Faith Doing Justice
Home Issues Catholic Social Teaching What's On Newsletter Links About Us Contact Us Subscribe Free

Text size: A A A

Read the newsletter editorial

Indigenous Australia

First Contact: Poverty, porn and trauma TV with bonus celebrities
In this series, Aboriginal people are portrayed as people who have bad things happen to them. They are seen as shallow caricatures to which non-Aboriginal people can glean ‘experience’. Trauma of both the past and the present is a pit stop on the ‘journey of discovery’... . There is no further discussion of why there is a prevalence of suicide, just as there is only limited discussion of the trauma that underlies alcohol and drug addiction. They cry, but they move on, because this is just one stage in their journey, writes Amy McQuire for New Matilda

See also
Aboriginal workers still slipping through the gaps

Lifesaving indigenous hotline to go national
NSW hotline widely credited with preventing Indigenous deaths in police custody will be rolled out nationwide - but it should not have taken this long, writes Alex McKinnon.
Amid last week’s headline clashes about guns, smashed avocado and Abbott vs. Turnbull Redux, a small, vital piece of news that came out of Canberra didn’t get the attention it deserved. On Friday, Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion announced that a NSW hotline widely credited with preventing Indigenous deaths in police custody will be rolled out nationwide.  

The road to a treaty
Our nation’s future lies in settling the demons of our past. A Treaty with Australia’s First Peoples is the best path to get us there, writes Jeff McMullen for New Matilda.  

New opportunities in return of land for Cape York owners
The handback of 37,000 hectares of land in Cape York to the Balnggarr, Muundhi and Magarmagar peoples will help traditional owners create new cultural and economic development opportunities.  

Human Rights

Churches slam government over treatment of young offenders
Melbourne's Catholic and Anglican archbishops have condemned the Andrews government's imprisonment of teenagers in "the harshest of adult prison settings", warning that teen offenders' welfare and chances of rehabilitation are at risk, writes Richard Willingham for The Age.  

NZ minister defends record on institutional child abuse
Social Development Minister Anne Tolley will make no universal apology for the abuse of children in state care saying there is no evidence it was systemic.
There would be no independent inquiry either, she told Radio New Zealand’s Kim Hill, arguing it would only retraumatise victims.  

But does the state know how to look after children?
The children who are now adults point out that, by ignoring key recommendations from the confidential listening service into the abuse, the Government is not attending to ‘what works’ for them, writes science researcher Jess Berentson-Shaw.  

Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Australia seeks to join international leaders on human rights
Foreign minister Julie Bishop declared in a speech to the UN General Assembly that Australia would bring a "principled and pragmatic" approach when serving on the Human Rights Council. Yet, principled and pragmatic approaches to asylum seekers are not evident in government policy, writes Alexandra Lancaster in the Sydney Morning Herald.  

How we came to be so cruel to asylum seekers
Our current uniquely harsh anti-asylum seeker policy is grounded in the absolutist ambitions that can, in my view, best be explained by Australia’s long term migration history and its associated culture of control. It has become entrenched because of the force of bureaucratic inertia ... And it is presently maintained by an irrational but consensual mindset: the conviction that even one concession to human kindness will send a message to the people smugglers and bring the whole system crashing down, writes Robert Manne of La Trobe University.  

Renewed attacks on Myanmar’s Rakhine
Three thousand Buddhist Rakhine are believed to have fled their homes after a series of attacks on the border police in Maungdaw township, a predominantly Muslim area on Myanmar's northwestern border where the majority of the population belong to the stateless Rohingya minority.  

Philippines church faces religious persecution
Religious persecution is being experienced in the Philippines despite it being a predominantly Christian country, according to the head of the bishops’ conference. "Persecution is not limited to violence," conference president Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan said. "Bashing in social media where truth is made to appear as a lie and a lie appears to be true is another form of persecution."  

Record numbers sleeping rough in Melbourne
John King, 48, is one of the new faces living tough on Melbourne's streets; one of a surging number of worn out people sleeping rough, sheltering in squats or parks.  


Laudato Si’ calls for us to get intimate with the natural world
The care for all creation including the earth is now seen as a vital part of Christian faith, the Irish theologian Sean McDonagh told audiences throughout Australia last month. Fr McDonagh who writes and speaks of the theology of the environment, was a key part of the team which developed the latest encyclical, Laudato Si’. In this excerpt he speaks of new Catholic social teaching in the Pope’s call for a new focus on how we look at all creation.  

The Political Community

Pakistani bishops denounce "chaos" after protests
Catholic bishops in Pakistan are dismayed by a situation that has lead the Supreme Court to hear petitions seeking to oust Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for having dodgy offshore investments.  

Clarke and Dawe: The Nativity Play – does it send the wrong message?
Christopher Pine on the end of the parliamentary year.  

Congratulations, President-elect Donald Trump. Defying the pollsters, you won a narrow victory. As president-elect, you must begin to heal the wounds of a divisive campaign for which you bear heavy responsibility, writes Alec Mikulich for National Catholic Reporter.  

Trust or bust after shattering US election campaign
The US election, to no one's regret, is now over. It remains to wish Donald Trump well as he prepares to take up the office of president. It is tempting to see Hillary Clinton as Humpty Dumpty and ask how she can pick up the pieces of her life, when tarnished and wearied by a campaign so full of personal abuse, revelations of tawdry behaviour and a lack of grace. Yet it is not Clinton that lies broken at the foot of the wall. It is the polity of the US, shown to be bereft of the trust necessary for national wellbeing, writes Andrew Hamilton for Eureka Street.  

Repealing affordable care act could be more complicated than it looks
After six controversial years, the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, may be on the way out, thanks to the GOP sweep of the presidency and both houses of Congress last week.  

Pope will look at how Trump policies affect the poor
When asked for his opinion on President-elect Trump, the Pontiff said: “I don’t judge people and politicians, I simply want to understand what kinds of suffering they cause to the poor and the excluded through their way of doing things.”  

Refugees and Migrants

Welcoming the Manus US deal
The government has struck a deal with the USA which provides hope at last for the 1600 proven refugees on Manus and Nauru. There's still a lot of work to be done before these refugees can get on with their lives after three years of hopeless agony. Gone are the days of presuming that those who arrive without visas are in direct flight from persecution. Gone are the days when they get first option on the available humanitarian places. I welcome the government's decision, and await the detail, writes Frank Brennan for Eureka Street.  


Helping farmers improve their livelihood
This video by the Poverty-Environment Initiative looks at efforts in Myanmar to work with small-holder farmers and help them with tools to promote more efficient farming, which in turn improves their livelihood.
Watch here  

Charity and justice – either side of a coin
This short video explains the difference between charity and justice and why society needs both.
Watch here  

Prayer for our earth
…from Laudato Si’  

Book: The Intervention: an Anthology
In this historic anthology, award-winning writers Rosie Scott and Dr Anita Heiss have gathered together the work of twenty of Australian’s finest writers both Indigenous and non-Indigenous together with powerful statements from Northern Territory Elders to bring a new dimension and urgency to an issue that has remained largely outside the public radar.

To order go to

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.  



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.