Supporting Australia's First Peoples is a year-round task

Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green says the Church must play its role in working towards true reconciliation (NATSICC)

The Church marked Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday last weekend, but the task of supporting Indigenous communities is one we must tackle each day, writes Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green OSPPE. Source: ACBC Media Blog.

“Love your neighbour as you love yourself”. That’s a commandment not often repeated in public debates, perhaps because it seems obvious. Perhaps also because it is difficult.

But could it be that the reason non-indigenous Australians have not achieved reconciliation with Australia’s First Nations people is we don’t love each other enough?

Recent protests in Australia resulting from the killing of George Floyd have highlighted the continuing fracture in our community.

I’m not questioning the goodwill of the non-Aboriginal community. I’m not saying we haven’t made some progress, nor that there is not a huge distance we must still travel.

The vast majority of people want the good of Australia’s First Peoples. But how can we better understand the grievances and the hurt of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community? What are we willing to sacrifice to achieve reconciliation? How can we love each other more?

Families are great places to learn about love. Yes, there are dysfunctional and violent families, but most are wonderful places of sacrifice and compassion. Most parents love their kids even if they struggle to understand them, even if they disagree. As kids grow up, they end up making the same concessions for their parents because they love them.

How can we make Australia more like a loving family, where we’re not scoring points against each other, but we’re truly desperate for the wellbeing of all our brothers and sisters?

Distance and isolation mean many non-indigenous Australians don’t know anyone who is Aboriginal, particularly an Aboriginal person who is struggling. It is much harder to love people we don’t know. It is much easier to forget the problems they face when we don’t see them.

Sadly, the Catholic Church has been part of the problem at times in our country’s past. But I am convinced that we must be part of a present solution – guided by our Indigenous brothers and sisters and in collaboration with many others.


Supporting Australia’s First Peoples is a year-round task (ACBC Media Blog)

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