Canadian Pax Christi moves a step closer

  • March 8, 2007

PaxChristiThe movement to establish a branch of Pax Christi in Canada takes a step forward in April when the international movement’s secretary general will propose that Catholics For Peace, Toronto and a similar group in Montreal become affiliate members of the Brussels-based network.

“I think they are OK. They have the capacity for survival,” Etienne De Jonghe told The Catholic Register.

Catholics For Peace now has 35 members listed on its mailing list and has been meeting monthly since September last year.

“We’re still really turning ourselves into what we’re going to be in the long run,” said founding member Steve Barringer. “In terms of the final structure of it, I don’t think anything has been decided.”

Affiliate members align themselves with the goals of Pax Christi International but pay no dues to the worldwide network and are not permitted to vote at triennial meetings of the organization. Full membership is still off in the future for the little Toronto group, said Barringer.

De Jonghe will return to Canada in the summer and plans to travel through the Western provinces trying to interest parishes and Catholic college campuses in forming peace groups. These groups could become part of a national network. Once Canada has a string of Catholic peace groups from coast to coast working in English and French, the international movement would be ready to consider full membership for something to be called Pax Christi Canada, said De Jonghe.

For now the Toronto group is concentrating on participating in general peace movement activities in the GTA, said Barringer. Members of Catholics for Peace plan to be among the protesters outside Toronto’s United States Consulate on University Avenue March 17 to mark the fourth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. The group is also forging links with a coalition of 15 to 20 groups in Mississauga called the Coalition for Peace.

Pax Christi is the Vatican-recognized Catholic peace movement with 97 member organizations in more than 50 countries.

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