In election statement, bishops call for ‘a better kind of politics’
April 26, 2022
Australian Election 2022, Australian bishops
Australia’s Catholic bishops have called for a shakeup that focuses the country’s politics on the common good of all, including – and especially – those who struggle to participate in the community.
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said no one political party fully embodies Catholic social teaching. The bishops are, however, offering an election statement to encourage Catholics and people of good will to reflect on the good they can do for their community by using their vote for the good of all.
Archbishop Coleridge said “we all long for what Pope Francis calls ‘a better kind of politics, one truly at the service of the common good’”.
“This ‘better’ politics pursues the common good of all Australians by recognising the dignity of every individual and the solidarity we all share as a national community,” Archbishop Coleridge said.
“Since the last federal election we have seen the impact and the challenges of a global pandemic, floods, summers of bushfires, wild weather events and a world on edge because of military conflict.
“Foremost in the minds of many will be Australia’s economic recovery from the effects of COVID-19. The societal disruptions from the pandemic have revealed significant levels of poverty and disadvantage within Australia. We need a new social contract that focuses the economy more clearly on the common good.”
The statement highlights several key issues that the bishops have identified and which they encouraged readers to consider when preparing to vote.
Among them is the provision of high-quality palliative care across Australia, “to ensure that no one is pressured into choosing assisted suicide because palliative care is unavailable”.
The statement advocates for vulnerable people in the community, including those in need of aged care, First Nations peoples, asylum-seekers and refugees. It calls for a government committed to the common good that will deliver a medium to long-term plan for eradicating poverty in Australia.
The bishops also say people who have a religious faith should be protected from discrimination, “including the ability to undertake activities and form religious bodies that can pursue their religious mission”.
“This includes commonsense provisions to allow religious schools to preference the hiring of staff who support the school’s ethos,” the statement says.
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Our diocesan logo is theologically rich and very succinct. As a hand, it depicts our mission as a diocese and as individuals within the diocese, of bearing (bringing, carrying) Christ’s love to one another and to the world around us. In this, we are the hand of Jesus Christ, and we are offering ourselves to him so that he might work through us.
We can be the bearers of his love only as a response to his call and in the strength of his grace. We are reminded of this in two ways—through the symbol of the dove (the Holy Spirit) also present in the logo, and by the incorporation of the cross that segments the logo. The presence of the cross is a reminder that bearing the love of Christ will inevitably cost us if we live it authentically. However, in the way that the Cross is the portent of redemption and life—an echo of the tree of life in the book of Genesis—so becoming bearers of the love of Christ will also bring us to life.
The four fingers of the hand also represent the four regions of our diocese. The first is bluerepresenting the beautiful water of the Shoalhaven. The second is a blue and green combination representing the waters and escarpment of the Illawarra. The third is greendepicting the hills and plains of the Macarthur. The fourth is dark green illustrating the forests of the Southern Highlands.