• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Monday, 28 May 2018 19:41

We must be reconciled - a reflection

 

Fr Michael Hardie 150 hsBy Fr Michael Hardie SVD

Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation Co-ordinator


Reconciliation Week is observed in the last week in May. This year, it runs from Sunday May 27 through to the June 3, also coinciding with the first anniversary of the ‘Uluru Statement from the Heart,’ issued by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders at their gathering in Central Australia in 2017.

The voiced essence of the Uluru Statement was the seeking of constitutional reforms to empower the First Peoples to take their rightful place in their own land: not tokenistic gestures of recognition, but true voices enshrined in the Constitution of Australia, with all peoples walking together into a better future.

In 2018, we take up the same urgings, not diminished by the passing of a year, but rather fortified by the many voices that heard the Uluru Statement in 2017 and have echoed it with amplification, as the mountains echo the thunder of waterfalls cascading over ageless rocks.

Aboriginal flag 450We must be reconciled. In the 25 years since the council for Aboriginal Reconciliation (CAR) was established, the concept of reconciliation has taken a holistic approach that demands more than the single need of saying ‘Sorry’ for events of the past, and moving on. That approach encompasses rights in many spheres: structures to address aboriginal disadvantage, the rights of our Aboriginal brothers and sisters to effective medical care, to housing, to uplifting employment, to self-determination and above all, recognition in the Constitution and a ‘Voice to Parliament’. 

Fortunately, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have found some historical membership in the nation’s legislatures, albeit in small, countable numbers. Neville Bonner, a member of the Liberal party, was the first Aboriginal person to sit in Federal Parliament as a Senator for Queensland (1971 – 1983), and Aden Ridgeway (Australian Democrats) sat as a Senator for NSW. (1999 – 2005).  The appointment of highly-regarded Aboriginal elder and statesman Patrick Dodson to the WA Legislature in 2016 was an inspiring step towards representation, as was the election to Federal Parliament of indigenous women such as Nova Peris and Linda Burney, but there are many more such steps still to take. 

One significant aspect in the desire for reconciliation is the matter of Treaty. The negotiation of a treaty with the Australian state has long been an aspiration for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. For many non-indigenous Australians too, the lack of a formal political agreement with our Indigenous peoples is an injustice and an embarrassment that they would like to see rectified. The matter of a treaty has already been historically addressed in both Canada and New Zealand, so why not here? 

Yes, we must be reconciled. Changing the terms of the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the Australian state is a means of redressing these historical harms, and of closing the gap on present-day disadvantage. However, this should not be a process of benevolence, but a process of healing and restoration of the autonomy and dignity of our Indigenous brothers and sisters, taken away in those first days of 1788. In our SVD parish of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Alice Springs, and the nearby Catholic community of Santa Teresa, the Divine Word Missionaries are quietly living and working with the local people to achieve these goals. 

A key to reconciliation is to understand the issues. Read about Eddie Mabo. Look up the 1967 Referendum. Be familiar with the history.  The leading body in the process is Reconciliation Australia, established in 2001 : an independent, not-for-profit organisation which promotes and facilitates reconciliation by building relationships, respect and trust between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. You can find out more from: www.reconciliation.org.au