he said.

“It is also a time of immense anguish and pain for their parents and families,” he said.

“As we remember Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross, we remember all those who suffer in our world today,” he said.

“God’s love brought to birth new life out of Jesus’ death,” he said.

“We pray in great hope that God’s love will also end the pain and suffering of those on death row and of all those who love them,” he said.

All are welcome to join the vigil.

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 Mandate 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.

Commission Promotes Action to Cut Military Spending

Friday 8 April 2011

Commission Promotes Action to Cut Military Spending

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has encouraged Catholics to participate in action to challenge the growth of military expenditure in Australia and the world.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that the continuing growth of spending on arms and sophisticated weapons systems is a threat to peace.

“Pope Benedict has pointed out on several occasions that growing investment in arms comes at the expense of desperately needed action on human development,” Mr Arndt said.

“While billions of dollars are spent on weapons, millions of people around the world are deprived of investment in programs which will end their poverty and disadvantage,” he said.

“Over 1500 billion dollars is spent every year on weapons of war worldwide while millions of children go hungry or die before they turn five,” he said.

Church teaching clearly reminds us that the promotion of peace is an integral part of our mission to continue Christ’s work of redemption and liberation in the world,” he said.

The Justice and Peace Commission has endorsed activities in Brisbane as part of a Global Day of Action on Military Spending on Tuesday 12 April.

Various peace groups will gather in King George Square on the day to make a public appeal for a reduction in Australia’s military spending.

Citizens will also be asked to write letters to the Defence Minister, Stephen Smith, calling for reduced military expenditure.

The Commission has also produced an information sheeet which provides some facts and figures about military spending, references to scripture and Church teaching and suggestions for action.

“The Church’s social teaching promotes ‘the goal of general, balanced and controlled disarmament’” Mr Arndt said.

“We must remind our leaders that the rapid growth in arms expenditure is a grave threat to peace in our world and encourage them to take action to cultivate peace and human development instead,” 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 Mandate 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.

Lenten Call for Ecological Conversion

Monday 14 March 2011

 

Brisbane in Flood 2011 Tony Robertson

Brisbane in Flood 2011 Tony Robertson

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has urged Catholics to be open to the possibility of ecological conversion during Lent.

Pope John Paul II called for an “ecological conversion” in 1990 when he reflected on the significant environmental challenges facing the world today

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that Pope Benedict has continued to call for Christians to respond to the environmental challenges threatening the world, especially climate change.

 

Lent is a time of repentance and it is a good time for us Christians to reflect on how we and our lifestyles have contributed to the ecological damage and threats the world faces today,” Mr Arndt said.p>

 

“As we make more time to pray and reflect on scripture, we can take the opportunity to consider to what extent we are wedded to the consumerist culture which dominates our society and contributes significantly to the ecological damage our earth has suffered,” he said.

 

“Our fasting, too, can take many forms,” he said.

 

“Not only can we give up some food during Lent, but we could also consider giving up some of the practices which release carbon into the atmosphere,” he said.

 

“Consciously reducing some of the activities and practices which use electricity or petrol can help us to find a path to spiritual renewal which embraces care for the earth,” he said.

 

“Lent can be an important opportunity for us to draw closer to God who created the world and to our sisters and brothers who are already facing the consequences of dangerous climate change,” he said.

 

“God is constantly inviting us to draw closer to our neighbours including Pacific Islanders whose homes are being threatened by rising sea levels and to support them in their time of need,” he said.

 

“Embracing the challenge to care for the earth certainly means changing the way we live,” he said.

 

“It also requires us to be prophets who challenge the dominant consumerist culture in our society and the political, business and community leaders who maintain it,” he said.

 

“If we care for the earth and our brothers and sisters in every part of it, we must not only change our own behaviour, but also challenge our leaders to change their behaviour too,” he said.

 

“In the face of the serious threat posed by dangerous climate change, we cannot stay silent while our political and business leaders engage in political games which do not have the best interests of the earth and its people in mind,” he said.

 

“Let’s turn away from our own destructive behaviours and have the courage to also call on our society to turn away from approaches which threaten our world with even greater damage,” 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 Mandate 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. 

Politicians Must Stop Using Asylum Seekers as Political Football

Media Release

Monday 21 February 2011

 Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has called on both the Government and the Opposition to stop using asylum seekers as political footballs.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that the behaviour of both sides of politics last week over the handling of asylum seekers attending funerals of family members was deplorable and insensitive.

“Both sides of politics are clearly shaping their decisions and comments to pander to mean-spirited attitudes towards asylum seekers within the community,” Mr Arndt said.

“It is high time that all our politicians gave leadership on this issue rather than giving in to the callous, negative attitudes of some in the community,” he said.

