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Brisbane Catholics urged to boycott shops on Boxing Day

Brisbane's Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has welcomed the Queensland Government's decision to prevent major retail outlets in many parts of South-East Queensland from trading on Boxing Day.

The Commission's Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, has urged Catholics to avoid shopping in tourist centres where retailers will be allowed to trade on the days.

He said that the Commission opposes extended trading hours because of their affect on shop workers and their families and is encouraging Catholics to challenge the values being promoted in Western consumer societies.

"The Boxing Day closure enables many retail employees to enjoy Christmas celebrations with their families and friends and this is much more important than giving people more time to shop and consume more and more," Mr Arndt said.

"But we should also remember that Christmas is an important time for us to show our solidarity with the millions who live in abject poverty around the world," he said.

"The Pope has been a strong critic of the values of the Western consumer society and has encouraged Christians to oppose these values by living simple and modest lives for the sake of the millions of people around the world who live in great poverty," he said.

"The recently released UNICEF State of the World's Children Report for 2004 says that over a billion children do not have the food, shelter and other basic needs to survive with any dignity," he said.

"How can we keep accumulating more and more and feasting lavishly while so many children suffer so much?" he said.

"The Gospel is about putting the highest priority on the human person and the light of Christ will shine through us this Christmas if we consciously reject the pressure to spend exorbitantly and to celebrate with lavish feasts," he said.

"It would be a good thing if we all said 'no' to shopping this Boxing Day and for every Sunday in the coming year as a sign of our commitment to upholding human dignity over materialism," he said.

Mr Arndt said that moves to extend trading hours to the rest of Queensland outside the south-east corner should also be opposed.

Catholics Urged to Boycott Shops on Boxing Day (Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Archdiocese of Brisbane 13/12/04)

Christmas Cheer for Shop Workers, Families (Queensland Government Employment, Traing & Industrial Relations Minister 9/11/04)
Pope John Paul II: Solicitudo Rei Socialis, On Social Concern (1987)
UNICEF State of the World's Children Report for 2004

Melbourne archbishop spots loophole in trading hours legislation (CathNews 14/11/03)
Melbourne Archbishop opposes Victorian trading reforms (7/11/03)
Adelaide Church calls for restraint on Easter trading hours (4/3/03)
[Hobart] Archbishop opposes extended shop trading hours (25/3/02)

14 Dec 2004