There has been a lot of noise made in Australia about the need for broader protections when it comes to the fourth estate and the way it covers national security matters. In a country lacking a backbone in terms of constitutional free speech, journalists are left at the mercy of authorities when it comes to exposing egregious abuses of power. Consider, for instance, the exposure of war crimes committed by Australian forces via what has come to be known as the Afghan Files.
As Dan Oakes and Sam Clark, the two ABC journalists involved in putting together the file material wrote in July 2017, “Hundreds of pages of secret defence force documents leaked to the ABC give an unprecedented insight into the clandestine operations in Australia’s elite special forces in Afghanistan, including incidents of troops killing unarmed men and children.” Read the full Article HERE
Australia cannot ignore the reality about its indigenous people
Nearly 30 years after a Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody, Australia still has not acted on its recommendations. Yet, Australians took to the streets in great numbers in abhorrence at George Floyd’s murder at the hands of the police in the US, and the ongoing horror of Aboriginal deaths in custody in this country. Since the Royal Commission ended in 1991, 432 First Nations People have died in custody. No one has been convicted as a result of any of these deaths. Read full article HERE
There is a growing sense that it’s time to step off the merry-go-round of China bashing and the Australia bashing that inevitably follows. But what is to take its place? Many would like to see a more solid foundation for our relationship with China. But what would this look like in practice? And how well equipped are we for the task? Read Full Article HERE
Pax Christi International vehemently opposes Israel’s plan to annex any area of the West Bank including the Jordan Valley. We recognise East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan Heights as illegally annexed under international law. We continue to condemn Israel’s 53-year occupation of the West Bank and its 13-year blockade of Gaza. We stand in steadfast solidarity with our Palestinian sisters and brothers whose freedom, dignity and human rights are threatened by this current proposal and Israel’s previous actions.
Call came after Texas Bishop ‘took a knee’ in solidarity
It’s called “taking a knee,” and many professional athletes around the country and even police officers have made the gesture publicly to protest police brutality after the 25 May killing of George Floyd, who died after being filmed pinned to the ground with a knee to his neck, constrained by a police officer in Minneapolis.
Until 1 June, no Catholic bishop had publicly participated in the gesture but that day, Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, Texas, became the first. Surrounded by priests from his diocese who also kneeled with him and holding a ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign, he put both knees on the grass at El Paso’s Memorial Park, where a protest had taken place a day earlier and closed his eyes.
Uluru Statement from the Heart offered a new compact with all Australians that would reset our national identity and enhance our political legitimacy. But its poetic vision and pragmatism proved its death knell.
Trying to reconcile two historically divergent if not hostile ideas – Indigenous sovereignty and the sovereignty of the Commonwealth – asked the nation to embark on a project of rehabilitation: “Voice, Treaty, Truth”.
22 May 2020: THE FOSSIL FUEL NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY
Climate change, like nuclear weapons, is a major global threat.
Bold and immediate action is needed to address the climate emergency. The main cause of the climate emergency is fossil fuels. Coal, oil and gas are responsible for almost 80% of all carbon dioxide emissions since the industrial revolution. Phasing-out fossil fuel production, and fast-tracking progress towards safer and more cost-effective solutions, will require unprecedented international cooperation in three main areas.
‘It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.’
The novelist on how coronavirus threatens India — and what the country, and the world, should do next – Arundhati Roy Financial Times April 4, 2020. Read full article HERE
Watch an interview Democracy Now with Amy Goodman “Pandemic Is a Portal: Arundhati Roy on COVID-19 in India, Imagining Another World & Fighting for It” HERE
Publication: Edmund Rice Centre for Justice and Community Education, Just Comment, Vol 22, No 2. 2020
In 2015, Pope Francis, in Laudato si’, underlined the fundamental connection between the environmental crisis and the current social crisis. To remind us that ‘everything is interconnected, he called for a personal and community ecological conversion.’
‘If only the world [had] worked to strengthen the rights of indigenous peoples — who have learned to live in nature with biodiversity and protect animal and plant species — we would see fewer epidemics such as the one that we are currently facing. Read full article Here
First Appeared on 1 May 2020 in John Menadue’s blog Pearls and Irritations
For weeks now Covid-19 has dominated the world’s media. We’ve had endless facts, advice and commentary on the virus itself, the number of deaths and infections, the level of testing, the do’s and don’ts of hygiene and social distancing, the flattening of the curve, and much else. But on the underlying significance of the pandemic remarkably little.
Yet, the pandemic is itself the symptom of a deeper ailment which holds crucial lessons for the human future. Four lessons merit close attention: (a) Be prepared (b) Collaborate or perish (c) A momentous shift from West to East is under way – we must find creative ways to live with it and (d) Everything is connected with everything else. Read the full article here.
