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The Death Penalty

Every death row prisoner has a story
What struck me, as I kept watch from overseas, were the ways in which we Australians came to better understand Andrew and Myuran as people with families and friends, writes Brian McCoy SJ in Province Express.  

See also The death penalty

Death penalty under review in PNG after Indonesia fallout
The Pacific island nation revived capital punishment two years ago to reduce rampant crime, prompted in part by the burning alive of a 20-year-old woman by a crowd for sorcery.  

See also Show death penalty the door

Indigenous Australia

In search of the good life: a black perspective
Aboriginal aspirations rarely accord with government policy, and that's particularly the case with the Kuninjku, writes Professor Jon Altman for New Matilda.  

See also Lifestyle choice? the land is part of us
In this documentary shot several years ago, Yolngu people of northeast Arnhem Land explain why they live where they do.

Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Changing Australia’s Mind About Asylum Seekers
Here is a matter of fact: 13 years ago in Maribyrnong Detention Centre, an 11-year-old girl hanged herself with her bedsheet. Her family found her and cut down her strangling body, and she was taken to Austin Hospital in Melbourne, where she remained as a psychiatric inpatient for 12 months. When she was well enough to be discharged, she was taken back into detention, writes Julian Burnside.  

See also Protesting against fear and the need to keep marching

Nearly 2000 boat people rescued off Indonesia
The spate of arrivals comes as Thailand, their usual destination, cracks down following the discovery of mass graves that has laid bare the extent of a thriving human-smuggling ring in Southeast Asia.  

EU leaders the bad guys in migration debate
European leaders gathered for an extraordinary summit on migration across the Mediterranean sea from Africa ... What was needed was a genuine, EU-wide commitment to save lives at sea, create safe and legal migration channels, and share responsibilities for protecting people fleeing war and persecution in their home countries. What was delivered instead was a set of policy proposals driven by a desire to prevent migrants and asylum seekers from ever reaching EU shores.  


Climate change: the big myths that need to be exploded
Asking whether a specific event is down to climate change is really tricky, but you can look at whether that type of event is more likely," says Professor Adam Scaife. "It’s all about the risk of certain events changing. You can say that a specific type of event is more likely.  


Nepal: meeting the needs
Thousands have perished in the devastating earthquake in Nepal on April 25. As the world rightly reaches out to help the millions who are suffering, it is important that any help offered is based on a proper, needs-based assessment, and reaches the most vulnerable, writes Meenakshi Ganguly for Human Rights Watch.  

Seeking a big rise in the minimum wage
The Australian Catholic Council for Employment Relations is pushing for the nation’s minimum wage to be increased by A$28.70 a week.  

The Political Community

Letter to NZ MPs warns against free trade pact
The picture of the Italian luxury liner Costa Concordia tilting dangerously on its side as it sank provides an apt metaphor for what the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) offers its signatories. Shapely but hopelessly unbalanced, its guts had been wrenched out forcing people to die below decks in terror and darkness, swamped by the in-rushing sea and trapped and powerless to change their situation. The captain and ship owners are denying all responsibility.  

See also ISDS proposal misses the point

Blessed Oscar Romero’s courageous witness
On May 23, the holy archbishop of San Salvador will henceforth be known as Blessed Oscar Romero. But for the people of Central America, especially the poor and oppressed, he is already a saint, writes Tony Magliano for National Catholic Reporter.  

Jesuit doco highlights Honduran injustice
A new documentary that explores violence and injustice in Honduras from the perspective of journalists at a Jesuit-run radio station was released late last month, coinciding with the 35th anniversary of Archbishop Oscar Romero's murder in neighbouring El Salvador.  

A smarter, more humane approach to crime that saves lives and builds safer communities.
Australia’s First Peoples are dramatically over-represented in prison statistics. ANTaR is campaigning to change this unacceptable situation and to end Aboriginal deaths in custody. Join us!  

Getting to know Catholic Social Teaching
For many years people have said that Catholic Social Teaching is our best kept secret, but I don’t think this is true anymore, writes Sandie Cornish.  

Social Justice & the Churches: Challenges & Responsibilities
Edited by John D'Arcy May
Professor Frank Brennan, Fr Max Vodola, Revd Gerald Rose, Revd Geoff Pound, Revd Raymond Cleary, Dr Mark Zirnsak, Major Jenny Begent, Fr Shenouda Boutros, and Margaret Coffey examine the social traditions of seven churches for today.
This book is available through Social Policy Connections for $25+$5 postage.
To order  

ERC Asylum Seekers and Refugees
An education resource with activities for students, focusing on real people and their stories.
The resource is available to download at no cost. For information call 02 8762 4200 or go to

End gender-based violence
With an estimated up to two million people, mostly women and children, trafficked annually for prostitution, forced labour, slavery or servitude, the United Nations’ UNiTE campaign focusing on ending violence against women and children has called for a focus on this issue on the 25th of every month.  

The Call to Justice in Scripture
How do you experience the Scriptures calling you to live justly? This PowerPoint can be used for personal reflection or as stimulus material for group discussion. Reflecting on The Call to Justice in Scripture  



Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

Major International Catholic Social Teaching Documents

Key Principles

Human Dignity
Each person, made in the image and likeness of God, has an inalienable and transcendent human dignity which gives rise to human rights.

The Common Good
We are called to work for conditions which ensure that every person and group in society is able to meet their needs and realize their potential.

The people or groups most directly affected by a decision or policy should have a key decision making role.

We can only grow and achieve our potential in relationship with others. Solidarity encourages us to commit ourselves to the common good.