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Bishop calls for Australia Day focus on forgiveness

As chair of the Bishops' Committee for the Family and for Life, Bishop Eugene Hurley of Port Pirie has asked Australians to focus on the family, and to develop a "lifestyle of forgiveness", during the Australia Day commemoration on 26 January.

The call came on Friday, as a group of Australians prepared to attend the World Meeting of Families in the Philippines.

Bishop Hurley said Australia Day would be celebrated this year at a time of exceptional tension.

"There is deep division over our response to asylum seekers, and on top of the horror of the Bali bombing there are threats of further terrorism and the possibility of a war against Iraq," he said.

"Then there are other challenges, no less urgent: reconciliation with Aborigines, the widening gap between rich and poor, the scourge of unemployment and the plight of those living in rural areas."

Bishop Hurley said the Catholic faith tradition helps to show the way forward for the nation - Christ's message of love lived in the ordinary events of daily life.

"Central to those events is the formation received in family life," he said. "The family is where we first learn to say sorry. It is the continuing training ground for reconciliation.

Bishop Hurley said the Fourth World Meeting of Families being held in Manila on Australia Day would be a huge international gathering of families in a witness of hope for the whole world.

"I will be leading a group of Australians to the World Meeting of Families. I invite you to be joined with us in prayer for the future of the nation and of our families on this occasion," he said.

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference | Bishops Committee For The Family And For Life | Australia Day Parish Kit and flyer
4th World Meeting of Families (22-26 Jan 03)
National Australia Day Council

13 Jan 2003