Australian SVDP and Social Justice

by | May 7, 2011 | Vincentian Family

From the website of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Australia When we speak about social justice we go to the heart of what the St Vincent de Paul Society stands for.

We follow the teachings of the Scriptures: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, protect the rights of those who are helpless. Speak out and pronounce a sentence of justice, defend the cause of the wretched and the poor.” (Proverbs 31:8-9)

We are called, as Vincentians, to feed, clothe, house and assist our brothers and sisters who are forced onto the margins of society.

We are also called to ask why they are left out and pushed out?

Our Cofounder, Blessed Frederic Ozanam said “Charity is the oil being poured on the wounded traveller. But it is the role of justice to prevent the attack.” In asking the simple question about the causes of injustice we issue a prophetic call to all people of good will to work creatively to build equality and justice into our society.

Especially through our national and state councils we give voice to those who are voiceless, standing with them and advocating for them.

As Vincentians we do not close our eyes to the growing division in Australia and the world between the increasingly prosperous and the increasingly poor.

The accumulation of wealth on the one hand is connected with the accumulation of poverty on the other, characterized by race, gender, age, disability, mental and physical illness, forced migration, homelessness, unemployment, insecure and poorly paid work and declining levels of social security and public infrastructure.

We seek to share both bread and hope with our brothers and sisters, recognising Christ in their painful stories and witnessing to the Good News of justice and compassion.

They entrust a little of their lives to us. We honour this trust by speaking the truth of their stories and calling on the people of our nation to address the structural causes of poverty and inequality.

The Society’s focus on Social Justice has facilitated research into issues relating to homelessness, poverty, disaster relief, health, as well as campaigning for basic human rights for migrants and refugees and people with disabilities and those experiencing a mental illness.

 

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