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‘Be brave’ seeking justice

National

Catholic and community leaders have been urged to build a world “reflective of Jesus’ love” where the needs of the poor, freedom of the weak and access of marginalised groups are priorities.

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Addressing the national conference of Catholic Social Services last month, keynote speaker Phil Glendenning AM said instead of hoping for change, people should work and live in expectation that “change is going to happen”, and the part they have to play in it.

“Now is not the time for putting the wagons in a circle,” he told the more than 200 attendees, referring to the future of the Church in Australia following the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse.

“We need a peoples’ movement in the Church, including significant lay leadership in partnership of course with bishops, clergy, religious and people of good will. All in. We will need to be brave in our pursuit of justice in words and deeds as we seek justice for those who have been hurt by the Church and those in our community who have been left behind by poor government policy or through an economy that fails to value them as people.

“We seek to build a world reflective of Jesus’ love where the needs of the poor take priority over the wants of the rich; the freedom of the weak takes priority over the liberty of the powerful; and where the access of marginalised groups in society takes priority over an order which excludes them,” he said.

As director of the Edmund Rice Centre and president of the Refugee Council of Australia, Mr Glendenning spoke of the failure of governments to listen to Indigenous Australians, citing the recent rejection of the Uluru Statement from the Heart as another example.

 

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