The Uluru Statement from the Heart and Voice to Parliament Statement
There continues to be significant comment in the media and in the community generally about the Uluru Statement from the Heart and now the forthcoming referendum on constitutional changes to establish a Voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We acknowledge and respect a diversity of views and that people of goodwill may come to different conclusions.
Catholic Mission stands in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and is always willing to support initiatives that promote their spiritual, material and social well-being. We are proud of our partnership with the National Catholic and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council and the initiative currently being piloted to establish the stable ministry of catechist among local communities.
In 1986, Pope St John Paul II in Alice Springs shared:
… the Church herself in Australia will not be fully the Church that Jesus wants her to be until you have made your contribution to her life and until that contribution has been joyfully received by others.
In 2016 commemorating the 30th anniversary of the visit of Pope St John Paul II to Alice Springs, Pope Francis shared:
This anniversary affords me the happy opportunity to express my deep esteem for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and for your ancient cultural heritage. Uniting my voice to that of Saint John Paul II, I encourage you in his words: "Your culture, which shows the lasting genius and dignity of your race, must not be allowed to disappear. Do not think that your gifts are worth so little that you should no longer bother to maintain them. Share them with each other and teach them to your children. Your songs, your stories, your paintings, your dances, your languages, must never be lost." For when you share the noble traditions of your community, you also witness to the power of the Gospel to perfect and purify every society, and in this way God's holy will is accomplished.
Catholic Mission invites all its supporters and all Australians to approach the referendum with an openness to what a spirit of justice, compassion, reconciliation and goodwill is asking of us all at this time. It is a challenge to stand apart from the adversarial rhetoric and resist the pull of those who look for political advantage. By journeying together in a spirit of solidarity, we can create a more just and enriched society for all.
A conscientious approach to the referendum will involve a discernment of what will best promote the flourishing of Indigenous culture and the well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities.