The 2024 Catholic Social Services National Conference at the Catholic Leadership Centre in East Melbourne aims to strengthen and advance our shared work in Catholic social services as part of the social mission of the Church – connecting with colleagues across social services, health, parishes and education. It provides a moment to share expertise, and take pause to think and imagine our place within a broader mission.
This conference desires to contribute to creating true communities out of a common effort for the common good.
Its keynotes and workshops will include focus on our theme:
For Pope Francis, everything is interconnected and justice is ecological, inclusive of both social and environmental justice. All our relationships are sustained within our common home. A true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear “both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”
No matter our differences, we share a common humanity. There is more that unites us than divides us. People have shared needs for thriving – social, spiritual and material needs. It is important that we hold the opportunity to build relationships and cooperation with others who see the world differently, and in a spirit of solidarity find ways to support each other — no matter age, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, political beliefs, race, religion, nationality or marital status — so that all may flourish.
Now is a time for reinvigorating the politics of the common good. The Common Good and the “greater good” can be confused. They are very different. The utilitarian approach of “the greatest good for the greatest number” exists in contrast to the principle of human dignity which lies at the heart of a Catholic ethic. All people are inherently valuable and unique. This requires that we do not reduce them to a mere statistic.
The common good incorporates the principle of a preferential option for the poor. This “is an uncompromising and unequivocal taking of sides in a situation of structural conflict. It is not a matter of preaching to some people rather than to others, or a matter of being generous to the ‘under-privileged’, or a judgment about the personal guilt of the rich, or even, in the first instance, a matter of life-style. It is the assertion that Christian faith entails, for everyone and as part of its essence, the taking of sides in the structural conflict between the oppressor and the oppressed” (Albert Nolan OP).
The 2024 Conference provides an opportunity for future leaders (<30) to participate via a two for one ticket. Leadership, governance and program staff will all benefit from the program. We look forward to seeing you there.
The program includes:
Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv
Professor Mark Considine AM
Dr Julie Edwards, OAM
Mary MacKillop Oration – Conference Dinner (Wednesday 21 February 2024)
Ms Claire Victory