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11RE - Social Justice Issues: Home

This guide contains resources relating to social justice issues, particularly poverty in Australia.

What is social justice?

Social justice is defined as "...promoting a just society by challenging injustice and valuing diversity." It exists when "all people share a common humanity and therefore have a right to equitable treatment, support for their human rights, and a fair allocation of community resources." In conditions of social justice, people are "not be discriminated against, nor their welfare and well-being constrained or prejudiced on the basis of gender, sexuality, religion, political affiliations, age, race, belief, disability, location, social class, socioeconomic circumstances, or other characteristic of background or group membership" (Toowoomba Catholic Education, 2006).

Appalachian State University, 2016.

What are some social justice issues In Australia?

Confronting Racism

“… social or cultural discrimination in basic personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, colour, social conditions, language, or religion must be curbed and eradicated as contrary to God’s design.”

Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, n 29

Economic Justice

Workplace Justice | Trade Justice | World Poverty | Social security

‘Within an unjust economic system marked by significant structural inequities, the situation of the marginalised is daily becoming worse. Today, in many parts of the world, people are starving, while in other places there is opulence.’

Pope John Paul II, World Food Day, 16 October 2003


‘Nature thus becomes a gospel which speaks to us of God: “from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator” (Wis 13: 5).’

Pope John Paul II, General Audience, 26 January, 2000

Justice for Indigenous People and Reconciliation

‘In a nation that enjoys a vibrant economy, where governments boast of their careful financial management, the question remains: why have we not been able to eliminate these dire circumstances from the everyday experience of many Indigenous people?’

The Heart of Our Country: Dignity and justice for our Indigenous brothers and sisters
Social Justice Sunday Statement 2006

Justice, Prison and the Death Penalty

'We strongly advocate and work for justice that restores, heals and protects; a justice that makes the offenders accountable for what they have done; a justice that provides restitution to the victims who are most of the time ignored and forgotten by the current justice system; a justice that engages the community in facilitating the healing process, thus leading to the re-integration of the victim and the offender to the community.'

International Commission of Catholic Prison Pastoral Care (2007), Rome Congress 2007 Declaration


‘Peace, however, is not merely a gift to be received: it is also a task to be undertaken. In order to be true peacemakers, we must educate ourselves in compassion, solidarity, working together, fraternity ...’

Pope Benedict XVI, Message for the World Day of Peace, 2012 (# 5)

Political engagement and public life

‘For the lay faithful, political involvement is a worthy and demanding expression of the Christian commitment of service to others.’

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, n. 565

Refugees and asylum seekers

‘... a wound which typifies and reveals the imbalances and conflicts of the modern world: the millions of refugees whom war, natural calamities, persecution and discrimination of every kind have deprived of home, employment, family and homeland.’

Pope John Paul II, Encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis n. 38.

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, 2016.

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