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Social Justice Statement 2016 - 2017


On 6 September 2016, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference launched the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Social Justice Statement for 2016–17, ‘A Place at the Table: Social justice in an ageing society’. The Archdiocese of Melbourne launched the statement on 15 September 2016 at St. Catherine's Villa Maria Catholic Homes in Balwyn (Melbourne Catholic news article).

The number of Australians aged 65 and over will more than double by the middle of the century. This has been rightly described as ‘the great success story of human development’. Increasing numbers of older people have an excellent chance of enjoying good health and an active life for many years.

The Statement celebrates the value, dignity and significant contributions of older people to the life of the community. In solidarity with all generations, older people have a rightful place in the heart of community life. The Bishops confront the utilitarianism in our society that values people only for what they produce and contribute economically and that, at worst, can regard older people as burdensome or dispensable. The Bishops consider the circumstances of those who are approaching the end of their lives and warn of the loneliness, ageism and abuse that older people can experience. In particular, the Bishops warn about implications of the current community debate on euthanasia. The Bishops call for communities of mercy and love – where people reach out and minister to vulnerable older people, where bonds between generations are built up, and where no one is cast as being a burden or as rivals to younger generations.
To download useful resources to help your parish, school and community pray, explore and put the statement into action visit the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council website (

Student Social Justice Day – 29 May 2017 


Thank you to all the schools who participated in Student Day at the Australian Catholic University. Thank you also to Michael Walter from the St. Vincent De Paul Society, who gave a very thought-provoking opening presentation based on his life experiences and the principles of Catholic Social Teaching, and to all the organisations who held workshops. We hope that the students and teachers were inspired and ready to do great social justice works in their schools.

Schools represented:
Emmanuel College
Simonds Catholic College
Antonine College
Mount St Josephs Girls College
St. Joseph's College Geelong
Parade College
Assumption College
MacKillop College
Sacred Heart Kyneton
Presentation College Windsor
Killester College
Aquinas College
Marymede College
Mercy College Camperdown
Sacred Heart Geelong
Santa Maria College
Siena College
St Joseph’s College Ferntree Gully
St Kevin's College
St Monica's College
Sacred Heart Girls College

Organisations represented:
Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Melbourne
The Benenson Society
Caritas Australia
Catholic Care
Catholic Mission
St Vincent de Paul Society
Young Christian Students






Palm Sunday, 9 April 2017
Melbourne Catholic article - 2017 Palm Sunday March 
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Palm Sunday Walk for Refugees and the prayer service. Your support was immense despite the rain and wind. 
Resources for further action, including the Toolkit that was launched at the Prayer Service: CAPSA - Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum
On 13 October 2016, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference released a statement supporting the "Bring Them Here" campaign urging the government to close the offshore detention centres in Nauru and Manus Island and allow asylum seekers to stay in Australia while their claims are being decided upon.
The President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Denis Hart says, "The Australian Catholic Bishops also deplore the detention of our brothers and sisters on Nauru and Manus Island. While recognising the effort of the Government to find a solution, we say that enough is enough. We call on the Government to bring offshore detainees to Australia while awaiting further decisions on their future.

"We endorse the campaign to ‘Bring Them Here’ to Australia. We pledge the help of our Catholic communities and institutions to welcome and support these refugees when they arrive, including Catholic health, education and social services." 


Download copies of Fr Seán McDonagh presentation here:
PowerPoint [18mb]  PDF [31mb]