WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Building a better world

That’s not fair!
I’m sure we’ve all heard that phrase from children when they feel they have been hard done by. Actually I’m sure we’ve all said that ourselves at some time or another. And more often we’ve experienced that feeling but perhaps not said anything on our own behalf or on behalf of others.

As human beings we have an innate sense of what is right and wrong, what is just and unjust. This sense can be diminished over time, it can remain partial (just on our own behalf or that of my group) or it can become blind in certain circumstances. But it is there. And for Christians that sense is tuned up by the teaching and example of Jesus. He shows God’s predilection for those who are suffering or wronged.

Our church tries to keep this sense of justice alive in various ways. At an official level, part of the responsibility of each diocese is to keep an eye on the social questions facing both the wider society and the church. At parish and pastoral area level, there are local social justice groups and in the Wellington Archdiocese there is also the Archdiocesan Commission for Justice, Peace and Development.

The commission has the role of promoting Catholic engagement in working for a better world, of keeping the needs of poor and marginalised people at the centre of church life. It does this in tandem with Caritas (national level) and local groups, based on Catholic social teaching and the directives of the 2006 synod. The commission organised the recent social analysis weekends in Wellington, Richmond and Palmerston North led by Fr Kevin Barr.

For 2009 the commission is reformulating its work portfolios and seeking people skilled and interested in these areas to assist. The areas of work are: earth care, Treaty of Waitangi issues, fair trade, industrial relations, gender equity, children, human rights, health, peace, nonviolence, poverty, refugees and migrants, interfaith dialogue, restorative justice, prisons, spirituality of justice.

To help in these areas the commission is looking for people who are committed to their faith, willing to learn more about Catholic social teaching and its applications and willing to connect with the wider community around its focus areas.

If you have an interest in these areas and are willing to bring your expertise to the commission please contact: Sr Mary Hepburn rsm, adviser for JPD, 496 1701,  m.hepburn@wn.catholic.org.nz, Michael Noonan, Archdiocesan Pastoral Services, 496 1706, m.noonan@wn.catholic.org.nz or Fr Gerard Burns 232 7417.