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Jesuits scrutinising honesty crisis in public life

A series of dramatic examples of lapses in honesty over the past year in public life in Australia has led the Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre to focus its annual Lenten Seminar on the question on the question of the effect of such lapses on personal lives and relationships, and the nation's integrity.

The seminars, which begin tomorrow evening in Adelaide, will take place over the next three weeks in the mainland state capital cities and Wollongong in NSW.

"When 43 eminent former public servants sought to keep alive the debate about truth in government they were summarily dismissed as 'doddery daiquiri diplomats'," said Uniya director Sr Patty Fawkner SGS. "The worrying thing is not that the diplomats were marginalised, but that the debate itself was sidelined."

The seminars will feature well-known identities such as refugee rights advocate and author Julian Burnside QC, broadcaster Geraldine Doogue, Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy director William Maley, former 'Redgum' lead singer John Schumann, and Productivity Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald AM.

Sr Fawkner said: "Honesty and truth matter in every aspect of public and personal life, just as dishonesty and lack of transparency matter. We know that the truth can discomfort and disturb us, but experience also affirms Jesus' teaching that the truth will set us free. Honesty is the basis of human community and human solidarity.

"Another aspect of the crisis we currently face is that we are profoundly uncertain as to what is the truth, how we may access it, who is being honest and whom we should trust. There is a profound mistrust that politicians, business executives, church leaders and the media are being honest with us. We need to recover our trust in each other and this will only happen when we individually and as a society learn to cherish honesty again, for its own sake, as something incalculably valuable to our human dignity.

Tomorrow's seminar will take place at 7:30 pm in St Ignatius Parish, Norwood, in Adelaide. On Wednesday, the series will move to Xavier College, Kew, in Melbourne. Full details are available from the Uniya website.

Seminar to ask why Honesty Matters (Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre 8/2/05)

Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre
Australian Jesuits | Honesty Matters Lenten Seminars | Flyer

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21 Feb 2005