The archbishop of Brisbane and president of the Australian Bishops’ Conference, Msgr. Mark Coleridge, publicly supported the “Declaration of Uluru”, also taking on behalf of the Catholic Church – reports the Catholic news site CathNews – the commitment to help the native Australian populations in their requests. In May 2017, 250 Aboriginal delegates gathered in the First Nations National Constitutional Convention near Uluru and presented the Uluru Statement from the Heart to the Australian people. This historic declaration calls for the presence of a voice of the First Nations in parliament, enshrined in the constitution, as well as promoting a process for the drafting of agreements and the search for truth. The declaration is the culmination of the 13 Regional Deliberative Dialogues that have taken place across Australia between First Nations communities. The declaration aims to establish a relationship between the First Nations and the Australian nation based on truth, justice and self-determination. “Only a heart of stone could allow indigenous peoples to become aliens, exiles and refugees in their own land,” Archbishop Coleridge said during a mass celebrated for First Nations leaders and parish representatives at the Holy Spirituality Center. Teresa in Ormiston, east of Brisbane. “God will take that heart of stone away from us and give us a heart of flesh – the heart of Jesus … who recognizes the other as a human being,” he added. “What has been done to the indigenous peoples of this land could only be done by denying that they are human persons. A heart of flesh says no to this, absolutely not ”. The archbishop spoke a few days before the first assembly of the historic Australian Plenary Council of the Church which will begin on 3 October and which has placed in the Instrumentum Laboris (Working Document) of the Plenary Council the commitment of the Church to “To honor and recognize the continuing deep spiritual relationship of the aboriginal peoples and islanders of the Torres Strait with this country and commit ourselves to the continuous path of reconciliation”. Archbishop Coleridge held a public dialogue with Dean Parkin, son of the people of Quandamooka and signer of the Uluru Declaration. “The fundamental thing – he said – is to give a voice to those who have previously been unheard”.
Australia: Archbishop Coleridge’s support for Aboriginal demands contained in the “Uluru Declaration”