News

Parishes to Dispose of Throw-Away Culture: Archdiocesan Social Justice Gathering

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
23 May 2016

The Archdiocesan Social Justice Gathering will take place on 4 June 2016

Catholics across the Archdiocese of Sydney have the opportunity to challenge the implications of a throw-away culture and implement some of the latest teachings of Pope Francis' at the upcoming Archdiocesan Social Justice Gathering on Saturday, 4 June 2016. 

With the federal election on the horizon, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has called on Christians to look to the needs of those who are not readily heard amidst the spin, political campaigning and media reports. 

Echoing the call of Pope Francis, the Bishops Conference has released the Statement, "A Vote for the Voiceless" asking Christians to place God in the midst of their deliberations and respond to the challenges of the 'throwaway culture' where, according to Pope Francis "everything is disposable; everyone uses and throws away, takes and breaks, exploits and squeezes to the last drop. Then, goodbye." (Amoris Laetitia, 39). 

The Archdiocesan Social Justice Gathering is a coming together of the Archdiocese to respond to this call.  "We're all called to care for each other, especially for the vulnerable - and as a Catholic community it's vital we respond to the growing challenges of the, modern, consumer-driven culture" says Jacqui Remond, the Director of Catholic Earthcare Australia and a presenter at the upcoming Archdiocesan Social Justice Gathering. 

Jacqui Remond, Director of Catholic Earthcare Australia

The Justice and Peace Office is inviting parishioners of all ages and walks of life to be at the forefront of implementing some of Pope Francis' teaching on caring for creation, taking it into their hearts and allowing it to transform the way we live, work and worship.

"The Papal Encyclical, Laudato Si' calls us all to care for creation, to care for our common home.  This is the antidote to the throw-away culture" says Naomi Englebrecht, Research and Project Officer with the Justice and Peace Office, explaining the theme of the Gathering.

By giving a 'voice to the voiceless' the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference aims to focus our minds on our natural and social environments:  "the land we live on, the air we breathe, the water we drink - even this can become voiceless, so that the earth's cry for justice can go unheard.  Now is the time to act, so that the natural environment is able to meet human needs rather than be sacrificed to the god of the economy.  We need an economy that is truly human, not falsely divinised."

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP tends to the gardens at St Fiacre's Parish, Leichardt, in 2015

Pope Francis, lamenting the impact of the throw-away culture on our society and our natural landscape, asks us to look squarely at our behaviour and calls us to work together to respond to the challenges we face.  In Laudato Si' he quotes the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, which stated back in 2002 "we must examine our lives and acknowledge the ways in which we have harmed God's creation through our actions and our failure to act.  We need to experience a conversion, or a change of heart."

"We can start with the smallest of changes - by exercising our conscience - and we have the capacity to work together on a global scale" says, Naomi, referring to the work of the Global Catholic Climate Movement and the growing momentum of social justice initiatives that are reinvigorating parishes and communities.

"We really need to bring Laudato Si' to life as individuals and parishes" adds Jacqui.   "It's a wonderful opportunity to animate Catholics and help them grow in their faith."

Ultimately, as the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference writes, we all need to "vote in favour of a community where no-one is thrown away, where all the voices are heard and all the faces are seen."

The Archdiocesan Social Justice Gathering is being held at St Columba's Parish Hall in Leichardt North on Saturday, 4 June 2016 from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm, with lunch and refreshments provided. It will feature speakers such as Fr Peter Smith, Promoter of Justice and Peace for the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, Jacqui Remond, Director of Catholic Earthcare Australia, Reece Proudfoot, Manager of Community Organising, World Wildlife Fund Australia and Simon Habel, Program Manager, Catholic Earthcare Australia.

Laudato Si': Caring for our Common Home

The Justice and Peace Office promotes justice, peace, ecology and development through projects and activities based on Catholic Social Teaching.  For further information or to register for the Gathering, visit the Justice and Peace Office website here.

Catholic Bishops of Australia Statement on 2016 election

To read the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Statement "A Vote for the Voiceless" see here

For further information about Catholic Earthcare Australia see here.

To read latest papal encyclical, Laudato Si' see here