Following this synod, Archbishop Bowen wrote a pastoral letter on justice highlighting the challenge:
“All over the world, people are crying out for justice, and they look to the Church for a response in deeds rather than words. The modern social teaching of the Church has been proclaimed in admirable documents for the last 120 years. The doctrines are there. The problem is to put them into practice... one is still left wondering how it is that, after 120 years of modern social teaching and two thousand years of the Gospel of Love, the Church has failed to make more impact on the consciences of her own people and on the world at large”.
Pope Paul VI taught that if we want peace, we must work for justice. Jesus calls us to be peacemakers. Our love for our brothers and sisters demands that we work for peace in our world surrounded by violence and conflict.
Forty years later, the challenge is still there. This call to respond to injustice still echoes. In the Year of Faith, in response to this call, St Anselm’s re-established a parish Justice and Peace group. This initiative complements existing programmes in the parish, including the excellent work of the St Vincent de Paul Society. Charity and justice are two sides of the same coin. It also operates within the framework of diocesan justice and peace network.
The Justice and Peace group aims to have a firm foundation in prayer and spirituality and a growing understanding of Catholic Social Teaching. Linked to this, is an on-going need to raise levels of awareness of the complexities of socio-economic and political factors that create injustice. Some may feel that the Church should not be involved in political issues. The Church certainly cannot be partisan, but we have no choice but to proclaim the Gospel and challenge violence and injustice. We are called to be prophetic in reading the signs of the times and reflecting on this in the context of on-going salvation history.
We are in fact called to:
“Act justly, love tenderly, walk humbly with God” (Micah 6:8)
The Justice and Peace group meets a number of times a year and welcomes ALL parishioners to journey with us. If you cannot come to every meeting, that is ok. If you cannot come to any meeting, please join us in prayer for justice and peace in our families, our community, our country and the world.