In late March Archbishop Fisher OP spoke at the Catholic Business Network lunch about the nature of our democracy and the role institutions of various persuasions should play in making it healthy, robust and alive with courteous debate. One of the major points he made was to note that the Church has a proper role to play in social justice issues, such as eradicating the unfathomable scourge of human slavery and trafficking. It is right, indeed necessary, for a Christian institution like ours to play a key role and be vocal leaders in the public square on issues like these that are an affront to human dignity. More than this though, Archbishop Anthony followed up his comments by saying it is not enough for us merely to talk about issues and exhort others to action, but to be leaders and take action ourselves. He then made real and tangible commitments for the Sydney Archdiocese to do its part in helping to eradicate slavery and trafficking. He said:
‘I announce today that the Archdiocese of Sydney will take the following practical measures:
- We will review and revise all relevant contractual and business practice documentation, including the Archdiocese’s Guide for Business Practice, to highlight the Church’s commitment to eradicating human trafficking.
- We will as far as possible only purchase slavery-proofed products and services, and as far as possible only contract with firms who certify that their goods are not tainted by human trafficking.
- We will maintain a register of suppliers who have given such certification regarding their goods and services, and ensure that our chancery, parishes, schools, agencies and affiliates understand this new Archdiocesan policy.
- We will establish an Archdiocesan Anti-slavery Taskforce with a mandate: to promote this new ethical procurement policy throughout the Archdiocese; to prepare resources and conduct programmes for the Catholic faithful and other people of good will about eradicating human trafficking; to devote energies of the Archdiocesan Office of Justice and Peace, parishes, schools and other agencies to educate and campaign to end human trafficking; and to partner with and support the work of Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans and other organisations, particularly in their mission to assist victims of human trafficking.
- We will work with other dioceses and congregations of the Catholic Church, with leaders of Catholic education, health and aged care and welfare services, with our international Church contacts, with leaders and agencies of other churches and religions, with our friends in the business and labour sectors, and with the civic authorities, to support each other’s efforts to eradicate human trafficking.
This will be a tangible expression of faith, hope and compassion-in-action in public life. There should be many more’.
Our Church here in Australia and across the world has been working on this issue in many ways for many years and we are looking forward to helping Archbishop Anthony make the Sydney Archdiocese a leader in compassionate action in this area.
To read the full address given by Archbishop Anthony click here.
To learn more about slavery and the Church’s work in this area visit, Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking (ACRATH).
We also have some resources to help you learn more and get involved. If you, your parish or social justice group would like more information or support to get involved, or if you would like to share about your work in this area please get in touch with us! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Phone: 02 9307 8465