Bishops chide intolerant kiwis
New Zealand's Catholic Bishops have said that events of the past year, including attacks on Jewish cemeteries, explode the myth that New Zealanders are universally fair and tolerant.
"As New Zealanders we like to think of ourselves as a fair and tolerant people," said the Bishops in a statement for next week's Social Justice Week, titled Celebrating Cultural Diversity. "Sadly, events of the past year have shown that this is not always true."
Aside from attacks on Jewish cemeteries, they cited calls for uniformity and other incidents of intolerance that they believe "indicate that [New Zealanders] do not fully value the different cultures and traditions in our society."
"'A fair go' is not always universally applied," they said.
"At a personal level we need the courage to move beyond the comfort zone of our own culture, to put aside a natural shyness in order to engage with others who were raised in different places and in different ways," they said.
The Bishops suggested that, in parishes, New Zealanders "must continue the excellent work done by so many parish committees in creating liturgies and ministries which are culturally inclusive".
"Familiarity with cultures other than our own in the parish setting will help us to show the way to racial harmony in the wider community and in our workplaces."
They supported, but did not prescribe, political activism.
"Some may feel called to political action in response to racial disharmony, many will not. However we are all called to be agents of peace and justice - the leaven in the bread - through our appreciation of cultural diversity and work for racial harmony among the people we mix with every day."
New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference: Celebrating Cultural Diversity (Catholic Communications 8/9/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Church in New Zealand
Centre for Multicultural Pastoral Care, Archdiocese of Brisbane
Auckland Bishop's solidarity with local Muslims (CathNews 13/7/05)
'Multicultural' Refugee Sunday message goes against the tide (CathNews 25/8/05)
Three in one (The Tablet 10/9/05)
Dublin diocese appoints priest to look after 'new' Irish (catholicireland.net 8/9/05)
9 Sep 2005