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The Catholic Social Justice Series Papers offer theological and social thought on various topics. The opinions expressed in the Papers do not necessarily reflect the policies of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council. These papers are published to provide information and to stimulate public discussion.

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International orders are welcome. To confirm your order from outside Australia please contact the ACSJC Secretariat here to arrange your payment.

CSJS 78 cover78. Putting People First: Pastoral letters for the Feast of St Joseph the Worker 2010–2015 Bishop Christopher Saunders, with an introduction by Paul Smyth
This publication brings together a collection of the Pastoral Letters written by Bishop Christopher Saunders, who for many years was the Chairman of the ACSJC. 

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Putting People First: Pastoral Letters for the Feast of St Joseph the Worker 2010-2015 provides an invaluable record of the significant issues relating to work and justice in that five-year period: the global financial crisis; the Northern Territory ‘intervention’ and the future of remote communities; the Insecure Work inquiry of the ACTU; and the public outcry at the inadequacy of allowances for the unemployed and sole parents. The letters include succinct and accurate summaries of the arguments with sufficient, reliable statistics. Professor Paul Smyth provides an extensive introduction to the series paper.

Beauty and Our Biblical Calling to Peace, Justice and Sustainability77. Beauty and Our Biblical Calling to Peace, Justice and Sustainability Patrick McCormick
‘At the heart of the Bible is a divine invitation to build and become just and peaceful communities. Throughout the Bible God repeatedly calls us to transform ourselves into communities practicing hospitality to the needy, friendship to the alien, service to the lowly and care to all creation. And in the Bible beauty is at the heart of our divine vocation to build just, peaceful and sustainable communities.’ (Patrick McCormick)

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In this paper Professor McCormick explores the Biblical account of the Creation and its vision of a rich and bountiful world in which we are called to live as responsible and loving members of a community, caring for and cherishing our world and all that lives in it. He shows how the teaching and actions of Jesus bring this vision to its culmination to become our Christian mission.

I was in prison: A window into prison ministry76. I was in prison: A Window into Prison Ministry Ruth Webber
A dedicated group of prison chaplains and volunteers carry out vital work inside the walls and fences of Australia's prisons, as well as helping inmates after they serve their sentences.

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Their selfless efforts are often unrecognised. This paper goes behind the prison walls to redress this shortfall in understanding, with a comprehensive review of prison ministry based on interviews with chaplains and volunteers, prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families. Catholic Prison Ministry gives prisoners back some of the dignity they lose when they enter prison and offers them hope and an opportunity for personal reflection accompanied by emotional, spiritual and Sacramental support.

75. Justice in the name of God Gerard Moore75. Justice in the name of God Gerard Moore
Author Gerard Moore describes this paper as ‘an attempt to revisit the theology of God as a God of justice’ and asks: ‘Where does justice fit as we contemplate the nature of God?’

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Time and again in the Bible we come across the concepts of ‘name’ and ‘word’. People of our time hear and read these concepts so often in Scripture and in the liturgy that it is very easy not to ask what their deeper meaning is. In part, this is because in today’s society, ‘word’ and ‘name’ do not have the significance they had for the ancient peoples of the Eastern Mediterranean. For them, the name of God went with the idea of justice, and the prophets, in taking up the call to justice, did so in God’s name: the two are inseparable. In the Gospel of John, the Incarnation is described in a profound way: the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. This paper surveys the prophets as messengers of God’s ideal of justice and shows how this mission culminates in the mission of Jesus himself.

74. Time to draw the line - Finding a just settlement between Australia and Timor-Leste Frank Brennan SJ74. Time to draw the line - Finding a just settlement between Australia and Timor-Leste Frank Brennan SJ
Beneath the Timor Sea vast deposits of oil and gas lie between Australia, Timor-Leste and Indonesia. Who has a just claim to those resources? What does international law say about them? What are Australians’ obligations as citizens of the world?

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Fr Frank Brennan tries to outline some answers to these questions in this latest Series paper, a sequel to his 2004 paper ‘The Timor Sea’s Oil and Gas: What’s Fair?’ He writes: ‘This paper attempts to explain the issue so that Australians of good will can reach a conclusion about the best way forward for any Australian government committed to justice, transparency and good neighbourly behaviour.’ What can we learn from the teaching of Christ and his Church as we grapple with these questions? Frank Brennan sets out the facts calmly and clearly and points us towards some ways forward.

73. Where do we stand? With whom do we stand? - People with disability and the call of Jesus Patrick McArdle and Patricia Mowbray73. Where do we stand? With whom do we stand? - People with disability and the call of Jesus Patrick McArdle and Patricia Mowbray
This paper explores the issue of disability and asks what we as Christians are called to do for our brothers and sisters.

