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Refugees and Asylum Seekers

We owe asylum seekers mercy and justice
The Australian Bishops' Social Justice Statement on justice for refugees comes at the right time. The image of the little boy who died in Turkey has stirred effective compassion in Europe for refugees, and has led Australia to increase the number of Syrian refugees it will take. Still the bishops' statement is not likely to receive enthusiastic support, writes Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ for Province Express.  

Churches can host refugees – bishops
Leaders of New Zealand’s Catholic and Anglican churches say their people can look after 1200 refugees on top of the 750 Syrian refugees the Government confirmed it will take over the next two and a half years.  

Pope calls on Europe to shelter refugees
Pope Francis has made an extraordinary appeal to every single Catholic parish and community across Europe, asking each to house at least one of the tens of thousands of refugee families risking death to migrate to the continent from the Middle East.  

Raising a generation for peace in Syria
‘The problem is about fundamentalist thinking, not about Christians or Muslims,’ Fr Ziad says repeatedly, and Muslims suffer as much as Christians at the hands of Islamic State.  

A little brown-eyed babe washed up
The history of our treatment of people seeking asylum has a much longer - and darker - past than most realize, writes Dr Liz Conor for New Matilda.  

Education needed to overcome media superficiality
Last week's image of Aylan Kurdi was emblematic of a range of current social crises: religious and ethnic conflict, discrimination and inequality, terrorism, the plight of migrants and refugees. Western Sydney University Humanities lecturer James Arvanitakis sees education as the key to grappling with them beyond the knee-jerk response to the disturbing images, says Peter Kirkwood for Eureka Street  

A life in Limbo: fleeing torture to be trapped on Manus
It is 766 days since Papua New Guinea agreed to resettle refugees from Australia’s detention centre on Manus Island. So far, not one has been resettled, but 41 have been moved to quasi-detention in a ‘transit centre’. They have no idea if they will leave it, they tell Guardian Australia  


Opening business windows for homeless
Loreto college graduate Sarah Gun has been employing women and young people at risk of homelessness for her Adelaide-based events design and management company for the past three years, reports The Southern Cross.  

Aiding in flood relief efforts
The fury and ferocity of floods becomes more amplified when one sees the situation first hand. The data, descriptions and dashboards of information fail to project the face of people and their experience at the ground level. There is often flooding in Myanmar in the monsoon season but this is some of the worst in decades.  

See also Marines aid in typhoon relief efforts

Pacific bishops climate change concern
Rising sea levels, ocean acidification, and unusual rainfall patterns are harming many of our communities. In some cases, entire regions and nations are under threat from rising sea levels.  

Kiribati: Living in the eye of the climate change storm
Pope Francis recently asked: “What the commandment ‘Thou shall not kill’ means, when ‘20 per cent of the world’s population consumes resources at a rate that robs the poor nations and future generations of what they need to survive, writes Archbishop Dr John Sentamu.  

Making Peace

Charities call for end to Gaza blockade
August 26 marked the anniversary of the ceasefire between the Israeli government and Palestinian armed groups that ended 50 days of conflict. Christian Aid says 19,000 homes were destroyed and 100,000 people made homeless during the fighting. But Israeli restrictions on building materials had caused delays and reconstruction had begun on only 2,000 homes.  

The quieter more dangerous boycott
Three recent divestment cases indicate that even when there are no flashy headlines, maybe especially so, boycott and divestment efforts can have a major impact where it hurts.  

War and profit
The term ‘military-industrial complex’ was coined by a former soldier. As he departed The White House, President Eisenhower warned Americans against the acquisition of unwarranted influence by the military-industrial complex. What would he make of the situation today, where US economic success seems inextricably linked to the continued production of the machinery of war on a scale unimaginable in Eisenhower’s time?  

Dorothy Day wedding justice and the gospel
Sometime soon we will witness the canonization of Dorothy Day. She was not the kind of saint who fits the normal conceptions of piety. A journalist, peace-activist, convert to Christianity, with Peter Maurin, she established the Catholic Worker Movement to combine direct aid to the poor and homeless with nonviolent action on behalf of peace and justice. She served too on the newspaper she founded, Catholic Worker, from 1933 until her death.  

Laudato Si’ a revolutionary document
Pope Francis’ encyclical offers a prophetic message – bold and direct, says Joseph Camilleri OAM. It is able to synthesise spirituality, science, ecology and society. It is a transformative document because it represents a seismic shift in mainstream Christian thought about humanity’s nature with science and nature. Watch here  


Prayer for our earth
…from Laudato Si’  

Book launch: The Intervention: an Anthology
 ‘concerned Australians' and Arena Magazine and Journal warmly invite you to the Melbourne book launch
Hon Alastair Nicholson AO RFD QC with two of the writers, Nicole Watson of the Birri-Gubba People and Yugambeh language group and Arnold Zable, one of Australia's most loved storytellers
Date: Thursday September 24 2015
Time: 11.30am – 1pm
Venue: Arena Publications, 2 Kerr St, Fitzroy 3065
RSVP: September 18 to Pia at or 0419541733

Pope Francis and prophetic voices: reshaping the public sphere
St Michael's Uniting Church 120 Collins Street Melbourne
Youth forum Wednesday 16 September 9am-5pm Public forum Thursday 17 September 7:30-10pm
$125 for the Thursday and Friday conference plus the forum on Thursday evening
Additional information on the program and registration.
Or go to Facebook at #ReshapingthePublicSphere.
Additional resources. Contact | +61-2-9701-4176.
Speakers include Fr Frank Brennan sj AO, Dr Rachael Kohn, Professor Patrick Dodson, Fr Jerry Rosario sj (India), Dr Jenny Te Paa Daniel (New Zealand).

US video series on Catholic Social Teaching launches with 'Care For God's Creation'
A video on 'Care for God's Creation' is the first of a seven-part series on Catholic Social Teaching, designed to be an introduction to this body of thought with notable Catholics reflecting on each of the teachings. The video release comes in conjunction with Pope Francis' declaration of September 1 as a day of prayer for creation.  

Jesuit doco highlights Honduran injustice
A new documentary that explores violence and injustice in Honduras from the perspective of journalists at a Jesuit-run radio station was released late last month, coinciding with the 35th anniversary of Archbishop Oscar Romero's murder in neighbouring El Salvador.  

A smarter, more humane approach to crime that saves lives and builds safer communities.
Australia’s First Peoples are dramatically over-represented in prison statistics. ANTaR is campaigning to change this unacceptable situation and to end Aboriginal deaths in custody. Join us!  

Getting to know Catholic Social Teaching
For many years people have said that Catholic Social Teaching is our best kept secret, but I don’t think this is true anymore, writes Sandie Cornish.  



Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

Major International Catholic Social Teaching Documents

Key Principles

Human Dignity
Each person, made in the image and likeness of God, has an inalienable and transcendent human dignity which gives rise to human rights.

The Common Good
We are called to work for conditions which ensure that every person and group in society is able to meet their needs and realize their potential.

The people or groups most directly affected by a decision or policy should have a key decision making role.

We can only grow and achieve our potential in relationship with others. Solidarity encourages us to commit ourselves to the common good.