Justice and Peace Commission
Action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appears to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the gospel or, in other words, of the church's mission for the redemption of the human race and its liberation from every oppressive situation.
- World Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World, 1971
Justice and Peace Commission
The Justice and Peace Commission, along with Bishop Pat Dunn and our universal Church, have a vision of action for social justice as integral to our following the Gospel as Catholic Christians. We help proclaim Jesus’ message of freedom and liberation by working for justice in our communities, nation and world. Our vision is shaped by the Scriptures; by a theology of justice, peace and integrity for creation; and by the Catholic social teaching of our Popes and Bishops.
Love – Caritas – is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace.
- Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate#1, 2009
The Commission helps the Bishop promote the social teaching of the Church in the areas of justice, peace and the integrity of creation. The Commission strives to live out God’s love by providing resources for justice awareness; initiating and publicising opportunities for action by parishes and individuals; monitoring public policy and making submission where appropriate to local and national bodies.
The Justice and Peace Commission welcomes you to learn about the Commission and its work, find resources for justice education in parishes, learn about justice issues and link to the work of other like-minded justice groups.
The Commission has working Committees in several areas. Current Committees are shown below.
The Commission also maintains a watch for news on other domestic justice issues and international issues.
Justice and Peace Commission Catholic Diocese of Auckland Newsletter : Click here to view.
...[D]ownsizing of social security systems [has] ... grave danger for the rights of workers, for fundamental human rights and for ... solidarity. [B]udgetary policies, with cuts in social spending often made under pressure from international financial institutions, can leave citizens powerless in the face of old and new risks ...
Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate #25, 2009
The Social Welfare / Anti-Poverty Committee originated with the concern of the Justice and Peace Commission over the recommendations by the government-appointed Welfare Working Group. That report (the Rebstock Report) assumed that most beneficiaries prefer to avoid work, and suggested increased use of sanctions and penalties.
The Committee aligned itself with the Alternative Welfare Working Group (initiated by Caritas, the Anglican Social Justice Commission and the Beneficiary Advocacy Federation), which begins with concern for fundamental human dignity and rights of each human being to an adequate standard of living. Recommendations include full and adequately-paid employment and higher welfare benefits in order to reduce currently unacceptable levels of poverty in New Zealand.
The Committee's work on children in New Zealand was based on the vulnerability of all children and adequate provision of support for their families. Issues of targetting vs universal programmes, inequality, taxation and others.
The Committee continues to focus on issues of inequality and welfare reform.
Convenor: Gretel Toleafoa
Shelter is one of our most fundamental needs. The dignity of each person requires that they live in an environment which provides stability and a sense of belonging. Lack of secure, adequate housing undermines family and personal stability and causes physical and mental illness.
- NZ Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Housing, 1983
The Affordability of Housing Committee advocates for affordable housing, particularly within the Auckland diocese.
It has gathered information on
- social and low-cost housing options;
- rental costs and consequences of overcrowding
- the housing policies of the political parties
The Committee is a member of the CHA – Community Housing Aotearoa Network. It is currently working on a scheme to offer temporary low rental housing to those in need.
Convenor: Norman Elliott
" With the tradition and teaching of the Church, we affirm 'that the right of the first occupants to land, and a social and political organisation which would allow them to preserve their cultural identity, while remaining open to others, must be guaranteed."
New Zealand Catholic Bishops, 1989, quoting the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, The Church and Racism, 1988
The Treaty of Waitangi Relationships Committee (formerly the Diocesan Bicultural Working Party) became part of the Justice and Peace Commission in 2015. Its aims are:
- To educate all members of the diocese in our commitment to honour the Treaty as a covenant and to a bicultural society and church; and
- To advocate for a bicultural nation.
Convenor: Kevin McBride
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures. You embrace with your tenderness all that exists. Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty. Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one. Amen.
This is the first part of Pope Francis’ prayer from “Laudato Si’”
The goal of the Environment and Sustainability Committee is to encourage awareness and action on environmental issues in parishes. This includes encouraging a spirituality which includes respect for the integrity of creation and increasing the understanding of Catholic social teaching on environment and sustainability among Catholics in the Diocese of Auckland.
Video with brief “Laudato Si’” hymn beautifully sung by a Franciscan Friar.
Father Michael Perry also includes the launch of the Laudato Si’ encyclical back in 2015 by Our Holy Father and reflects as a Franciscan on Laudato Si’. Video of Pope Francis speaking from the balcony of St Peter’s Cathedral in Rome 14th June 2015.
Our pamphlet “23 green Tips”:
Prayers for the Environment :
The Committee is open to new members. If you are interested in environmental issues, and have background in related areas, please Contact us with a few lines of information about your Church and community background and any experience in the issues of the Committee.
The committee currently has 5 active members. We meet on Saturday mornings 11am to 1pm about 7 times a year.
Convenor: Susanne Rehder Montgomerie
The Church teaches that human life begins at conception and lasts until we draw our final breath... Our responsibility extends to creating an environment within families and society where pregnant mothers are supported, children are made welcome and abortion is not seen as the only possibility in cases of forced and problematic pregnancies.
