Pope Francis’s encyclical seeks a new dialogue on shaping the future of the earth. Peter Whiting comments that this dialogue certainly needs to occur between those who shape high policy, such as national governments and the UN. But, just as urgently, it needs to occur at the level of individuals and groups. Particularly in a rich country such as Australia, we need to reflect as individuals on how we live and what is implied in an authentic style of living, reducing consumption of the earth’s gifts, and enhancing protection of the earth and of all who live on it.
Pope Francis is pulling no punches in his encyclical, On care for our common home, warning that we face catastrophic changes from global warming unless the world takes urgent action. Bruce Duncan writes that Francis is also strong in his criticism of neoliberal economics, which is failing to distribute resources justly, and is driving extreme inequalities in wealth. The Pope is calling for a new spirituality that everyone can embrace, respecting the earth as a precious gift to be treated with care and respect.
Pope Francis mentions the complex issues around population growth in developing countries, noting that problem poverty cannot be solved only by reducing birth rates. Len Puglisi examines the Pope’s views, and discusses population size in relation to resources, consumption, density, and location of populations.
King John signed the Magna Carta 800 years ago, and it remains a foundation document in the history of human rights and constraints on political power. In that context, former Judge John Hassett discusses the risk of the Australian government expanding Executive powers and the resultant diminution of the protection provided by the Parliament at the Judiciary.
Reports of human rights abuses, particularly in Nauru, and of cover-ups by the Australian government have raised great concern among refugee advocates. Nauru is now verging on becoming a dictatorship and a failed state, and the Australian government is introducing harsh new laws here to punish whistle-lowers about conditions in nauru. In addition, our government has failed to find a regional solution. Bruce Duncan looks to alternative proposals to manage refugee issues.
Environmental writer and activist, Geoff Lacey, considers the encyclical of Pope Francis very important in encouraging us to adjust our lifestyles and tread softly on the earth, in order to protect the environment for future generations. He suggests practical ways we can adopt to improve our care for the gifts of nature and our native wildlife. Geoff is the author of Sufficient for the day: towards a sustainable culture, available from our SPC office.
Dr Mick Pope & Professor Joe Camilleri
Pope Francis on ‘catastrophic’ climate change, world poverty, & social equity
Thursday 9 July 12:15-1:30pm
The Salvation Army Hall 69 Bourke Street Melbourne
Entry free; donation welcome to cover costs.
Download the flyer.
Dr Mick Pope is a trainer in Meteorology at the Bureau of Meteorology’s Melbourne Training Centre, an ecotheologian with the think tank Ethos Environment, and serves on the climate advisory board for TEAR. He is a regular contributor to Zadoc Perspectives and The Melbourne Anglican.
Joseph A Camilleri OAM is Emeritus Professor at La Trobe University, and former director of the Centre for Dialogue. He is currently managing director of Alexandria Agenda, a new venture in ethical consulting offering services in the areas of sustainability, diversity, and education. A Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences, he has written numerous journal articles and 25 books, including Worlds in Transition: Evolving Governance across a Stressed Planet (2009), co-authored with Jim Falk. Among his extensive activities, he helped found Pax Christi Australia as an ecumenical organisation, and chairs the Editorial Body of the scholarly journal Global Change, Peace, & Security. His personal blog can be read at www.josephcamilleri.org.
Renew your SPC membership 2015-2016, or become a member
Pope Francis & other prophetic voices: calling us to reshape the public sphere
Thursday 17 & Friday 18 September 2015
St Michael’s Uniting Church 120 Collins Street Melbourne
Youth Forum Wednesday 16 September 9am-5pm
Public Forum Thursday 17 September 7:30-10pm
People from all faith traditions respond to the need for change and hope in the world today. SPC is part of the group organising this conference.
Speakers include Fr Frank Brennan sj AO, Dr Rachael Kohn, Professor Patrick Dodson, Fr Jerry Rosario sj (India), and Dr Jenny Te Paa Daniel (New Zealand).
$125 for the Thursday and Friday conference, plus the Public Forum on Thursday evening.
Register here. Additional information on the program and registration.
Or go to Facebook at #ReshapingthePublicSphere.
Additional resources. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org | +61-2-9701-4176.
Ecological aspects of war: religious perspectives from Australia
Monday 28 September 2015 8:45am-5:30pm
Trinity College Theological School
Trinity College Royal Parade Parkville Melbourne
A one-day symposium on war and ecology in the multicultural and interfaith context of Australia.
Planet Earth as a Victim of War, keynote by Dr Jenny Grounds, vice-president of the Medical Association for Prevention of War.
Papers are in two streams : Engagement with sacred texts, and Religious and theological perspectives.
Registration $40 full fee, $30 concession.
Videoconferencing via Skype for Plenary and Stream 2.
Skype $15 (URL and password provided later).
Register before Friday 11 September
Convenors Keith Dyer and Anne Elvey (email@example.com).