Publication: Edmund Rice Centre for Justice and Community Education, Just Comment, Vol 22, No 1. 2020
The threatening unprecedented global chaos is quietly informing us as to what needs to be done to create a better world. Many are asking what must we do. The call is to work cooperatively ‘to save humanity from massive global death and economic collapse rather than continue to devote $1.8 trillion a year to waging wars and engaging in vast military buildups with the goal of slaughtering one another?’
Pax Christi International is an affiliate of IPB. Please sign the petition, and distribute if possible.
Dear International Peace Bureau members across Australia & New Zealand,
We hope that you are all staying safe and healthy during these difficult times. As you may have seen, IPB is taking a strong stand against military spending and in favor of healthcare and social spending to combat Covid-19 and its effects. One central way in which we are doing so is our petition “Healthcare Not Warfare”, which we will submit to the UN General Assembly this September. The petition can be found here: www.change.org/healthcarenotwarfare.
While we have had a good amount of support so far, we are hoping to expand our reach and asking for your help. Would you be able to sign and share the petition with those in your network?
Thank you and please let us know if you have any questions or comments.
Compromised politicians, muted religions, a distracted and increasingly partisan media and a malleable crowd combine in another tragedy. Scapegoating it is, but thanks to the Gospel it is not destined for seamless success …
There are fundamental differences between ancient scapegoating and the modern versions, however. The Nazi atrocities and Australia’s scapegoating of boat people have been carried out by Christians, a fact which not only underlines that we Christians are often the means of concealing the very revelation we are presumed to promote, but also points to the endemic nature of violence.
(Susan Connelly is a Sister of St Joseph, the Catholic Religious Congregation founded by St Mary MacKillop).
Adam Goodes was voted Australian of the Year in 2014. Just one year later he decided to walk away from his stellar AFL career with the Sydney Swans as a result of the abuse he constantly received. An article by Donald McRae, based upon an interview with Adam Goodes, was recently published in The Guardian. Read the article here.
Adam Goodes is now the subject of a powerful new film. View The Australian Dream on ABC iView (available until 22 June 2020).
Winner 2019 Catholic Press Association Book Award – Catholic Social Teaching
In recent years the Catholic Church’s approach to issues of war and peace has refocused on the tradition of nonviolence and peace building in place of the traditional framework of Just War teaching. Among the milestones was an historic conference hosted at the Vatican in 2016, which gathered 80 peacemakers from around the world.
Drawn from the conference and presented here are contributions by many of the participants, including Lisa Sowle Cahill, Terrence J. Rynne, John Dear, Ken Butigan, Rose Marie Berger, and Maria J. Stephan, among others. Together they advance the conversation about the practice of nonviolence in a violent world, Jesus and nonviolence, traditional Catholic teaching on nonviolence, and reflections on the future of Catholic teaching. The book concludes with Pope Francis’s historic Message for World Peace Day in 2017.
Marie Dennis is co-president of Pax Christi International and author of many books, including TheDiversity of Vocations (2008) and (as co-author) St. Francis and the Foolishness of God (2015) and Oscar Romero: Reflections on His Life and Writings (Orbis 2000), all from Orbis Books.
Over recent years, discussion of Australia Day has largely focused on how appropriate the date is for a national celebration. Many Indigenous Australians see the arrival of the First Fleet as an invasion which destroyed Indigenous nations and cultures and left their descendants disadvantaged strangers in their own land. The obdurate refusal to consider changing the date inevitably makes the public holiday a symbol of exclusion as well as of national unity.
The inappropriateness of the date, however, has some beneficial aspects. It focuses attention on the relationships between Indigenous Australians and later arrivals, and between Indigenous and the largely European cultures in Australia. Public discussion of these relationships often manifests prejudice and self-satisfaction. But it could also encourage humility and reconciliation, inviting a shared conversation about how our conflicted past has influenced the present Australian reality, and how reflection on it might shape a better future.
PEACE AS A JOURNEY OF HOPE: DIALOGUE, RECONCILIATION AND ECOLOGICAL CONVERSION
1. Peace, a journey of hope in the face of obstacles and trial
Peace is a great and precious value, the object of our hope and the aspiration of the entire human family. As a human attitude, our hope for peace is marked by an existential tension that makes it possible for the present, with all its difficulties, to be “lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey”. Hope is thus the virtue that inspires us and keeps us moving forward, even when obstacles seem insurmountable.
A new music clip launched today on behalf of a number of schoolgirls, who joined forces with
the producer of the film Ride Like a Girl, aims to send a special message of hope to next week’s UN Conference on Climate Change in Madrid, Spain.
The clip will be played at the conference. Film-maker Richard Keddie (Ride Like A Girl, Oddball, Hawke and Little Fish) has teamed up with the students of Lowther Hall Anglican Grammar School. They acquired the rights to the famous Burt Bacharach song ‘What the world needs now is love’. Richard Keddie directed the video.
