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World Youth Day 2024 was held in Portugal in recent weeks. WYD occurs every few years and gathers young people of faith from around the world. Several graduates from Saint Ignatius Adelaide attended. They participated in a program for young adults connected with the international Jesuit network and then joined some 1.5 million young Catholics from around the world in Lisbon. Julian Butler SJ who accompanied our graduates wrote this reflection: Click here to view this reflection.

As we move towards a date for the referendum, there is a range of commentary about the Voice. Referendums in Australia require a majority of votes nationwide, and a majority in at least four of the six states. Polling was 60:40 ‘yes’ in March; by August it was 50:50 and perhaps trending towards ‘no’. If Qld and WA were to vote no, then just one other state would need to vote no for the referendum to fail. Various polls suggest younger voters favour it more so than older voters. Green and Labour voters are more in favour than Coalition voters.

What would we expect of Catholic educators grappling with this issue of the Voice? Most Catholic organizations support the Voice, even if some have concerns about the process and structure. It is not our place to tell people how to vote, for that is a personal decision. However, we would encourage people to become well informed and make a good decision. We would seek to promote serious, learned, and respectful discussion.

Recently one of our Jesuit schools in Sydney, St Aloysius’ College, held a forum on the Voice. Frank Brennan SJ and Nyunggai Warren Mundine were key speakers. Warren, a well-known indigenous advocate, brought a powerful personal perspective to his support of the no campaign. Frank, a strong proponent of the Voice, brought legal knowledge and years of experience working with indigenous communities. While both presented differing viewpoints, their regard and respect for each other was obvious. When introducing them, Mark Tannock, the College Principal, said:

We have invited Father Brennan and Mr Mundine because as a Jesuit school we don’t tell you what you should think. Instead, we believe in offering each of you the intellectual skills and character development which allow you to decide what is right and what is just and what is true. No, we don’t tell you what to think, we try and teach you how to think.

In thanking them, the College Rector, Fr Ross Jones, commented:

Schools in the Jesuit tradition have always encouraged critical thinking. Deep thinking. And reflection. Reflection is the space you create to allow connections to be made and meaning to surface ... Even in Religious Education classes here, we strive to cultivate an intelligent faith, a respectfully questioning faith – one that is confident enough to test all the propositions, the matters of held belief, and the ethical positions. Faith and reason complementing each other. We do not indoctrinate. We cultivate. We remind you that reason, free will and conscience are all gifts of God. And gifts are to be used, not squandered ... Mr Mundine and Father Brennan, together with the insightful questions stemming from the student voice, have disposed the data for us all to consider and sift … You now have a deeper grasp of the issues. But more importantly still, you have experienced what Ignatius called our way of proceeding. The graced way of reason and respect, of listening and learning. The way of building bridges rather than trenches, the way of understanding, not undermining, all drawing us to the common good.

Few referendums are successful in Australia, and they are made less so by unclear wording and a lack of bipartisan support. I do wish our senior political leaders could do more to build bridges rather than trenches, and seek the way of understanding, not undermining. In doing so, they would draw us all to the common good. There is still time to clarify uncertainty and find common ground to recognise First Nations as the foundation of our nation and to address how access and equity can be better achieved for dispossessed peoples. Our First People’s inclusion in our common wealth would be greatly enhanced by such leadership.

This weekend Barbara Watkins and I will be in Perth for a meeting of the Principals and Rectors of the JACSA network. The JACSA school John XXIII College also recently had a forum on the Voice. Kate Chaney, a proponent of the Voice, also spoke of what she received from her Ignatian education:

I have a few different hats on today. I am an ex-student. I am also a school mum, and I am also the local MP here in Curtin. I went to John XXIII, and I really took on board that value of seeking justice (the College motto). When I think about where I got my value system from, it was partly from my family, some of whom are here tonight, but also the school. You do not realise until much later in life where your values came from or even what they are, but that need to look for the fair way of doing things was very important to me from the beginning.

Click here for more on the Voice.

Fr Peter Hosking SJ

OREMUS (Let us pray)

We remember all in our College community. May our prayers comfort those suffering at this time. May God’s blessing be a source of support in their sorrow and loss, and bring courage, patience, and hope.

For those who have died:

  • Mr David Moses – past parent, father of Kirsty (Class of 1991) and Ben (Class of 1993)
  • Mrs Joanne (Jo) Scanlon – past parent, mother of Liam (Class of 2013), Harry (Class of 2015) and Tom (Class of 2018)
  • Fr Adrian Noonan
  • Sr Patricia Davis OP
  • Fr Peter Dunn

“Ask and you shall receive … knock and the door will be opened unto you.” (Matt 7:7)

If you would like someone to be remembered by the College community in prayer (even anonymously), please provide details to the Rector, class or Mentor Teacher, or House Leader.

College Calendar 2023
From the Principal