Bishop Vincent Long, during the launch of the social justice statement 'Listen, Love, Live' in August 2023, emphasized the importance of recognizing the contributions and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within the Church and the broader Australian community. He began by recalling Pope John Paul II's words from 1986, highlighting the significance of justice, respect for cultural diversity, and protection of the dignity and heritage of Indigenous Australians. Bishop Long stressed that despite several decades passing since those words were spoken, the need for non-Indigenous Australians, especially Australian Catholics, to joyfully receive the contributions of First Nations peoples remains relevant.
The Social Justice Statement, titled 'Listen, Learn, Love: A New Engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples,' was presented as a constructive approach for Catholics and all Australians. Bishop Long emphasized that this statement was different from past efforts because it involved extensive listening to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across major cities and regional areas. The process aimed to understand their experiences, feelings, hopes, and dreams. Bishop Long acknowledged the painful stories shared during this process, including issues such as youth suicides, incarceration rates, and ongoing racism. He also recognized the resilience and hope present within Indigenous communities. The Bishop expressed gratitude for those who shared their stories and reiterated the Church's commitment to working toward healing and justice. The statement called for the Church to lead by example, ensuring that its attitudes and actions toward First Nations peoples are grounded in justice, love, and humility. Bishop Long emphasized the importance of strengthening the relationship with First Peoples for the betterment of the entire nation and expressed love and solidarity with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The message conveyed the Church's commitment to walking together on the journey of healing and justice.