Title

Bishop of Broome challenges commitment to Reconciliation

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Spring 10-16-2006

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle

Publication Place

Fremantle

Abstract

Notre Dame’s Fremantle Campus hosted a ‘Conversation with the Bishop of Broome’ in October. The Most Rev Christopher Saunders had recently returned from the ‘Dreaming of the Heart Conference’ in Alice Springs. The conference commemorated the 20 th Anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s address to Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander People. Pope John Paull ll’s speech has been referred to as one of the most subversive speeches of the 20 th century.

Bishop Saunders reflected on his own experiences with Indigenous people over his 32 years in the Kimberley region. He challenged the audience to consider what they as Christians can do to help Aboriginal communities feel less alienated in society.

“There are still great problems being experienced in the areas of education and health. The infant mortality rate is still high. We are moving towards the path of reconciliation, but there is still a lot to be done,” Bishop Saunders said.

“We need to have visions for the future and face social justice issues that hold people back. Is our love for aboriginal people strong enough to jump over hurdles? Can we love each other enough to make Australia a reconciled country?” he asked.

Bishop Saunders shared with the audience his experiences of growing up and working amongst Aboriginal people. He said he always felt the injustice and saw it as part of his and the Church’s duty to change this.

“We need to include indigenous people in our Church, make them feel comfortable by allowing them to maintain their integrity and cultural identity as Aboriginal people,” Bishop Saunders said.

Bishop Saunders is only the second Bishop of Broome and is also the Chair of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council.