Diversity and tolerance to be celebrated at interfaith breakfast
As a community, our strength lies in our shared values of diversity and inclusion. As such, faith communities are an important part of our society, allowing the community to feel valued, supported and connected.
It is within this spirit that Australian Catholic University (ACU) will bring together leaders from across the religious and political spectrum this month to share a meal at the annual ACU Parliamentary Interfaith Breakfast. ACU’s parliamentary interfaith breakfasts have become a popular event on the calendars of both parliamentarians and the leaders of faith communities.
The University has endeavoured to bring these communities together alongside our community leaders and partners to share the common goal of fostering an appreciation of the sacredness of all life and a commitment to serving the common good. The event provides an opportunity to reflect on the important role that faith plays in our everyday lives and in making sense of the world.
This year, more than 50 parliamentarians will gather at Parliament House in Melbourne to have the opportunity to meet with more than 50 faith leaders from more than 16 religious traditions including various Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and other communities.
Five different faith leaders will deliver readings at the breakfast on leadership, service and community harmony, and pray for wise deliberations and good governance of parliament.
We are fortunate to live in a peaceful country that values human rights and the ability to observe our own faiths. These should not be privileges but fundamental to our existence as individuals and collectively as a community. Religion should always be a legitimate voice as a source of values within public life and within public affairs.
Together we can celebrate the importance of being able to express our faith, to explore our differences and rejoice in our shared beliefs. As leaders – whether in law, government, faith, industry, education or society – it is our responsibility to champion, uphold and protect these important freedoms so we can live in harmony and mutual respect.
The event is an opportunity to not only embrace and better understand our diverse faiths but also to reflect on ACU’s calling to serve the community. The event is a natural extension of the university mission to foster an appreciation of the sacred in life and a commitment to serving the common good.
ACU engages the Catholic intellectual tradition to foster an environment where both students and staff develop their unique gifts through reflection, service and intellectual inquiry. The Catholic intellectual tradition promotes engagement with and understanding of people of different faiths.
ACU held its inaugural Parliamentary Interfaith Breakfast in Sydney on March 2014. Subsequent breakfasts were held in Canberra in 2015 and 2017, and Sydney in 2018. Governor General-elect Sir Peter Cosgrove delivered the address at the inaugural breakfast. Subsequent events have included addresses by Prime Ministers, Premiers, and Opposition Leaders and other parliamentarians.
Professor Greg Craven is Vice-Chancellor and President of Australian Catholic University.