Archbishop Mark Coleridge has spoken about racism in Australia and has stressed the importance of journeying with our indigenous brothers and sisters.
In a video released by Evangelisation Brisbane, Archbishop Coleridge, the Archbishop of Brisbane and the president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, speaks with Evangelisation Brisbane’s Reconciliation Action Plan officer Cynthia Rowan, a Birra Gubba woman.
The pair discuss topics such as the recent Black Lives Matter movement, relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and the efforts that the Archdiocese are undertaking to promote Reconciliation.
“In recent times all of us were shocked to the core by the images we saw from Minneapolis of the dying and death of George Floyd. These sorts of things have happened before but we’d never seen it quite like this and we’d never heard words like ‘I can’t breathe’, they couldn’t be simpler but they’ve echoed right around the world and in the heart of anyone who saw those images and in the heart of many more who haven’t seen the images,” Archbishop Coleridge said.
“George Floyd is the name that we now all know, but he’s not the only one who’s suffered like this. George Floyd isn’t just an individual, he’s come to represent, as it were, a whole people and a radical injustice being done that is an affront, in fact, to the human family.
“The phrase that we’ve often heard in these recent days is that we have reached a tipping point – not just in the USA, certainly there – but around the world, in dealing with this running sore, kind of a cancer, at the heart of the human family, a cancer that we call racism,” he said.
When asked about what the right thing for the Church to be doing in regards to indigenous people, Cynthia explained that it is about recognition and respect.
“We come to the table as equals, and that has been the core of the problem. It’s about having that respectful relationship, and it’s respecting the diversity that there’s all this wealth of knowledge and spirituality that Aboriginal people could bring to the table, and also in sharing with different cultures within our parishes.
“It is so exciting, and there’s so much potential when you look at what is Australia today. It’s not about adopting someone else’s culture, it’s about that understanding, that respect, and it’s about navigating respectfully that relationship. Like any relationship, you have to work at it, you have to be respectful, you have to engage, and create opportunities to move forward,” she said.
With thanks to Evangelisation Brisbane.