The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Social Justice Statement 2022-23 points out that the roots of domestic and family violence “lie in the abuse of power to control and dominate others” and that “this stands in contrast to the relationships to which God calls us”.
Our relationships should be “marked by equality and reciprocity rather than domination and violence, respect and freedom rather than coercion and control”.
We know that most often those who suffer violence and abuse in homes and families, in workplaces, and in communities, are women and children while the perpetrators are most often men. We support women in calling for respect in relationships; their lives and those of their children are sacred.
Respect: Confronting Violence and Abuse focuses in a special way on the problem of spiritual violence and abuse. It discusses how religious teachings – including our own – may be manipulated by perpetrators to excuse violence or to exert control over others.
Cultural factors in the Church and in society often also play an important role in the violence and abuse suffered in families, households, communities, and workplaces. This behaviour is sinful.
We believe that respect, dignity and justice, transformation and hope are possible.
The Statement affirms the work being done by faith communities and organisations to support those who experience domestic and family violence and abuse, and to address the drivers and enablers of violence. It points to further ways in which we can all respond to spiritual violence.
Finally, it calls for faith communities to support and believe those going through domestic and family violence and abuse, to hold perpetrators to account and work towards individual and social transformation.
All resources such as the liturgy notes and promotional material are now available.
A national gathering will take place later in the year. The statement will be available in electronic form and a small amount of hardcopies are available from the ACBC shop. A file suitable for commercial printing will be available for you to organise your own print run. Unlike last year, where a pre-order system was in place, this year we are encouraging you to arrange your own printing based on local needs. The Statement and a postcard sized prayer and action card that accompanies the Statement will be available electronically and in hard copy via the ACBC Online Shop.