Archbishop’s column: closer together whakatata mai

Archbishop John Dew2011 Reducing inequalities in New Zealand is a choice we are all able to make. The Catholic Church is proud to be a member of the New Zealand…

Archbishop John Dew

Reducing inequalities in New Zealand is a choice we are all able to make. The Catholic Church is proud to be a member of the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services and to support its Closer Together WHAKATATA MAI project. I strongly encourage Wel-com readers to visit this website.

Archbishop's column: closer together whakatata mai Archdiocese of WellingtonThe logo for this campaign speaks volumes: there are hands linked together, surrounded by pictures of our country and society, there are people of different ages and social status, trees, buildings, places of work and worship. As the picture in the logo suggests we join hands together as Christians in New Zealand to build a more just and equitable society.

I was privileged to speak at the launch of WHAKATATA MAI on June 2. I suggested that perhaps there was a God incidence in the fact that the launch was held at the Downtown Community Ministry Centre in Lukes Lane in Central Wellington. In his gospel Luke portrays Jesus as compassionate, as caring for the lonely and marginalised; it is a gospel of prayer and of social justice; it is critical of injustice and inequality in the society of his time.

Not just Luke’s Gospel, but the New Testament as a whole give us in a nutshell the teachings of the Catholic Church on the dignity of every human person, irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity, health – or lack of it, ability or disability; a respect that extends to the physical environment that supports and sustains all life.

This project encourages us all to live the gospel and to be aware of those in need in New Zealand today: families in poverty or unsafe housing, victims and perpetrators of domestic violence that is often linked to poverty; the many referrals to food banks for those who just cannot make ends meet. It also reminds us that we need to be advocates who work to change a system, especially income inequality, which keeps people in poverty.
It is winter again and this season can be a particularly trying time for those who live in cold, damp homes or on the streets.

The parliamentary elections in November will give us another opportunity to make choices about how we can come ‘closer together’ to reduce the inequality that marks New Zealand society.

I invite all readers of Wel-com to become aware of CLOSER TOGETHER WHAKATATA MAI and to work together as we try today to reduce inequality in our society.

Whatever we do to address the real poverty questions in our country, we do together – we come closer together in solidarity, we are not afraid to hold hands.

Luke’s vision in the gospel is inclusive – of all people – and so we join hands together, in both prayer and action for WHAKATATA MAI.