ONE of the activities of the Centre for Multicultural Pastoral Care is to create not only awareness, but also to stimulate the conscience of our local Church and of our wider civil society in Brisbane. Queensland and beyond.
This is in regard to the painful situation and violation to the dignity of the persons who are migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. This is in order to create and establish spaces that allow these persons to develop as families and as members of our communities.
We see with ongoing concern the recurrent violations of human rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Among all these categories of persons, I would like to bring to your attention refugees and asylum seekers. These persons often experience abuses, fears, racist attitudes, discrimination and a sense of lack of trust because they are not from a similar or same cultural group as the majority that we call “mainstream”.
These persons are in a more vulnerable stage because, for reasons out of their control, or because, unwillingly they were forced to abandon their places of origin and seek better possibilities of life. To seek somewhere to be safe, with freedom, to be able to have a life as a human person like any one of us.
As a Catholic, for me there is a clear teaching that I ensure that a fundamental principle for me, the sacredness of the human person as part of God’s creation, is protected and guaranteed. I am compelled to protest and denounce any abuses or violations to the integrity of the life of the human person. These are both recognised within my belief as part of God’s gift, as well as protected within national and international civil laws.
It is with sadness that I have to say that the racist attitudes, the discrimination to many refugees, because they look “different” or because of their of religion or because they come from a particular race, country or region are causing a lot of pain and hurt and suffering. This is pain caused to members of our society who have the same equal rights as you and I.
Thus, unless we break the silence, the passivity, the attitude of “that is not my problem”, we will be instrumental in risking a harmonious, peaceful and respectful society as a legacy to our future generations, and that they will inherit “our problems”.
Instead of trying to hide under the hundreds of distractions and comfortable moments “living today”, without concern for our future, we need to reflect on the Gospel teachings, the magisterium of our Catholic Church and on the teachings of other faiths. We need to reflect what our position is and what responses are required as an act of faith.
Also, we may need to revisit our juridical obligations, nationally and internationally, regarding the basic human rights of every person living in our land or territories regardless of their race, colour, political affiliation, religion, cultural background or affiliation to a particular social group.
Both faith and civil society laws protect as fundamental the integrity and the other basic human rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers equally to the rest of us who are residing in this land.
As a sacred part of creation, for me the human life is above the law, regardless of race, colour, status, religion etc. There is no sense talking about my rights as an Australian born and “your” rights as the migrant, refugee or asylum seeker. The Gospel demands of me to equally protect and preserve the dignity and to respect the integrity of the human person. It is an imperative of the Gospel teaching.
Let us reflect then as we encounter the challenge to practise our charity, love, compassion and justice as a gift from God with which we are entrusted.
The Church has been entrusted with the care in a preferential way with those Jesus predilects. The poor, the needy, the ones without land, the sick, the migrant, refugee and asylum seeker were given care and love by Jesus in a preferential way.
Therefore, our evangelical mission is to denounce injustice, to be prophetic by restoring their God-given gift – respect for their human rights and life and, as civil citizens, to practise the ‘fair go’ attitude.
The Catholic Leader is an Australian award-winning Catholic newspaper that has been published by the Archdiocese of Brisbane since 1929. Our journalism seeks to provide a full, accurate and balanced Catholic perspective of local, national and international news while upholding the dignity of the human person.
The Catholic Leader acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples of this country and especially acknowledge the traditional owners on whose lands we live and work throughout the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.