The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of Brisbane has made a call for prayer and action in support of refugees.
The call was made in the lead-up to the celebration of Migrant and Refugee Sunday on 24 August.
The Commission has asked that Catholics give attention to children who are held in Australia’s detention centres.
The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that dozens of children are still held in immigration detention centres and urged that Catholics pray and take action to secure their quick release.
“It is clear that the detention of unauthorised arrivals has strong support in our community, but the Church is challenged to be faithful to the Gospel in what it says and does in relation to refugees,” Mr Arndt said.
“As people committed to the Gospel, we urge Catholics to place respect for the fundamental dignity of the human beings locked up in immigration detention centres above other considerations,” he said.
“There is no quarrel about people being checked and processed when they arrive on our shores, but locking up everyone who arrives on a boat, including children, for indeterminate periods as long as five years is inhumane and must be challenged,” he said.
“The Family Court has recently decided that children should not be locked up in detention centres and this simply reflects the practice in our criminal justice system of only locking up children as a last resort,” he said.
“And we need to remember that the children in immigration detention centres are totally innocent; they have committed no crime,” he said.
“Any parent knows that detention for long periods is likely to cause psychological harm to children” he said.
“What makes this practice particularly immoral is that the reason given for doing it is that it deters people smugglers from engaging in their odious trade,” he said.
“It is simply immoral to detain children as a means of deterring others from doing the wrong thing,” he said.
The Commission is asking Catholics to pray for the quick release of refugees and to write and phone their local Member of Parliament to urge quick action to bring about their release.
Released by the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Brisbane