Catholic social teaching helping democracy
The first session of Oceania bishops meeting today was led by a Fijian bishop. He discussed how Catholic social teaching can help emerging democracies in the Pacific. In view of recent Federal budget we have our own challenges in applying Christian principles to politics and finances in Australia too!
Poverty in Pacific Islands Photo: Stefan Lins Source: Creative Commons FLICKR
The second session today discussed responses of bishops and people to consultations for coming Family Synod. Need for new pastoral approaches, a “nuptial catechesis” faithful to the teaching of Christ and the Church and accessible to all, touching hearts and shaping lives, sporting struggling marriages and families. Holy Family of Nazareth, pray for us!
Bishops addressing estrangement between the Gospel of life and love and our increasingly secular culture. Loss of credibility due to clergy abuse crisis and mishandling. Our culture values freedom above all, disconnected from nature, commitments and ethics. A culture of temporary intimacies, variety, no strings attached (or only loosely attached). Challenge of freedom-truth-love connection has been constant theme of last three popes. How are we to draw people into willing self-giving and persevering commitments? Christ our hope!
Kia Ora! Greetings from New Zealand / Aeotora. I am at the Federation of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Oceania in Wellington for the four-yearly meeting of all the bishops of Oceania.
Photo of Aoraki / Mount Cook. SOURCE WIKIPEDIA COMMONS Photo: David Briody
Last night we were given a pōwhiri or ceremonial welcome by the local Maoris. There were many speeches, songs (we sung the Salve Regina and the Pater Noster in reply to the Maori songs). As is the custom, noses were pressed and hands shook, followed by Mass in Sacred Heart Cathedral and then a hākari (feast). There is a very strong sense of the Church of the Pacific amongst us and even the tiniest island nations have their bishop or administrator here.
Today Bishop Eugene Hurley of Darwin led a very moving discussion of Australian refugee policy and off-shore detention centres on Pacific islands. The bishops of places such as Manus Island and Nauru also spoke about the impacts on their communities. There was a strong sense that Australia’s present policy is cruel and that we could do much better. This confirmed the Australian bishops’ statement of last week. As Jesus challenges us in the Gospel of Matthew, When I was a stranger did you welcome me? (Mt 25:35)
I attended an interesting workshop analysing all the evidence about Gen Y and how connected / disconnected they are from the Church. Good discussion of what works in bringing them closer to Christ, his sacraments and his community. St John Paul would be pleased!