The Gospel of Matthew 20, verses 1-16 is one that highlights the importance of work, and describes an optimal environment where people can make a living and be respected for their efforts, said Perth Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton, speaking on the occasion of the Perth launch of the 2017-2018 Social Justice Statement.
“An environment where people are trusted and respected, and are allowed to work for their livelihood, but also to enable them to care for those in their responsibility,” Bishop Sproxton said.
The Justice, Ecology and Development Office (JEDO) last month coordinated the launch of the 2017-2018 Social Justice Statement, Everyone’s Business: Developing an Inclusive and Sustainable Economy on 21 September, the International Day of Peace, in the presence of Archdiocesan agency Directors and staff.
The statement was officially launched by Bishop Sproxton, who is Vicar for Adult Faith Formation and Parish Renewal.
Commencing with a Welcome to Country by local Aboriginal elder Aunty Marie Taylor from the Whadjuk Noongar tribe, the event also saw a number of Archdiocesan Agency Directors including Damian Walsh from The Shopfront, Vicky Burrows from Aboriginal Catholic Ministry (ACM) together with ACM Board member Cheryl Lennox-Bradley and Nigel Hayward from Catholic Earthcare Australia discuss how they respond to the varying needs of those who are vulnerable and marginalised in the community.
JEDO Director Carol Mitchell, said that it was a privilege to launch the 2017-2018 Social Justice Statement from the National Bishops and key agencies such as the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council.
“The 2017-2018 Social Justice Statement has come to us at a critical time when Australia has experienced an uninterrupted economic growth for more than 25 years and yet nearly three million Australians including 730,000 children are living in poverty,” Ms Mitchell said.
“As mentioned in this statement as people of the Gospel, we have to be concerned about growing inequality and especially about the situation about the more vulnerable in our community. As people of faith, we are people of hope and we are also called to be people of action,” she said.
In his opening statement at the launch, Bishop Sproxton said that the statement is a very important statement from the Australian Bishops point of view because it comes from the heart of everything that is happening in the Church of Australia right now.
“Bishop Vincent Long, who is the Chair for the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council and a refugee himself, has a heart for those in the community who are disadvantaged,” Bishop Sproxton said.
“The Bishop (Vincent Long) has written a beautiful introduction to this document which gives us a sense of why many things have been stated within the document and why some of the concerns have been raised,” he said.
“Why they are in fact very important issues for the Church in Australia to be reflecting upon, to be discussing and finding ways of implementing strategies to overcome the disadvantage and plight of those in our community,” Bishop Sproxton said.
“It all springs of course from the teachings of Jesus, and from the practice and experience of the Church right from the beginning.”
Bishop Sproxton also touched upon some of the facts in the document of the five key principles that are central to the development of an inclusive and sustainable economy, namely:
- People and nature are not mere tools of production
- Economic growth alone cannot ensure inclusive and sustainable development
- Social equity must be built into the heart of the economy
- Businesses must benefit all society, not just shareholders
- The excluded and vulnerable must be included in decision-making
Bishop Sproxton concluded his speech by reinforcing that there is much to read and reflect up on within the statement.
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to now launch this document here in Perth,” Bishop Sproxton said.
“I certainly commend it for our reading, study and prayerful thinking and how in our way, in our circumstances can bring about an inclusive and sustainable economy in our country,” he ended.