New Year Message 2015

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
31 Dec 2014

For many Australians summer is about celebrating faith and family at Christmas, New Year's parties, surf and sun, and of course the Boxing Day test.

Yet this year's summer has been blighted by the siege at Martin Place in which two innocent people were killed along with the gunman, four others injured and trauma caused to many more.

Tragically loss of innocent life was common in 2014. We think of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, with its 283 passengers and 15 crew, deliberately downed over the Ukraine; of Christians and other minorities in the Middle East brutally persecuted, even crucified or beheaded; and of 150 children slaughtered by the Taliban in Pakistan at year's end.

Then there were stories this year past of surrogate babies abandoned for being the wrong sex or for having medical problems. Leading judges named this "trafficking in children". And there were dark calls for state-sanctioned medical killing of suffering and elderly people.

2014 will surely be remembered as a year in which human lives were too often at risk, too often ended before their time, too often the victims of human malice, touching the lives of many others near to us and further away with fear, grief and sorrow.

The expressions of sympathy, solidarity and unity in response to the violence in Martin Place remind us how blessed we are to live in a country that is shocked by the loss of innocent life, instead of accepting it as unavoidable and "normal". It showed we still cherish, protect and love life in this community. We must be vigilant to ensure we always us do.

As we begin a new year and enjoy a well-earned break, let us resolve once again to reject all forms of violence and to value the lives of all those around us, especially the most vulnerable. May God bless you and your loved ones in this new year of grace 2015. Happy New Year!