 “Raising questions about the Government flying twenty-two asylum seekers from Christmas Island to Sydney to attend the funerals of family members on the very day of the funerals is heartless and insensitive,” he said.

“Sending nine year old Iranian orphan, Seena, back to Christmas Island instead of to family in Sydney is an equally deplorable act,” he said.

“These actions seem to have no regard or respect for the Christmas Island asylum seekers as human beings who have gone through immense trauma,” he said.

“They seem to be no more than tools to score points or get a cheap headline,” he said.

“Seena and all the other asylum seekers on Christmas Island and elsewhere in Australia deserve not only compassion, but justice,” he said.

 “All human beings, especially those who have experienced great trauma, deserve to be treated with dignity and respect as a matter of justice,” he said.

“We should not be locking up traumatised people in overcrowded facilities in remote, isolated locations with inadequate support services for long periods, as the recent Ombudsman’s report says,” he said.

 “Australia should not have a thousand children like Seena in detention if it has any sense of decency and justice,” he said.

 “Our political leaders should know better,” he said.

 “How can they speak with any authority when they criticise other countries for abusing human rights if they do not respect human rights in the way they treat asylum seekers in our own country?” he said.

 “We as Christians should be making it clear to our politicians that we want them to treat asylum seekers with compassion and justice,” he said.

“We have a responsibility to speak up for our sisters and brothers in need,” he said.

 “We should all be making it clear to our leaders and our MPs that we will not tolerate the political games we have seen over the past week,” 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 Mandate 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.

Support our Letter Writing Campaign for the Release of Political Prisoners in West Papua

The Brisbane  Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has recently written to Prime Minister Gillard asking her what her Government is doing to pressure the Indonesian Government to release political prisoners in West Papua and to stop violent military repression of peaceful political activists.

You can download a copy of the letter here or use the text below as a guide for your letter to the PM. You might like to us the comment box for this item to add your voice of concern and share your response to this campaign.

Contact Details for Prime Minister Gillard

 

An Appeal to the Prime Minister for Human Rights in West Papua

The Hon Julia Gillard MP

The Prime Minister

Parliament House

CANBERRA  ACT  2600

Date: …………

Dear Ms Gillard

Last November, you welcomed the release of Aung San Suu Kyi by the Burmese regime after a long period of detention. At the same time, you called for the Burmese leaders to release other political prisoners and to take other actions to promote democracy and peace.  Your comments were appropriate and welcome.

I am writing to urge you to adopt the same strong position with Indonesian authorities in relation to those Papuan political activists who have been jailed for expressing their political views peacefully.  Activists such as Filep Karma, should not be in jail for raising a flag or participating in a peaceful protest.

Your Government’s concerns about revelations of torture of a Papuan man by members of the Indonesian military are also very welcome.  There is much reliable evidence to suggest that this is not an isolated incident.  The brutal repression of Papuans is commonplace and long-running.  This appalling state of affairs is compounded by the failure to provide adequate social and economic opportunities to most indigenous Papuans.

You would be aware that special autonomy for West Papua has not operated effectively and has failed to overcome these serious problems.  You would also be aware that there is growing dissatisfaction among Papuans with this state of affairs.

Violent repression in West Papua must end.  While I am not campaigning for West Papuan independence, I passionately advocate that the political, civil, social and economic rights of the people of West Papua must be respected and promoted by Australia.  In line with your call for human rights and democracy in Burma, I urge you to also encourage the Indonesian Government to take swift and effective steps to end the abuse of military power in West Papua and to rectify the unsatisfactory political, economic and social situation in the province.

Please advise me what steps your Government is taking to secure the release of political prisoners in West Papua, to end the violent repression of Papuans and to bring about political arrangements which will ensure that they can exercise democratic freedom and live in dignity.

Yours sincerely

Signature: …………………………………………………

Name: ………………………………………………….

Address: ……………………………………………….


Commission Calls for Consistent Australian Position on Human Rights

Monday 22 November 2010

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has urged the Prime Minister to adopt a consistent approach to promoting human rights and democracy in the Asia/Pacific region.

The Commission’s call comes in response to Prime Minister Gillard’s comments on the release of Burmese political leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that Australia should seek to apply the same human rights standards to all its neighbours including Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

“The Prime Minister welcomed the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, but called on Burma’s authorities to release other political prisoners and work towards free and fair elections and political reconciliation,” Mr Arndt said.

“We support those calls as they are consistent with a respect for the human rights of the people of Burma,” he said.

“However, we are concerned that Australia is not as strong an advocate of these values when it comes to other countries in the region,” he said.

“Why isn’t the Prime Minister publicly calling on Indonesia to release people in West Papua who have been jailed for flying flags and peacefully protesting?” he said.

“Why is there no decisive intervention to put an end to the brutal repression of Papuans who are not happy with the way they have been treated since Indonesia took control of the province in the 1960s?” he said.

“It seems to us that the Australian Government is equally reluctant to challenge the Sri Lankan Government’s treatment of the Tamil minority and its political opponents,” he said.

“There are long-standing concerns, both from inside and outside Sri Lanka, about the Government’s level of respect for human rights and democracy, but Australia seems more concerned with maintaining the on-going cooperation of the Sri Lankan Government in relation to stopping boat people coming to Australia,” he said.

“The legitimate concerns of indigenous West Papuans and Tamils should not be ignored if we are genuinely committed to human rights,” he said.

“People who are locked up or mistreated because of their political views in Sri Lanka or West Papua deserve the same strong advocacy as is being given to Aung San Suu Kyi and the Burmese people,” he said.

“At the same time, we should always be looking at our own human rights record and seek to address those issues where we have failed to respect the dignity of vulnerable people in our own land,” he said.

Mr Arndt said the Commission would continue to speak to the Government and local MPs and Senators about the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, West Papua and in our region.

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 Mandate 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.

Commission Welcomes Increased Protection for Queensland Clothing Outworkers

Media Release

Thursday 21 October 2010

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has welcomed the Queensland Government’s introduction of a mandatory code of practice for the protection of clothing outworkers.

The Commission has been involved in lobbying for the introduction of this code for the last two years.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that the new code would help to protect the rights of vulnerable clothing outworkers and also support employers who treat their workers fairly.

“We have been very concerned for some years about the plight of some women who work at home to make clothing for unscrupulous employers,” Mr Arndt said.

“Many of these outworkers are being paid very low rates for their work and do not enjoy the protections and conditions that other clothing workers have,” he said.

“This new mandatory code provides them better protection by ensuring that employers who are exploiting outworkers can be identified and prosecuted,” he said.

“Employers who are doing the right thing and providing fair pay and conditions for their workers will also benefit because they will not have their clothing prices undercut by those who underpay their workers,” he said.

“The code will come into effect on 1 January next year and brings Queensland into line with New South Wales and South Australia where a mandatory code has been in force for some years,” he said.

“The only disappointment we have is that the Government has taken so long to complete its consultation process and introduce the code,” he said.

“We are very grateful to the Textile Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia and FairWear, a community organisation which promotes the rights of outworkers, for their tireless advocacy of this code,” he said.

“It has been wonderful to collaborate with organisations with such great expertise and a passion for justice for vulnerable workers,” he said.

“The Catholic Church has advocated the rights of workers as part of its social teaching for many years,” he said.

“Indeed, Pope Leo XIII’s 1891 social encyclical, Rerum Novarum, gave the highest priority to providing decent pay and conditions to vulnerable workers,” he said.

“There is no human dignity for women who are being underpaid for their work and who work under poor conditions,” he said.

“Our participation in efforts to get this better protection for outworkers is in line with the Gospel commitment to the fundamental dignity of every human being,” he said.

 

The Commission will collaborate with other organisations to monitor the introduction of the code and to continue promoting better protection for vulnerable workers.

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 Mandate which enables it to speak in its own right when required.  The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Commission to Support Parish Responses to Statement on Violence

Social Justice Sunday 2010

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission will seek to help parishes to respond to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s 2010 Social Justice Sunday Statement, Violence in Australia: A Message of Peace.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that the violence which is becoming so common in communities across the country needs to be challenged with Christ’s radical message of peace.

“The Bishops’ Statement encourages us as Christians to focus on the many forms of violence in contemporary Australia, to understand the causes and to take action in the spirit of Jesus’ teaching,” Mr Arndt said.

“The Bishops’ Statement presents us with a whole series of questions to help us to consider how we might become messengers of peace in our families, our communities, our nation and our world,” he said.

Mr Arndt is currently holding meetings in the deaneries of the Archdiocese to help Catholics to explore the issues and insights contained in the Statement and to provide information on what resources are available to promote and use the Statement.

The Justice and Peace Commission is also currently discussing possible collaboration with the Franciscan organisation, Pace e Bene, in order to offer Catholics concrete opportunities to develop skills for living nonviolently.

“We are aware of the many faces of violence in Australia from bullying in schools, violent video games, domestic violence and road rage to the so-called structural violence of poverty and racism,” Mr Arndt said.

“The Bishops ask us to do more than shake our heads at the growing presence of violence in our country and to take up the challenge to be active in making peace in our hearts, our homes, our communities and our nation,” 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 Mandate which enables it to speak in its own right when required.  The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

2010 Social Justice Statement: Sample Editorial for Parish Use

2010 Social Justice Statement Summary

2010 Social Justice Sunday  Powerpoint Slide

2010 Social Justice Statement OHT