Most Reverend Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv DD STL, Bishop of Parramatta
Address at the Ninth Bishop Joe Grech Memorial Colloquium on Ethics and Migration
“Nurturing a Culture of Encounter and Hospitality”
Brisbane, 5 August 2019
PART 4: CONCLUSION
It is fortuitous that today I am a spokesperson for the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference on social justice and particularly refugee issues. In recent times, I have found myself a critic of the Australian government’s policy of indefinitely detaining asylum seekers, including proven refugees, on Manus Island and Nauru.
It is my hope that the Church, both local and universal, especially with the leadership of Pope Francis can be the voice for the voiceless and advocate for their rights and human dignity.
All of us the baptised are called to be agents of the Gospel, leaven and yeast for the world. The boundary-breaking spirit of Jesus spurs us on to go against the prevalent culture, not for the sake of civil dissent but for justice, dignity and the common good.
As Christians, we cannot remain content with status quo, especially when that status quo is less than what God wants for us as individuals and as a community.
Australia is a wonderful country but where it is in terms of its treatment of asylum seekers should galvernise us into action. We cannot be his disciples if we ignore the plight of the marginalised and the vulnerable. We cannot be salt and leaven if we allow our Christian conscience to be desensitised by the inequality, injustice and inhumanity in our society and in the world.
With the men and women of goodwill, let us build a better Australia and a better world. May our endeavour to replace the culture of fear and indifference with that of encounter and acceptance be brought to fulfillment in accordance with God’s vision of the fullness of life for all humanity.
Most Rev Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv
Bishop of Parramatta
Chair of the Bishops Commission for Social Justice: Service and Mission
To read Part 3 of Bishop Vincent’s address, click here.
To read the full text of Bishop Vincent’s address, click here.