12. Jul, 2018

Social Justice Sunday 30th September 2018

Everybody’s Business: Developing an inclusive and sustainable economy

Pope Francis has called for an economic system that places men and women at the very centre – one that meets the needs of all people and is just and sustainable. He denounces economic structures that take a purely utilitarian view of human beings, treating them as mere elements of production, to be thrown away if they are not seen as useful or productive.

The Australian Catholic Bishops’ Social Justice Statement for 2017–18 is titled ‘Everyone’s Business: Developing an inclusive and sustainable economy’. The Bishops call for an economy that is founded on justice and offers dignity and inclusion to every person.

The Bishops’ Statement is built around the Gospel for Social Justice Sunday, 24 September 2017. Jesus tells the parable of the workers in the vineyard, where all are active contributors and are recognised for their human dignity.

Australia has experienced a quarter of a century of continuous economic growth, but the benefits of this good fortune have not been distributed equally. In our workplaces, conditions and security of employment have been eroded, while those who are unemployed subsist on incomes well below poverty levels. Australia is experiencing a housing crisis. And our Indigenous brothers and sisters struggle with economic and social burdens that most Australians cannot imagine.

In the light of these challenges, the Statement calls us to build an economy founded on true solidarity with those who are most vulnerable. Such a society will reject an ‘ideology of the market’ that forgets the principles of justice and equity. Justice must be built into the very foundations of our community, and business can work for everybody’s benefit, not just for shareholders. The excluded and vulnerable must have a voice in decision-making. God is calling us to use his bounty wisely, for the good of all and of our planet.

For further details about the Social Justice Statement, visit the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council website (www.socialjustice.catholic.org.au) or call (02) 8306 3499.

Associated resources The ACSJC website (www.socialjustice.catholic.org.au/publications/social-justice-statements) will have resources available for download free of charge before Social Justice Sunday. They will include Social Justice Sunday Liturgy Notes, a PowerPoint presentation and resources for schools and social justice groups. Prayer Cards and ‘Ten Steps’ leaflets can be ordered from the ACSJC on (02) 8306 3499 or by email: admin@acsjc.org.au.

Dear Friends,

Re: Social Justice Statement 2018–2019

A Place to Call Home: Making a home for everyone in our land

Social Justice Sunday will be celebrated this year on 30 September. I am writing to inform you about the Catholic Bishops’ Social Justice Statement and how you can access it.

The 2018–2019 Statement, titled A Place to Call Home: Making a home for everyone in our land, is a response to the growing problem of homelessness in Australia. It seems hard to believe that in a rich nation such as ours, the latest Census figures show that the number of Australians who are homeless has grown to more than 116,000. House prices and even rents are spiralling out of reach of too many families and placing huge financial stress on ordinary people, even when they are employed. For those living on pensions or allowances, finding secure housing can be a far greater challenge – one that often takes a terrible toll on social wellbeing and mental health.

The Scriptural basis of this year’s Statement is Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30–35), about the outsider who stops to help a man in desperate need, takes him to safety and pays for his care.

The Statement examines the extent of Australia’s homelessness and housing crisis. It emphasises that secure housing is a human right and an uncontestable public good, affirmed by both Catholic teaching and the Declaration of Human Rights. In concluding, it issues a challenge to government, to Church and community and to us as individuals to bring about change and reform.

The Statement will be launched during September. Copies of it can be ordered now from the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council by using the attached order form. Additionally, the Statement will be available for download on the websites of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (www.catholic.org.au) and the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council (www.socialjustice.catholic.org.au) from the week of the launch. In the attached summary sheet there is a suggested notice that can be used by parishes, schools and groups as Social Justice Sunday approaches.

I commend this Statement to you and your contacts and would invite you to promote it as widely as possible.

Yours sincerely in Christ,

Archbishop Mark Coleridge President