OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA - The Church's commitment to stem suicides among Aboriginal youth

Friday, 21 June 2019 indigenous   human rights   development   solidarity   bishops  

Sydney (Agenzia Fides) - "Suicide is often the last straw in a build up of unhappiness and pain. Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have suffered dispossession, displacement, violence of various types and much more. So often others have determined for them what they considered to be the best for them. The tragedy of the large number of suicides among our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, especially the young, calls us to action: This is a sad and unacceptable reality. For us Christians, Jesus came to bring life to the fullest. He is calling us to work together with love and respect, and to never give up trying to find the best way forward away from this tragic and unnecessary ending of life". This is what the Australian Catholic Bishops say in their annual message for the Sunday dedicated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples, which will be held on 7 July. The pastoral Letter, sent to Agenzia Fides, stresses the need for "greater collaboration to stem the terrible loss of life caused by suicide", an increasingly widespread phenomenon within these communities.
In the message, the Bishops' Conference recalls that "there are already many realities working for this purpose, including various layers of government, community and Church organizations, and other groups", which, however, encounter a difficulty: "We need to avoid the trap of trying to ‘resolve’ issues for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people! We must safeguard the principle of self-determination. We can walk alongside in loving support but avoid any temptation to come in with quick solutions imposed from outside".
The purpose can be pursued, according to the Bishops, following 5 key principles: "Need to work together so as to maximize positive results; the principle of self-determination must be truly respected; the common good must be at the heart of all endeavours; all must be motivated by respect and without selfinterest; prevention as well as ‘cure’ are both necessary". A part of the letter was included in a video, published on the main social networks of Catholic networks, in order to ensure a widespread distribution of the message. (LF) (Agenzia Fides, 21/6/2019)