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Too often, the authors argue, those who live with a disability are ignored or shunned by our society. In fact, they say, we all live in precarious and vulnerable situations and unless we appreciate and confront our own vulnerabilities and are willing to enter into true relationship with those living with disability, we will struggle to recognise them as fully human in the way Jesus did.

72. Charity and Justice: St Mary MacKillop and Australian Society John Warhurst72. Charity and Justice: St Mary MacKillop and Australian Society John Warhurst
The paper highlights St Mary’s unswerving vision: that a commitment to justice must go hand in hand with a commitment to hard practical work on behalf of people on the margins of society.

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This paper draws on presentations at a conference on the life, work and legacy of Mary MacKillop that was organised by Catholic Social Services Victoria, MacKillop Family Services,the Sisters of St Joseph, the Australian Catholic University and the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry. He also draws on the 2011 CSSA McCosker oration by Sr Anne Derwin RSJ.

71. Take Off Your Shoes, Walk on the Ground: The journey towards reconciliation in Australia Lyn Henderson-Yates, Brian McCoy SJ, Melissa Brickell71. Take Off Your Shoes, Walk on the Ground: The journey towards reconciliation in Australia Lyn Henderson-Yates, Brian McCoy SJ, Melissa Brickell
The 2008 National Apology to the Stolen Generations was a great achievement.

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It showed us how much work is still to be done, say three noted writers on issues affecting Indigenous people. The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council has issued this collection of essays to mark the 2012 anniversary of the Apology to the Stolen Generations on 13 February.

70. Reading The Signs of the Times: A basic introduction to Catholic social teaching John Ferguson, Helen Kearins RSM and David Brennan70. Reading The Signs of the Times: A basic introduction to Catholic social teaching John Ferguson, Helen Kearins RSM and David Brennan
It is hoped that this resource will make some basic aspects of Catholic social teaching accessible to ordinary Catholics.

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The year 2011 marked the 50th anniversary of Pope John XXIII’s encyclical Mater et Magistra. To mark this occasion, the ACSJC has issued a collection of short discussion guides on Mater et Magistra and a number of other important social justice encyclicals: Rerum Novarum (Pope Leo XIII, 1891), Quadragesimo Anno (Pope Pius XI, 1931), Octogesima Adveniens (Pope Paul VI, 1971), Laborem Exercens (Pope John Paul II, 1981) and Centesimus Annus (Pope John Paul II, 1991).

In addition to these discussion guides, there is an outline of the well-known see, judge, act method (sometimes known as the ‘pastoral cycle’) that was devised by Cardinal Joseph Cardijn, and a discussion of some of the basic principles of Catholic social teaching.

69. The Love that Surprises: Lessons from Timor-Leste Mark Green69. The Love that Surprises: Lessons from Timor-Leste Mark Green
Mark Green's work for Caritas Australia in Timor-Leste in remote communities prompted him to think deeply about the concrete reality of Catholic social teaching.

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The paper also discusses Timor's society, language and history, including the disastrous years of occupation and the struggle for independence. Its title is inspired by Pope Benedict's encyclical Caritas in Veritate: '… in the love that we receive there is always an element that surprises us'.

68. Mercy and Justice Embrace: Towards an Australian mosaic Marie Farrell RSM68. Mercy and Justice Embrace: Towards an Australian mosaic Marie Farrell RSM
Sr Marie Farrell considers the vast range of people and organisations working for justice in today's Church in Australia. Together, she says, they make up a mosaic of social justice.

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Her survey covers a vast range of works of mercy and justice and leads to the mystery of the Eucharist, the symbol of God's bond with humanity. In that sacrament, she points out, we are brought together as one people, coming as pilgrims to Christ's great gift to us which is embodied in the Eucharistic meal.

67. Women in the Catholic Church in Australia: Reflections on Woman and Man Ten Years On Kimberly Davis, Helen Mary Peters RSM, Sonia Wagner SGS, Therese Vassarotti, Tricia Walsh, Beth Doherty, Kari Hatherell, Geraldine Hawkes, Sandie Cornish67. Women in the Catholic Church in Australia: Reflections on Woman and Man Ten Years On Kimberly Davis, Helen Mary Peters RSM, Sonia Wagner SGS, Therese Vassarotti, Tricia Walsh, Beth Doherty, Kari Hatherell, Geraldine Hawkes, Sandie Cornish
A collection of essays by women in varied areas of Church life.

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It reflects on developments since the release of the 1999 report 'Woman and Man: One in Christ Jesus' and the 2000 response of the Catholic Bishops of Australia. This is one of a number of initiatives, 10 years on, supporting continued discussion on the contribution of women to the life of the Church.

