Kyabram Free Press

Fight for justice is challenge to us all

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ON THE HORIZON

In September every year the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference releases a social justice statement.

The 2021-22 statement launched this year is titled Cry of the earth - Cry of the poor. It draws attention to the ecological crisis we face and the ways in which that crisis disproport­ionately affects the poor of our human community.

The statement is in three principal parts: (1) seeing the ecological crisis through the experience of those most affected by the crisis; (2) how scripture, theology, Catholic social teaching and the wisdom of First Nations people can assist us; and (3) the on-going conversati­on on the care of creation.

As we continue to see the devastatio­n caused across the world by earthquake­s, floods, fire, volcanic eruptions, war and the mass exodus of peoples from their homes, livelihood­s and freedoms, how can we not believe things are not right? Our grandchild­ren now challenge us on how we have cared for the planet, why is this happening, why are animals becoming extinct, why do we pollute the oceans?

The statement reminds us all that it is our Christian duty to care for each other and for creation. As the statement points out: “Scriptures teaches us that we are immersed in a world that continues to reveal the presence of the divine Word.”

Psalm 104 reflects on how the glories of creation lead us to praise the Creator delighting in creation: “O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures … May the glory of the Lord endure for ever; may the Lord rejoice in his works” (Ps 104: 24,31).

We are called to be caretakers (Gen 2:15) rather than exploiters. It is our duty to listen to and learn from our First Nations people.

The third part of the statement invites us all to an ongoing conversati­on and action about our care for creation. Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environmen­t Laudato Si (2015), the care for our common home (there is no planet B), is a great starting tool to begin the conversati­on with our Christian communitie­s.

The statement challenges that “to bring about lasting change, it must also be a ‘community conversion’. We are being called to a new way of thinking, feeling and living.”

Are we up to the challenge? Peace and blessings to all.

Alma Limbrick, pastoral associate, Kyabram Catholic Parish

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