Violence in Australia: A message of peace.
Every day, it seems, we hear news of some act of gratuitous violence: someone bashed in the street or some violent confrontation on the roads. Indeed, this Statement begins with a consideration of just such a confrontation.
This is not the only kind of violence that should concern us. Many people are affected by violence in their own homes, and their lives can be damaged for decades. Young people’s lives can be ruined by campaigns of bullying and humiliation by their peers. And we see the culture of abuse that at times infects our politics and our media.
For Christians, Jesus Christ is the strongest example and source of strength in our long journey towards the peace of God. He was the victim of the worst that humanity could do. His response to violence was not more violence but an act of transcendence that set humanity on a new path forever. The mission and resurrection of Jesus are both a message of hope to humanity and a call to conversion: to renounce the sources of violence and to look for new and constructive ways of addressing the pain and anger we see in our world.
This Statement is issued at the conclusion of the United Nations’ International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World and the World Council of Churches’ Decade to Overcome Violence. Key goals have been the promotion of fundamental human rights, addressing wide varieties of violence – direct and structural – in homes, communities and in the international arenas, and learning from local and regional ways of overcoming violence.
In the Statement examples are given of men and women who are making their contribution to peace as individuals, in their communities, and in response to issues of national and global importance. There are countless others who work tirelessly, and often without recognition, to bring peace where discord or violence would otherwise prevail. As we celebrate Social Justice Sunday, let us remember that every effort we take to overcome violence is a response to Christ’s call to go into the world and bring a peace that the world alone cannot give.
With every blessing,
Christopher A Saunders DD
Bishop of Broome
Chairman, Australian Catholic Social Justice Council