Messages from Bishops and Religious Leaders

Messages from bishops and religious leaders

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Statement on the Voice – October 2023

‘Towards the Referendum: A Statement from Australia’s Catholic Bishops’ was released following the most recent Australian Bishops Conference in September 2023.

“Australians are now being asked to consider a constitutionally enshrined Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice as one way to address this disadvantage. This was asked for in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. The hope of those who prepared the Uluru Statement is that this will not only offer constitutional recognition, but also assist progress towards a more just and equitable Australia, helping to tackle not just the symptoms but the causes of chronic disadvantage.”

In May 2023, Australia’s bishops urged Catholics to engage with the Uluru Statement from the Heart as the country prepares for a crucial vote on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament. The bishops believe that rectifying the omission of acknowledging First Nations Peoples’ custodianship of the land in the Constitution is essential. They encourage all Australians to educate themselves on the proposal and engage in meaningful debate. Read the full statement from the bishops here.

My hope is simply that Catholics will be inspired by Jesus to join the hard work of finding constitutional recognition of the voice of First Peoples into our Parliament and that reconciliation will find new energy and witness at this moment in history.

Most Rev Peter A Comensoli DD STL MLitt PhD

The Catholic Church, at its synodal gathering called the Plenary Council, endorsed the Uluru Statement and the Voice to Parliament as part of our mission to shape a more just and compassionate society. It recognises that we can be a better society by walking alongside with our First Nations people and enabling them to take their rightful place at the table.

Read full statement here.

Most Rev Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFMConv DD STL

I’m strongly committed to the Voice. I’ve listened to important and convincing indigenous voices on this topic.

Most Rev Mark B Coleridge BA DSS
Patty Fawkner, The Voice

I cannot but vote Yes. I was reminded that Indigenous civilisation is a gift to Australia, that all Australians are now inextricably part of this millennia-long story, that those impacted by decisions should have a say in those decisions, that the Voice is asking us to say yes to a better future for all of us, and that the time is now.

Read full statement here.

Sr Patty Fawkner SGS

My appeal to vote “Yes” to the Indigenous Voice is not a political appeal as such, but an appeal to the innate goodness of humanity.  I express my heartfelt hope, wish and prayer that Australians will eventually come together as one on this question. 

Read full statement here

Most Rev Timothy James Harris DD BTheol

Thank you to you, Indigenous brothers and sisters, for your beautiful invitation to walk with you in a movement of people in this country to bring about a better future.

Sr Stancea Vichie MSS

Whilst we understand that there are many voices and opinions across Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, we support a constitutionally enshrined voice for Indigenous Peoples.

Br Peter Carroll FMS

The Sisters of Saint Joseph value the many opportunities to learn from our Aboriginal and Torres Strait brothers and sisters through our many connections. We are committed to supporting the Uluru statement from the Heart and the Voice to Parliament.

Sr Monica Cavanagh RSJ

I support a Voice to Parliament as a practical way of moving towards recognition and reconciliation, responding to the generous invitation extended in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Most Rev Shane Mackinlay DD

Brigidines sisters stand with the First Nations of Australia. We believe that we can never be truly ‘at home’ in this land until we listen and respond to the Voice of our country’s first peoples and enshrine them in the Constitutions.

Sr Anne Boyd CSB

Presentation Sisters Victoria embraces the hopes of the First People of Australia expressed in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. We support the Voice to Parliament and the recognition of the First Peoples in the Constitution. We are committed to working towards a just and fair society for all.

Sr Helen Carboon PBVM

Saying yes to the Voice to Parliament is an opportunity to accept a gracious invitation from our First Nations people to walk along side them, shoulder to shoulder, as we take this next step (of many past and future steps) on the painful path of reconciliation together.”

Clare Shearman, Director of Heart of Life

I want to make it abundantly clear that I respect the individual choices and beliefs of every person, and I would never presume to dictate how anyone should vote. The decision is yours alone, guided by your conscience and convictions.

My choice to vote yes stems from a desire to contribute to another step forward in our ongoing journey of reconciliation and healing, particularly in relation to past injustices. Read full statement here

Bishop Charles Gauci

While Respecting the diverse opinions of all Australians, we, the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, stand united in endorsing the Uluru statement of the Heart and in supporting the Voice to Parliament. We continue to value each opportunity the future may offer for us to continue to journey with our Indigenous sisters and brothers.

Sr Philipa Murphy FDNSC
Most Rev Bishop Tim Norton SVD

All three of the motions on this topic [Reconciliation] passed with an overwhelming and qualified majority, including a motion calling for the Plenary Council to endorse the Uluru Statement ‘From the Heart’, to give a voice to move towards a treaty and to engage in truth telling. Reconciliation in the world is our primary task as Christians – it really is. Anything we can do towards reconciliation makes us better Christians wherever we are in the world.

Read full statement here.

Most Rev Bishop Tim Norton SVD

Faith Leaders Joint Letter

Australia’s major religious and ethno-religious leaders are appealing to the country’s political figures and federal parliamentarians to endorse the establishment of a constitutionally guaranteed Voice, as called for in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, by First Nations Australians.

Scroll to Top