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Statement challenges racism with 'generous heart'

Today's release of the Australian Bishops' Statment for Social Justice Sunday seeks to foster in Australians a 'generous heart' that can conquer racism.

Chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, Bishop Christopher Saunders, said the statement comes at a time of national and international divisiveness and bitterness, often based on racial and religious differences.

The Statement is being launched in Sydney this morning for Social Justice Sunday on 28 September. It brings a uniquely Australian perspective to what has become an international problem in the two years since the September 11 attacks in the USA.

Bishop Saunders said: "The Statement traces Australia's own story of welcome and exclusion, from the impact of the early white settlers on our first inhabitants to the development of a multicultural nation, but notes the recurrence today of widespread racial hostility and rejection, expressed most clearly in our attitude to prospective refugees and asylum seekers, mostly from the Middle East."

The Statement presents positive advice based on the stories and actions of Jesus Christ. These include meetings with strangers, looking into their faces, and engaging them in conversation. In short the stories reveal "a God who loves all human beings".

Bishop Saunders said he hopes the Statement will encourage individuals and groups in parishes, schools and local communities to respond to the rhetorical question of Pope John Paul II's 2000 World Migration Day message: "How can the baptised claim to welcome Christ if they close the door to the foreigner who comes knocking?"

The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council is encouraging individuals to download the statement from its website, in HTML or PDF format. Printed copies of the booklet are available from the Council with a minimum order of 10. The Council Secretariat is also providing its Challenging Racism 10 step leaflet and prayer card, and the Subverting Racism ecumenical kit.

Australian Catholic Social Justice Council

Australian Catholic Social Justice Council
Social Justice Statement - PDF Download | Printed copy order form (10+ copies)
A Fair Go: A Community Kit for Action Against Racism (PDF)
Statement from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
Subverting Racism: Uniting Church Statement for Social Justice Sunday 2003
National Council of Churches in Australia - Statement on Racism (June 2003)
[Brisbane] Commission Offers Parishes Support on Social Justice

17 Sep 2003