OXFORD, England - Congo's Catholic bishops criticized the failure of Western governments to stop the abuse of the continent's natural resources and urged church groups to follow the pope's call to mobilize.

Published in International

VATICAN CITY - More than 360 participants, including 18 married couples from around the world, were expected to attend October's Synod of Bishops on the family.

Published in Vatican

Twenty of the 70 Catholic dioceses in Canada are using their web sites to ask Catholics for opinions about family life — questions that range from how the Church can welcome families with gay members to how economics and media are shaping family life.

Published in Canada

MANILA, Philippines - Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila said the Synod of Bishops on the family was more than a series of discussions on divorce and gay unions and that the impact of poverty on families, especially in Asia, was a major concern of participants.

Published in International
October 23, 2014

Risky business

Pope Francis sought a “sincere and open” discussion among Church leaders attending the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family. Well, he got it. And then some.

Published in Editorial

More than 190 bishops and 60 experts have begun a worldwide conversation about how we live our lives, how we love, how all we are and hope to be continues from generation to generation, from hope to glory, from heart to heart. Now, the bishops say, it’s over to you. 

Published in International

VATICAN CITY - U.S. Archbishop Joseph Kurtz said he hoped the final report of the Synod of Bishops on the family would improve on the assembly's midterm report in celebrating exemplary families, encouraging missionary outreach and emphasizing that the Church's pastoral efforts must be grounded in Scripture and Catholic teaching.

Published in Faith

VATICAN CITY - The Greek root of the word "synod" means "to walk together," which is exactly what bishops and other members of the Synod of Bishops are called to do as they seek to apply the Gospel and church teaching to the challenges facing family life today, said the gathering's general secretary.

Published in Faith
BEIRUT - Maronite Catholic bishops expressed their concern about the war in Syria and Iraq and warned that Lebanon's presidential vacuum poses a dangerous risk to the country, particularly amid the escalating regional turmoil that they said threatens to change the map of the Middle East.
Published in International

NAIROBI, Kenya - The Kenyan bishops' justice and peace commission criticized the five-hour-long massacre in the coastal town of Mpeketoni and asked: "Where was the security? Where was the intelligence? Where were the police? What happened to the various roadblocks?"

Published in International

JERUSALEM - Bishops who traveled to the Holy Land to assess the local church's needs noted the "profound anxiety" that the "dark and dramatic events" of the past year have caused in the region.

Published in International

VATICAN CITY - In their task of leading people to the light of Christ, bishops must have the courage to face opposition and peacefully stand firm in the truth, Pope Benedict XVI said.

Published in Vatican

OTTAWA - Four Canadian bishops are among the 262 prelates gathered at the Vatican for the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangeliza- tion for the Transmission of the Christian faith Oct. 7-28.

Quebec Archbishop Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, Saint-Hyacinthe Bishop François Lapierre, Nelson Bishop John Corriveau and Antigonish Bishop Brian Dunn will each be making five-minute presentations at the synod. They were elected earlier this year by their fellow bishops to be delegates.

During the annual plenary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) in Ste-Adele, Que., Sept. 24-28 the delegates shared draft versions of their texts. The final texts will be published on the CCCB web site (www.cccb.ca) after they are delivered, the CCCB announced .

Corriveau was the first to speak, focussing on communion during his presentation Oct. 9. He told the synod that building community and promoting a sense of communion, particularly in the face of increasing individualism, is an important part of the new evangelization. The "spirituality of communion" is modeled on the relationship of love found among the members of the Trinity, a creative love revealed to humanity with the incarnation of Christ.

"The call to communion is more than a slogan. It is a conversion of heart," he said.

Lacroix told the bishops he would be speaking on sharing one's personal encounter with Jesus Christ and the willingness to welcome God's saving grace anew each day. He also stressed the role of lay men and women in sharing the Gospel.

Lapierre was to speak of new evangelization in the context of a Church that is increasingly impoverished, with aging priests and fewer interested young people. He said there are new opportunities hidden in these challenge.

Dunn was to examine what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church in light of the sexual abuse crisis and proposes a deeper sense of listening and reconciliation to reach out to those who have been hurt.

Published in International

The Second Vatican Council was the biggest stage in the history of the Church. There were more bishops present than at any the 20 previous councils stretching from the First Council of Nicaea in 325 to the First Vatican Council of 1870. And the bishops present came from more countries, more cultures, more languages than the Church had ever experienced.

Published in Vatican II

Ste. Adele, Que. - In the midst of the worst economic crisis in decades, "there is no miracle cure," a Montreal-based economist told the Canadian bishops Sept. 25.

Governments do not have much leeway to help those affected, though economies that are more flexible will suffer less, Pierre Piché, an expert in international investment and advisor to the Power Corporation of Canada, told the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops annual plenary.

“There is not much choice,” Piché told the gathering of more than 90 Canadian bishops. “Either we suffer or we need to adjust. We’re going to suffer even if we adjust.”

The crisis affects the whole world economy, especially its key engines: North America, Europe and Japan.

“It goes really bad when you’re on a plane and you have three of the four engines not working,” he said.

He gave a macro view of the problem through key indicators: unemployment that is more and more structural and composed of people who have been looking for work for a longer time than previously or have abandoned looking for work altogether; sluggish rates of growth; and rising government debt.

Piché said fears of inflation have been replaced by fear of deflation where prices go down in a generalized manner. This explains the behaviour of central banks in trying to pump money into the economy.

“Deflation is horrible,” he said. “It’s very serious because it changes the behaviour of people. When they know prices are going down, they won’t spend. It creates a vicious circle.”

Now there is a cycle where governments and individual households are rejecting a pattern of heavy indebtedness that preceded 2007, he said.

We’re facing what economist John Maynard Keynes called the “paradox of thrift,” he said, noting while it is good and ethically right for households and corporations to be thrifty, “if nobody consumes, then nobody sells anything and everyone goes broke.”

Fr. Bill Ryan of the Jesuit Forum for Social Faith and Justice in Toronto offered a theological reflection on the crisis, pointing out Pope Benedict XVI calls for the logic of profit to be replaced by the logic of gift “that is the opposite of putting a price on everything.”

At the basis is the right relationship we must develop between God and human, among humans and with creation, including a preferential option for the poor, Ryan said, stressing the “essential relationship between faith and justice and justice and evangelization.”

“The whole planet is our neighbourhood and in need of evangelization,” he said, noting the Pope’s social justice encyclical Caritas in Veritate also concerned itself with evangelizing and civilizing the global economy.

Faith and justice cannot be separated, nor can evangelization and justice, he stressed.

Ryan call a “new and global humanism” a “sign of the times,” saying the secular world is coming to a “growing consensus we need a new mindset.”

“Our models and tools are proving inadequate; we seem to be walking with no clear purpose,” he said.

Montreal Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Dowd said the “logic of the gift ties in with our preoccupation with the family.”

“The family is an economic unit, but its internal relations are supposed to be based on the logic of the gift,” he said. “You don’t have kids just because you want someone to look after you in your retirement.”

Families’ internal relationships are becoming “atomized,” he said, and less and less based on the logic of the gift, Dowd said.

“That’s the canary in the coal mine, a sign the whole thing is disordered.”

Ryan said it is important to not always look at big economic structures but at the problems of the small ones. One problem attacking families is the level of family debt which is higher in Canada than elsewhere. 

“If we don’t have strength at the bottom,” needed values “won’t come into institutions,” he said.

Published in Canada