NZ Catholic Bishops’ Conference, A Consistent Ethic of Life -Te Kahu-O-Te-Ora, 1997
The Human Life Committee focuses on advocating for and educating toward the value of and respect for human life, particularly at its beginning and end.The Committee has:
Sent three members to The Euthanasia Debate: Why Now? conference in Wellington initiated by the Nathaniel Centre (The New Zealand Catholic Bio-ethics Centre) and Hospice New Zealand
Connected with other like-minded groups
- Promoted Respect for Life Sunday (2011, 2012) in parishes by providing posters, prayer of the faithful and other resources
- Planned and held (in conjunction with Euthanasia Debate NZ) the Euthanasia Debate Conference in June 2012 for about 100 people with international and national speakers
At present, the Committee is preparing background materials for parishes in the event that Euthanasia legislation is pulled from the ballot to go forward for a First Reading. It works closely with Euthanasia Debate NZ, see www.euthanasiadebate.org.nz
Convenor: Catherine Gillies
All of us, whether victims of crime, offenders, employees in the criminal justice system, family members or neighbours, are called to find paths to a justice system which reconciles; which rejects attitudes of revenge; which helps victims to heal and offenders to turn their lives around. It is the only true path to the security and safety that our society longs for.
- NZ Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Revenge or Reconciliation, 2009
The Crime & Reconciliation Committee aims to advocate for restorative justice for victims of crime and offenders. It also advocates for a prison system that focuses on prisoners’ habilitation, rehabilitation and integration into society.
The Committee has:
- Made a submission to the Department of Corrections on the proposal (now given government approval) for a men’s prison at Wiri, 2010
- Obtained letter of interest from the University of Auckland for carrying out long-term research on prison intake and rehabilitation success at the proposed Wiri prison
- Encouraged parishes through their Parish Social Justice Animators to take part in the Sisters of Mercy postcard campaign against the Wiri prison
At present the Committee is
- Researching habilitation/rehabilitation and reintegration programmes
- Plans a leaflet for parishes to increase understanding of the needs of released prisoners and how parishioners can help
Convenor: Joe Elliott
Peace is not merely the absence of war, and it is not limited to maintaining a balance of powers between adversaries. Peace cannot be attained on earth without safeguarding the goods of persons, free communication, respect for the dignity of persons and peoples, and the assiduous practice of fraternity...
"Peace for all is the fruit of justice for all, and no one can shirk this essential task of promoting justice, according to one’s particular areas of competence and responsibility. To the young, who have such a strong attachment to ideals, I extend a particular invitation to be patient and persevering in seeking justice and peace, in cultivating the taste for what is just and true, even when it involves sacrifice and swimming against the tide."
Pope Benedict XVI, World Day of Peace Message, 2012
The Peace and International Justice Committee was formed in May 2012. The Committee monitors justice and peace issues around the world, especially in developing countries. It also monitors transnational issues like trade, trafficking, refugees and asylum-seekers. It works in collaboration with Caritas and Pax Christi on issues of mutual interest.
If you have interest, experience or expertise in peace or international justice issues, and are passionate about the work of this committee and helping parishes to become aware of how to respond to these issues, please consider becoming a member of this Committee. Contact us with a few lines about your background in church and community, and any experience in the issues of concern to this Committee.
At present, it is researching environmental refugees in the Pacific.
Convenor : Philip Cass
"Once again we exhort our people to take an active part in public life, and to contribute towards the attainment of the common good of the entire human family as well as to that of their own country. They should endeavour, therefore, in the light of the Faith and with the strength of love, to ensure that the various institutions--whether economic, social, cultural or political in purpose -- should be such as not to create obstacles, but rather to facilitate or render less arduous people's perfecting of themselves both in the natural order as well as in the supernatural.”
Blessed John XXIII Pacem in Terris (#146)
The Committee focuses on advocacy in the following four areas from a justice point of view, in so far as the lack of effective regulation in these areas can lead to exploitation of people and destroy the efforts of vulnerable people to live dignified lives:
- the proliferation of commercial gambling outlets (‘pokie machines’),
- uncontrolled predatory lending (‘loan sharks’),
- the recent increase in the number of alcohol outlets with sales and marketing targeted at the young and
- the lack of regulation of prostitution particularly regarding the recruitment of young people into prostitution.
Convenor: John Wong
This section contains resources for use by individuals and groups interested in Catholic social teaching and social and environmental issues faced by our communities, nation and world.
Files provided are the work of the Justice and Peace Commission, unless otherwise attributed, while external links provide access to other sources of information.
Justice and Peace Commission Catholic Diocese of Auckland Newsletter: Click here to download or view
Social and Environmental Justice
- Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand information on Caritas development and humanitarian projects; resources, press releases
- Christchurch DIocesan Commission for Justice and Peace with newsletter Dignitas Humana - articles giving Catholic perspectives on social issues
- New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services
- Pax Christi NZ
- The Catholic Worker NZ
- Wellington Archdiocesan Justice & Peace
Parish Animators / Facilitators
- Encourage awareness of and action on behalf of justice issues in parishes
- Assist parishes in reflection on justice issues, Catholic social teaching, and in using resources and information provided by the Commission and its Committees, and Caritas
- Bring justice issues identified in parishes to the Commission.
The Commission has held meetings of Parish Animators in Whangarei and Auckland for formation and information. Parish Animators meet twice yearly with the Commission and Committee members for a full morning on two Saturdays each year.