Calling out the Prophetic Tradition: Celebrating Fifty Years of Social Teaching

Thursday, October 14 1999

Corwall (CCCB)— Canada's Roman Catholic bishops today reaffirmed their commitment to social justice at their annual Plenary meeting in Cornwall, Ontario. The President of the Social Affairs Commission, Bishop Francois Thibodeau of Edmundston, referred to the justice work of the Commission as a "precious and valuable tool at the very heart of our daily pastoral work."

This Plenary marks the fiftieth year that the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has received a report of the activities of its Episcopal Commission for Social Affairs – a half century of action for peace and justice by the Bishops of Canada. To commemorate the occasion, a short history, Calling Out the Prophetic Tradition: A Jubilee of Social Teaching from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, was released.

Bishop Thibodeau, in the Preface to the book, notes that, "This anniversary offers an opportunity to re-examine the progress the Commission has made over the years and to consider the challenges it now faces in order to ensure that our Conference and Church remain a sign of hope for our world."

He also affirmed that, "When our time as a bishop draws to a close, our judgment by God will depend on whether or not we have shown abundant love to the most disadvantaged of our brothers and sisters."

One of the book's co-authors, Joe Gunn, stated that, "We are well-aware that many of the achievements of the Commission would not have been realized without the collaboration of many persons."

"Over the years," he continued, "literally thousands of people of good faith have encouraged, challenged and co-operated with the bishops in this social apostolate. The story of the Commission, is, in many important ways, much more than the story of the journey of the bishops themselves. It is part of the story of many of us, in Canada and abroad, who have taken up the challenge of the bishops and participated in struggles for social justice and the construction of the Reign of God."

Mr. Gunn is the Director of Social Affairs at the CCCB, and co-authored the book with Ottawa-based educator and human rights advocate, Monica Lambton.

Copies of Calling Out the Prophetic Tradition are available in both official languages by contacting Ms. Monique Chabot at the CCCB offices in Ottawa. Tel: (613) 241-9461 Fax: (613) 241-8117