Australian bishops applaud national apology to Indigenous peoples

.- Australia’s Catholic bishops, Catholic agencies, and religious orders are supporting a long-awaited apology to the “Stolen Generations,” the indigenous people removed from their families under past government policies, CathNews reports.

Writing on February 13 on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC), conference president Bishop Philip Wilson called the National Apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples an “historic and prophetic moment in the life of the Australian nation.”

Bishop Wilson said, “Australia is a stronger nation today for having had the humility to say we are sorry that past policies were unjust and wrong, even when they were carried out with good intentions according to the prevailing attitudes of the era.”

The bishop recalled the ACBC’s own 1998 statement asking victims’ forgiveness for the Church’s participation in the government policies and promising support for indigenous peoples. 

Referring to the National Statement, the bishop said, “Having arrived at this point of healing, we must not fall into the trap of thinking that reconciliation is complete and our obligations as a nation are fulfilled.”

Bishop Wilson called for an increase in efforts to improve the “practical circumstances of our Indigenous brothers and sisters,” in “full consultation and collaboration with Indigenous communities.”  He pledged the Church’s continued assistance to helping Indigenous peoples so that all Australians can live “in peace and unity, with dignity and mutual respect.”

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