Even in emergencies, as we work to stop the worst damage, we must address the root causes of the crisis and shift the prevailing paradigm.
After centuries of neglect, we are now seeing a lot of useful writing about “the most powerful force at the disposal of humanity,” as Gandhi called nonviolence. Its long neglect deprived us of a badly needed set of tools and way of being. Why, then, was it so long neglected? Not because of a mere perversity of human nature but something we can, with difficulty, change: the underlying paradigm or “story” that has dominated the consciousness of the West at least since the industrial revolution. Now, thanks in large part to Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan’s pioneering study, “Why Civil Resistance Works,” and an outpouring of studies by nonviolence scholars and activists, from their respective vantage points, is adding to our tools to address that neglect — and even that outdated paradigm.
View the video ‘The success of nonviolent civil resistance: Erica Chenoweth at TEDxBoulder’ here.
Article by Michael Nagler, Professor Emeritus of Classics and Comparative Literature at UC, Berkeley, where he co-founded the Peace and Conflict Studies Program. He is also the founder of the Metta Center for Nonviolence and author of the award-winning Search for a Nonviolent Future.
Australian women and children are trapped in al-Hawl, a desolate camp in north-eastern Syria for families of Islamic State fighters. Some 20 women and at least 44 children are held in the camp which houses more than 70,000 family members of Isis fighters, 11,000 of whom are foreigners from close to fifty countries …
The moral imperative is beyond dispute. When Australian children are exposed to the terrifying force of violent conflict and abject squalor, their suffering cannot be allowed to continue because of the sins of their parents.
A humane and responsible Australian government would intervene without delay or prevarication to alleviate their medical circumstances and ensure their future well-being.
Thunberg’s trip was an act of protest, not a sacred commandment or an instruction manual for the rest of us. Like all acts of protest, it was designed to be symbolic and provocative. For those who missed the point – and oh, how they missed the point – she retweeted someone else’s “friendly reminder” that: “You don’t need to spend two weeks on a boat to do your part to avert our climate emergency. You just need to do everything you can, with everyone you can, to change everything you can.” (Jennifer O’Connell, The Irish Times, 7 Sep 2019).
Pax Christi Australia expresses deep concern and outrage at the condemnation of leaders in the Philippines such as lawyers, human rights defenders and bishops, priests and other religious leaders who have been charged with sedition and accused of terrorist links for speaking truth to power. We object strongly to framing any kind of activism or holding a contrary opinion as an attempt to overthrow the government. There are grave implications of red tagging or labeling individuals and groups as subversive, left leaning or as terrorists because they express dissent. Association with any organisation and belief in the principles it espouses is an exercise of the right to freedom of thought, assembly, and association. Curtailing this and may affect all other rights such as the right to free speech, expression, and movement among others … (Fr Claude Mostowik, President, Pax Christi Australia)
WASHINGTON (CNS) — When Johnny Zokovitch started working for Pax Christi USA in 2001, he was tasked with connecting young people with the Catholic peace organization.
As the group’s new executive director beginning Sept. 23, Zokovitch continues to see young people as key to the organization’s future as he seeks to “grow and swell the movement” among Catholics and other people of faith who desire to build peace in a violent world.
Zokovitch, 51, told Catholic News Service he wants to connect young people driven to respond to climate change and gun violence with the older generation of peacemakers who have sustained the organization for five decades since stepping up during the Vietnam War and responding to the rising threat of nuclear weapons. (By Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service, 21 Sep 2019)
The courageous people of Hong Kong are showing us what it means to be engaged in the struggle for freedom, democracy and human dignity. Yet, our government, always eager to advertise its credentials as upholders of these values, has been shamefully silent and inactive.
With such large protests, it is always possible that a few hotheads will resort to unfortunate conduct. But the Chinese authorities would be well advised to concentrate less on these relatively minor misdemeanours, and focus instead on the legitimate demands of the peaceful citizens of Hong Kong. Their demands are simple but profound:
Prof Joseph Camilleri interview reported in The Southern Cross Living Catholic
The Catholic Church in Australia is not taking full advantage of the work of Pope Francis in addressing issues of peace, justice and ecology, despite the “state of unprecedented emergency” that the world is in today. That’s the view of Emeritus Professor Joseph Camilleri who was in Adelaide last month to speak at the launch of Just Peace SA.
With a 40 year career teaching international relations at Latrobe University and a long involvement with the Pax Christi peace movement, Professor Camilleri was one of the driving forces behind a recent conference in Melbourne on Just and Ecologically Sustainable Peace . For more information on Just Peace SA, contact email@example.com
Pax Christi International, a global Catholic peace organization that raised its profile in recent years with two Vatican conferences on Christian nonviolence, has changed its leadership for the first time in nearly a decade.
