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Blue Mountains Deanery Pastoral Council News

What is the Blue Mountains Deanery Pastoral Council?

Instituted in 2018 by Bishop Vincent Long, the Mountains Deanery Pastoral Council is one of six Deanery Pastoral Councils in Parramatta which have a broad role “ to assist in the church’s apostolic work of evangelisation and sanctification or in the fields of charity and the rest” Details in the document here ------------>

One Journey, Together

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC) recently launched their website One Journey, Together. It offers information and resources for Catholics to help them to better understand the upcoming referendum on the Voice to Parliament.

Here is the link to the website.   https://indigenousvoice.church/

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the heart of the upcoming Voice to Parliament Referendum is the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, the world’s oldest continuing culture, in the Australian Constitution. As Catholics, we have a responsibility to listen to the voices of First Australians and to work towards a more just and equitable society. 

Our mission is to educate and inform our fellow Catholics on this pivotal moment in Australia’s history. We have collated and created statements and resources – grounded in the principles of Catholic Social Teaching – to help you on your process of discernment.

The Voice to Parliament Referendum provides all Catholics with a unique opportunity to come together as a community and draw upon our faith and moral grounding to make an informed decision. 

One Journey, Together.

 

Carol and  Maureen  Mountains Deanery Pastoral Council (Lawson Reps)

From the NATSICC website One Journey Together https://indigenousvoice.church/

Bishops issue statement on Indigenous Voice to Parliament

As a vote on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament nears, Australia’s bishops have encouraged Catholics to read and discuss the Uluru Statement from the Heart – the document from which the Voice proposal emerged.

Bishop Vincent's Prayer fro teh Voice

Uluru Statement of the Heart

During their plenary meeting in Sydney , (11th May 2023) the bishops considered how they might assist Catholics in preparing for the referendum to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, with a vote due in the second half of 2023.

While the bishops – based on a decision they took in May 2022 – will later this year issue their annual Social Justice Statement on the place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in Australian society, they decided to issue a statement at this point in the referendum process.

The bishops argued that the fact First Nations Peoples have lived in Australia for many thousands of years but their custodianship of the land isn’t mentioned in the Constitution is “an omission which needs to be rectified”.

A Voice to Parliament isn’t the only way to achieve that outcome, the bishops wrote, but it “is the way requested by those who gathered at the historic meeting at Uluru”.

“This could be a significant step towards a more just and equitable Australia,” the statement says.

“We want to encourage all Australians to educate themselves as well as possible concerning the proposal to establish the Voice.

“This is an important moment in the history of the nation, and it can help us to move towards a deep and just reconciliation. It also offers a mechanism to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.”

The bishops call for a meaningful debate on the issue, acknowledging that “people may, in good faith, have differing concerns and perspectives”.

“We are an open democracy, and this is a moment to use our democratic institutions to produce a high-quality debate shaped by a genuine concern to do justice and bring healing to First Nations Peoples,” they wrote.

“We ask those drafting the changes to the Constitution to work together in a spirit of cooperation, so that the proposal presented to the Australian people will appeal to a wide range of the population.”

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference endorsed the Uluru Statement from the Heart in 2021, with the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia taking the same step last year.

The bishops encouraged Catholic parishes, schools and agencies to arrange opportunities for people to read the document and have discussions about their response to its key messages.

 From  Parramatta Diocese Peace Justice and Ecology Newsletter 28th June 2023

ULURU STATEMENT FROM THE HEART

We, gathered at the 2017 National Constitutional Convention, coming from all points of the southern sky, make this statement from the heart: Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and possessed it under our own laws and customs. This our ancestors did, according to the reckoning of our culture, from the Creation, according to the common law from ‘time immemorial’, and according to science more than 60,000 years ago.

This sovereignty is a spiritual notion: the ancestral tie between the land, or ‘mother nature’, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were born there from, remain attached thereto, and must one day return thither to be united with our ancestors.

This link is the basis of the ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty. It has never been ceded or extinguished, and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown. How could it be otherwise?

That peoples possessed a land for sixty millennia and this sacred link disappears from world history in merely the last two hundred years? With substantive constitutional change and structural reform, we believe this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood.

Proportionally, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately criminal people. Our children are aliened from their families at unprecedented rates. This cannot be because we have no love for them. And our youth languish in detention in obscene numbers. They should be our hope for the future. These dimensions of our crisis tell plainly the structural nature of our problem. This is the torment of our powerlessness.

We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.

We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution. Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle. It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination.

We seek a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history. In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard. We leave base camp and start our trek across this vast country. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.

 

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