66. Work and Dignity: Pastoral Letters for the Feast of St Joseph the Worker 1998-2009 Bishops Manning, Brennan, Morris and Saunders66. Work and Dignity: Pastoral Letters for the Feast of St Joseph the Worker 1998-2009 Bishops Manning, Brennan, Morris and Saunders
This paper provides a series of reflections on Catholic social teaching on work and its place in public and personal life.

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It considers responses to issues that were current at the time – including the 1998 waterfront dispute and the introduction of WorkChoices. Themes in these letters include the nature of a just wage and the vital link between fair pay and family life; the importance of trade unions in the working life of a society; and the wider significance of work in the community.

65. Refugees and Australia's Response: Politics, morality and the way forward David Holdcroft SJ65. Refugees and Australia's Response: Politics, morality and the way forward David Holdcroft SJ
The Rudd Government has dismantled much of the 'Pacific solution'. But what should Australia's response to refugees be now?

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This timely publication by Fr David Holdcroft, former Director of Jesuit Refugee Services Australia, attempts to answer that question and to put it into moral and historical context. He explores the legal definition of a refugee, discusses the moral and theological questions surrounding the issue, traces the history of Australia's response to the challenge and proposes an ethical and practical approach for the future.

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64. A God Merciful and Gracious: Justice and mercy in the Old Testament Mark O'Brien OP64. A God Merciful and Gracious: Justice and mercy in the Old Testament Mark O'Brien OP
The Covenant established with the people of God and a special concern for the widow and the orphan are significant scriptural aspects of justice.

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However, the Old Testament's account of justice is often regarded as full of God's anger and vengeance. Fr O'Brien considers the challenges and obligations faced at the time: the challenge to establish a coherent law and theology, the constant threat of violence from neighbouring superpowers, God's covenant with his people, rivals to the covenant, and the prophetic contribution reintegrating justice and mercy into the life of the community.

CSJS-63-cover63. Towards a More Just World: The social mission of the Church and new Catholic approaches Duncan MacLaren63. Towards a More Just World: The social mission of the Church and new Catholic approaches Duncan MacLaren
Duncan brings more than 25 years' experience with NGOs to his examination of how the Church can confront new problems concerning social justice and human rights.

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He emphasises that the ministry of serving society, human dignity and human rights is intrinsic to the Church's mission and life – not a sideline. He analyses what elements make such organisations 'Catholic', and discusses how those who work for them might live out the example and teachings of Christ. He then goes on to examine the ways in which Catholic social teaching grows and refines as it confronts new developments in the world, and gives some examples of emerging circumstances that could require new directions in our social mission.

62. Palestine and Israel: 60 years of refugees, war and suffering Peter Manning62. Palestine and Israel: 60 years of refugees, war and suffering Peter Manning
In this paper, journalist and author Peter Manning gives a comprehensive account of the issues behind the Middle East conflict that won't go away.

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The year 2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the partition of Palestine and the founding of Israel. Peter begins with an analysis of the importance of the region in international affairs, and the central place it holds in the minds and hearts of Christians, Jews and Muslims. He then outlines the circumstances in which Israelis and Palestinians live, and the history of the conflict that has scarred the region for the last 60 years. Finally, the author describes the position of the Church and statements by Christian leaders, and suggests some directions in which we might look for a just settlement and some ways in which Australians can become involved in the peace-building process.

61. Confronting the Death Penalty: People, politics and principle Michael Costigan, Peter Norden SJ, Brian Deegan, Andrew Byrnes61. Confronting the Death Penalty: People, politics and principle Michael Costigan, Peter Norden SJ, Brian Deegan, Andrew Byrnes
Confronting the Death Penalty is a collection of essays by four distinguished authors.

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Dr Michael Costigan examines the moral and historical dimensions of the death penalty relating to Catholic social teaching. Mr Brian Deegan describes his grief over the loss of his son in the Bali bombing and his conviction that the death penalty is inhuman, even for his son's murderers. Fr Peter Norden SJ speaks of his community's support for the family of Van Tuong Nguyen, who was executed in Singapore. Professor Andrew Byrnes examines the legal implications of the death penalty and the attitudes of Australian police, governments and political parties.

60. Trauma and Forgiveness: Lessons from South Africa and East Timor Mark Byrne60. Trauma and Forgiveness: Lessons from South Africa and East Timor Mark Byrne
Lately, we have become more aware of the terrible effects of violence and brutality on individuals and society. Strategies for healing the wounds left by violence include the seeking of 'transitional justice' and setting up truth commissions.

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These strategies are examined in this paper. Dr Byrne looks at the theory and reality of truth commissions in South Africa and East Timor and examines the roles of Archbishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa and Xanana Gusmão in Timor-Leste.

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