At a general meeting of 12 regional sections of the organization in late June, members elected two new co-presidents: French Bishop Marc Stenger and Kenyan Sr. Teresia Wamuyu Wachira. They replace South African Bishop Kevin Dowling, who had served since 2010, and American activist Marie Dennis, who had served since 2007.
Despite recent denials, a new US naval base has been proposed at Glyde Point, just 40 km from Darwin.
Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) spokesperson Justin Tutty said we have conflicting views coming from the Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and asks what are we are to believe from the government?
Just last month the ABC revealed that secret planning had begun for a new commercial port facility just outside Darwin which could eventually help US Marines operate more readily in the Indo-Pacific.
Following the report, Australia’s Defence Department insisted it had “no plans for the development of a new naval facility in the Northern Territory”, while Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner denied any knowledge of such a proposal.
# Over 700,000 Australians struggling on $40 dollars a day to meet basic needs. # $200 billion allocated to Australia’s Defence Budget over 10 years, largely supporting U.S. wars.
“In the past 5 years government spending on social and community services has been severely cut back while the Australian government’s military spending on supporting US offensive wars and the military-industrial complex has increased exponentially.
Dirk Broos was born in Mechelen, Belgium and in the past was a bio-engineer. He is educated in accountancy, financial management and analysis, audit and labor law. For the past 29 years, he has been the financial director at the Flemish section of Pax Christi, Pax Christi Vlaanderen.
Dirk said he hoped to be able to contribute to the development of a financially stable and healthy organisation at Pax Christi International and that he looked forward to broadening his horizons through international contacts.
‘Meritocracy’, first coined in 1958, is a social system where advancement in society is based on one’s abilities and merits rather than on the basis of family, wealth or social background. Coupled with capitalism and egalitarian values, it has allowed people from low status groups to dream of improving their social status, economic class, and place in the hierarchy. The impression is that everyone can succeed if they develop the necessary abilities. Meritocracy and equality of opportunity are championed by all kinds of politicians to achieve a fair society. People want to believe they live in a ‘fair’ society where hard work can achieve anything, regardless of their social position at birth. This is simply not true.
Read more ...Just Comment is a publication of the Edmund Rice Centre.
The British colonisation of the continent now referred to as Australia was based on terra nullius, meaning the land was neither owned nor occupied. As the High Court of Australia acknowledged in 1992, this was a lie, which was obvious to the First Nations peoples and the invaders at the time.
The problem for the British as they pursued their takeover of the land was that it was already being occupied by the locals. So, in order to deal with this setback, the invaders undertook policies of genocide, segregation and then incarceration: a measure still being utilised to this day.
Soon after the arrival of the British ships in the Warrang/Sydney region an outbreak of smallpox struck down around 90 percent of the local First Nations population, which some assert was an act of biological warfare, with the disease purposefully being deployed. (Paul Gregoire, Sydney Criminal Lawyers, May 25, 2019).
A STATEMENT BY THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF AUSTRALIA FOR THE 2019 FEDERAL ELECTION
Christian faith is not a private matter. It shapes how we live our lives in public,
as well as how we relate to God.
Politics can be the object of criticism, even scorn, but it is an arena in which we can express our faith and therefore the truth of our humanity. As citizens who are Catholic, we have the opportunity to participate in the electoral process, to use our voice and our vote for the benefit of the whole community.
As bishops, we offer this statement as a way of sharing key points of Catholic teaching that you may want to reflect upon as we prepare for the federal election.
April 23, 2019 was declared a ‘day of national mourning’ by the Sri Lankan government, with the call to remember those who lost their lives and suffered injuries …
We, together with the Sri Lankans and the members of the international community mourn the death of over two hundred and fifty innocent persons and the injured still recovering in hospitals in the country …
RPHR, insists on conducting impartial inquiries to determine the institutions and the heads of the institutions that permitted this mayhem and be prosecuted irrespective of their standing in the community.
6 April 2019 – It is with great sadness that Pax Christi International shares the news of the death of Fr. Neles Tebay, a member of our International Board and the coordinator of the Papua Peace Network. Fr. Neles, who suffered from bone cancer, had been in intensive care for the last few weeks at St. Carolus Hospital in Central Jakarta. He died on Sunday, 14 April.
David Krieger, opinion contributor to The Hill in the United States, states that the “most stunning and frightening truth about the nuclear age is this: Nuclear weapons are capable of destroying civilization and most complex life on the planet, yet next to nothing is being done about it. Humanity is flirting with extinction and is experiencing the “frog’s malaise.” It is as though the human species has been placed into a pot of tepid water — metaphorically with regard to nuclear dangers and literally with regard to climate change — and appears to be calmly treading water while the temperature rises toward the boiling point.”