Social Justice Statement says affluenza is 'wasting us away'

The 2005 Social Justice Statement, launched yesterday, decries the nation's culture of waste and busyness, warning that Australians are victims of "the disease of affluence".

CLICK HEREThe Sydney Morning Herald reports that, in the Statement for Social Justice Sunday, the Catholic Bishops argue that levels of consumption have harmed the environment and depleted natural resources, while the pursuit of comfort has served to only increase anxiety levels.

Australians have only to check the freezer or cupboard for food gone bad to realise the country had become a throw-away society, the bishops say. The suggest that we leave electrical appliances on, use petrol for unnecessary trips, and switch on airconditioning at the first sign of discomfort.

Televisions, mobile phones and computers were consigned to the scrapheap when new models offered no improvement to quality of life and their metal parts could be recycled.

A culture of busyness prevents boredom, but denies time for family and friends, they believe.

The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council cited an Australia Institute study that claimed more than $10 billion is spent each year on products and services that no one uses. This figure was probably conservative, the bishops said.

"If Australians were to undergo a health check we could well be diagnosed as suffering from the ravages of the disease of affluence. Some may be more mildly affected than others, but the sickness is pervasive and we are all its victims."

The director of the Edmund Rice Centre, Phil Glendenning, who launched the Statement in Sydney, said public activism is a fundamental tenet of faith.

"We can't build a more just world if we do not challenge existing structures and oppression," he said.

Affluenza is wasting us away (Sydney Morning Herald 15/9/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Australian Catholic Social Justice Council |
Download Statement
The Australia Institute | Affluenza

Social Justice Statement to be launched today (CathNews 14/9/05)
'Church in World' focus for Social Justice Statement (CathNews 16/8/05)
Social Justice Statement launched (CathNews 23/9/04)

2005 Social Justice Sunday Statement of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference: Jesus, Light for the World Living the Gospel Today (Response by Patty Fawkner SGS Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre 14/9/05)
Australia 'suffering disease of affluence' (Catholic Weekly 18/9/05)

15 Sep 2005