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Catholics have been urged to show their support
for those “discarded” in today’s society and to
ensure that marriage continues to be a “lifelong
union of a man and woman” when they cast their
votes in the federal election on July 2.
A statement issued by the Catholic Bishops
of Australia said it was time for voters to see
beyond economic matters and to consider how
they could help “give a voice” to the “thrown-
away” people of society. They included refugees
and asylum seekers, sexual abuse survivors,
those suffering mental illness or addiction, family
violence victims, the elderly, the unborn, the
Indigenous, people entrapped in slavery and
those relying on aid from Australia.
“The economy, of course, is important and there
does need to be sound management, but as
Pope Francis has pointed out, there is also a
danger that the economy can become a kind
of false god to which even humans have to be
sacrificed,” the ACBC said.
“This leads to what the Pope has called
the throwaway culture – a culture of over-
consumption where all kinds of things are thrown
away, wasted, even human beings.”
The Bishops said the voices of these people
would not be heard, nor their faces seen during
the lengthy election campaign as they were
considered “politically irrelevant”.
However, their plight should not be forgotten by
“They will not decide any marginal seat or
determine the result of the election. Yet any
society is ultimately judged not on how well it
manages the economy, but on how well it treats
the thrown-away people.”
The ACBC added that the environment – both
social and natural – was also under threat of
being thrown away.
“At the heart of a healthy social environment
there is marriage and the family. Yet political
decisions can end up undermining marriage
and providing less and less support for families
despite a rhetoric that claims otherwise.
“The fact is that economic decisions have been
less and less favourable to families in recent
years and it may be that political decisions in
the future will undermine further the dignity and
uniqueness of marriage as a lifelong union of man
Reinforcing Pope Francis’ calls for “justice”
for the natural environment, the Bishops said
Australia needed an economy that is “truly
human, not falsely divinised”.
“This does not mean divinising the natural world,
but it does mean treating it with respect and
seeing it as a gift to be received gratefully rather
than as a resource to be plundered at will.”
Meanwhile, the Federation of Catholic School
Parent Communities, together with Catholic
School Parents Australia, has distributed its
election strategy to local school communities.
Council president Monique Russell said the
federation was calling for policies that would
ensure Catholic schools could continue to
provide “excellent, affordable education that
meets the needs of all children”.
“We also want to ensure we have equitable
funding... giving the opportunity for parents to
exercise their choice of a Catholic education from
the early years,” she said.
The National Catholic Education Commission has
also called on parents of school students and
those who value school education to take a “keen
interest” in the election. It said how government
policy supported quality teaching and learning,
and how schools were funded should be a focus
Caritas Australia has also weighed into the
election debate, welcoming the announcement by
the Labor Party that if elected, it would re-instate
the $224 million cut from the official Australian
aid program in the recent federal budget.
The Catholic Church’s international aid and
development agency urged leaders on both sides
of politics to restore Australia’s strong record of
being a “significant contributor” to addressing
global and regional poverty.
Party policies on refugees and asylum seekers
– page 9.
E-resource on the federal election
– pages 20-21.
TOGETHER: More than 2000 students from Southern Vale schools
participated in an outdoor Mass celebrating Catholic Education Week
at Cardijn College oval on May 19. The theme was “Called to Love”
and students were challenged to help someone or do a random
act of kindness. Schools included Antonio Morphett Vale, Emmaus
Woodcroft, St John the Apostle Christies Beach, All Saints Seaford,
Galilee Aldinga, Cardijn College Noarlunga and Marcellin College
Christies Beach. Former Cardijn student Holly Roberts and Cardijn
drama captain Shaun Freeborn began the celebration by asking young
students their thoughts on love. Activities were held in schools around
the State from May 13-20 to celebrate Catholic Education Week.
Photo: Nat Rogers
Vote for the voiceless
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