OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA - Immigrants are a grace for Australia

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Sydney (Agenzia Fides) - "Immigrants are a grace for Australia." This is what was affirmed by Archbishop Philip Wilson, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference – bravely going against the current of opinion that sees immigration as a cause of crime and social unrest - before an audience of over 100 specialists, experts and pastoral workers, gathered in Sydney in recent days.
As the local church tells Fides, in the meeting, which analyzed the pastoral challenges facing the Catholic community in the phenomenon of immigration, the Archbishop noted that "the increasing ethnic and cultural diversity of the Catholic community in Australia requires a rethinking of some key positions on the identity of the Catholic Church in the country."
Bishop Wilson called his audience on to accepting the responsibility of welcoming those who arrive in Australian territory, fleeing intolerable situations of war, hunger, and violence, and added: “There is a two-fold challenge for the Catholic Church in Australia: firstly, to look after the needs of the new arrivals. The numerical consistency (of new arrivals), geographical dispersion and, most of all, their socio-cultural cohesion or lack of it will test the ingenuity of pastoral workers. Secondly, the increasing ethnic and cultural diversity of at least half of the Australian Catholic population calls for a re-thinking of the theoretical and practical assumptions about the identity of the Catholic Church that is in Australia,” which can benefit and innovate through the contribution and the faith of young and enthusiastic Catholic immigrants from Asia and Latin America. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 14/11/2009)