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

Social justice issues on inclusiveness explored

WelCom December 2016:

Diocesan News and Views

Wellington’s Otari parish hosted three Sunday afternoon lectures during August on Catholic social teaching and social justice issues with the theme ‘inclusiveness’.

Perspectives on the Treaty in 2016

Rangimoeroa Waikari-Panapa, Ngāti Kahungunu, a Te Ngākau Tapu and St Thomas More parishioner, and Lisa Beech of Caritas, explored ‘inclusiveness’ in relation to the Treaty, with historical, global and Catholic social-teaching contexts, including the bicultural journey in a multicultural society.

‘The relationship between tangata whenua (Māori) and tangata Tiriti (the Crown and all others) is a journey of ongoing dialogue, negotiation and exploration of the full implications of the Treaty,’ Rangimoeroa said.

Lisa illustrated global and local examples of colonisation causing historical injustices for indigenous peoples, including Māori; and that the Catholic Church has not always been an innocent party. She said the NZ Bishops’ Conferences and Synods clearly recognise the Treaty as a path forward.

‘It is essential to show special care for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions. They are not merely one minority among others, but should be the principal dialogue partners.’ – Pope Francis Laudato’ Si (146).

Developing interfaith

Sr Catherine Jones smsm, chair NZ Catholic Bishops Committee for Interfaith Relations, shared the documentary The Imam and The Pastor. It explores the story of Pastor James Wuye and Imam Mohammad Ashafa, former members of competing militias in Nigeria, who experienced personal transformations through friendship. They now co-operatively head an inter-faith mediation centre, building relationships between Muslim and Christian clergy and training in conflict prevention, mediation, reconciliation, and the power of dialogue and the strength of forgiveness.

Sr Catherine said, ‘the face of New Zealand is changing and we must work together for the cohesion of this social fabric.’

Elder Abuse

Louise Collins spoke about Age Concern’s work and the National Adviser Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention Service – a New Zealand organisation to which any family, friend, or neighbour can refer an older person for help and support.

The free and confidential service offers: intervention for older people who are being abused or who are at risk; support through social work; awareness-raising activities and advocacy so the public knows what elder abuse is and how to get help needed.

Louise said the work is so necessary with a growing population of over 65-year-olds. She cited statistics on abuse of older people, often by family members, who see opportunities to take financial advantage of vulnerable elderly relatives.