Published: October 15, 2023

Let us continue the Journey of
Healing and Reconciliation

My dear brothers and sisters,

Further to my video message below, this is a statement (Beyond the referendum, it’s time for a new beginning), which is going Australia-wide from me as Chair of the Bishops Commission for Relations with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander People.

I am conscious of how relevant this is for us living here in the NT especially since so many members of our Church family are First Nations People whom we deeply love and value.

We hold each other in prayer and love.

Yours in Christ,

+Charles

Published: September 26, 2023

Bishop Charles Gauci Expresses His Support for a 'Yes' Vote in the Upcoming Referendum on the Voice

Dear Friends, Brothers, and Sisters,

For some time now, I have been convinced that I will cast a ‘Yes’ vote in the upcoming Referendum on the Voice.

I am well aware that not everyone will share my perspective, and I wholeheartedly respect the right of others to hold differing opinions. I will never presume to dictate how you should vote; you must follow your own conscience and convictions. My decision has been reached after careful and prayerful reflection on the teachings of the Gospel.

It’s crucial to recognize that a ‘Yes’ vote will not resolve all issues at once. Instead, I view it as another vital step toward healing and reconciliation. It fundamentally signifies the inherent dignity of our First Nations people.

Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters had no say in the colonisation of their land being declared terra nullius. They had no voice when their lands were taken from them, and many of their family and social structures deliberately destroyed in many instances. The Stolen Generations, where children were taken away, happened without their consent. They were insufficiently consulted on matters such as the intervention and various other issues. Today, significant disparities persist in many aspects of life between our First Nations people and the wider community.

Challenges like overcrowded housing, unemployment, lower life expectancy, health disparities, and various other disadvantages persist within their communities. While we embrace a multicultural society where we collectively work for the common good, we must also acknowledge that our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have an ancient and enduring presence in our nation’s fabric. Because of this, I believe they deserve a unique recognition of their rich and enduring cultural heritage within society.

Let me emphasise that I am not attempting to tell you how to vote. This is my personal viewpoint. I encourage you to carefully consider the multifaceted dimensions of this Referendum and seek guidance from the Holy Spirit in making this significant decision. Regardless of the outcome, I implore everyone to remain committed to working together for the greater good. My hope is that we can continue to collaborate, striving to enhance the lives and walk alongside our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters.

Yours in Christ,

+ Charles Gauci
Bishop of Darwin and the NT

Published: August 02, 2023

The Voice and the Referendum:
A Message of Reflection and Unity

My dear brothers, sisters, friends,🙏🏽

‼️ I’ve spoken before on this very, very important topic of the Voice and the referendum. I am very, very clear, I will never attempt to tell people how to vote. ‼️ People have to make their own decisions on this matter. ✝️ But it is an important matter that needs a lot of reflection. It needs a lot of soul-searching.✝️

It needs a lot of time to look at the principles behind what is happening. 🪃 Our Aboriginal people have been voiceless in many ways. So, some form of the voice of the people being heard to me is very, very important. How that is done is what our society needs to decide. I have been connecting with various bodies and genres of groups to ensure that our people are informed and properly informed.

😶I keep hearing that people are saying, ‘I don’t understand’, ‘not enough people are talking to me about this’, ‘I am not sure what to do’. So, please reflect on the whole principles that we have as a community, especially our Church has some very strong principles on social justice, the common good, the dignity of each person, and how we are called to respect everybody and how everybody needs to be able to be heard and valued and given a voice.


👍🏼
Please keep looking. Keep sharing. Let’s keep informing everybody of how to come together and work as to how best to honour our First Nations who have been on this land for so many, many years. ℹ️ We want to honour everybody in this land. But I do believe we have a special place and a special recognition of people who have been here before anybody else and have been here for 65,000 years or so.

So, let’s work together. God bless you all.

Yours in Christ,

+ Charles Gauci
Bishop of Darwin and the NT

Published: May 31, 2023

Voice to Parliament

My dear brothers and sisters,

As Australians, we are at a very important time reflecting on the Voice to Parliament. I will not tell anyone how to vote, but it is my responsibility as Bishop to encourage you all to be reflective in the light of our faith and Catholic Social Teachings: the Common Good and the Dignity of all People.

We need the ongoing journey of reconciliation and healing. Whatever happens with the Voice will not solve all the issues, we are all on the Journey Together. Let’s make sure we are informed, and to see which is the best way forward for dignity and respect for all.

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC) has launched a new website called “One Journey, Together” for Catholics to learn about the Indigenous Voice to Parliament: www.indigenousvoice.church. The website hosts stories and anecdotes from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations, Catholic figures and Catholic organisations.

The website hosts messages from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and community members, Bishops and other religious leaders and statements from Catholic organisations on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament to support the Catholic community to vote in a way that aligns with their Catholic values. The website also has a range of activities and resources for parishes, including a prayer and a kitchen table activity, to support people to deepen their understanding of the referendum and empower them with practical tools for meaningful action.

For more resources please visit: www.indigenousvoice.church.

For the Uluru Statement from the Heart please visit: https://ulurustatement.org/the-statement/

To view the Indigenous Voice representing a significant stride towards empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and the video of NATSICC Chairperson John Lochowiak and Fr Frank Brennan, please visit https://bit.ly/42gqkcw.