(CCCB – Ottawa)… The Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has published a new resource entitled A Church Seeking Justice: The Challenge of Pope Francis to the Church in Canada. Since his election as Bishop of Rome, the Holy Father “has brought an immediacy and specificity to Catholic social teaching that has made it a strong mark of his pontificate thus far,” states the Episcopal Commission in its text which was released today. Dealing broadly with the themes of Human Dignity and Labour, War and Peace, and the Economics of Exclusion and Isolation, this document outlines the freshness and urgency with which Pope Francis is calling us to act for justice and offers reflection questions tailored to our Canadian context.
Throughout the document, in text boxes, the Bishops of the Episcopal Commission “have sought to make connections between the Holy Father’s teaching and some of the justice issues needing to be addressed in our own cities and nation.” Although not exhaustive, the issues raised concern the disappearance of indigenous women, euthanasia, the welcoming of refugees, temporary foreign workers, income disparity, unemployment among Aboriginal youth and youth in general, the arms trade, peacekeeping, Canadian mining companies abroad, international assistance, poverty, the environment (the text was completed before the release of Laudato Si’), and the concept of the common good.
The Bishops invite readers to “listen to the challenging voice of Pope Francis, and to make connections between that teaching and the world around you in the particulars of your lives, your places of work, your parishes and communities, with eyes especially attentive to those in greatest need.”
For Pope Francis, “the Church’s social teaching – about those in poverty or afflicted by other forms of suffering, about economic injustice, and about war and peace – [rises] directly out of the Gospel proclaimed by Jesus Christ. He consistently and strongly sets his reflections on justice and mercy within a framework of faithfulness to Christ.” The Commission document also highlights how the Holy Father knows how to give a face to the poor by his gestures and his pastoral visits. “By pointing to real people and specific situations, Pope Francis highlights the urgency of the present moment, and invites an energetic and emotional response to counter the ‘globalization of indifference’ which has developed.”