2003 Plenary Assembly: Social Teaching of the Church Highlights Second Day of Discussions

Tuesday, October 28 2003

(CCCB – Cap-de-la-Madeleine) – The social teaching of the Church was the main focus of the second day of proceedings of the annual Plenary assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), with a presentation by the Coadjutor-Archbishop of Dublin, Ireland, Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin.

“Our generation has witnessed enormous scientific progress,” Archbishop Martin told the bishops. “But it has not effectively learned the science of sharing. The science of sharing… requires a new way of looking at the unity of their human family and of appreciating the fact that when God created the goods of creation, he create them for the benefit of all.”

He said that for globalization to be worthy of its name, it must enhance the human family. “Any form of globalization that breeds exclusion, marginalization and crass inequality does not have the right to call itself global. Globalization has to be made the synonym of inclusive.”

Archbishop Martin examined a number social justice issues with the bishops, including intellectual property ownership, the fight against HIV/AIDS, the fundamental option for the poor, migration, the concept of imposing good governance on developing nations, fighting poverty, the scourge of war and care of the environment.

He concluded by telling the bishops their primary concern for social issues should center “on the dignity of the human person, the unity of the human family and the integrity of creation. The Church’s social teaching is about hope in people. It must become a message of hope for people.”

Archbishop Martin was invited to address the bishops of Canada as part of their review of the mandate of the Episcopal Commission for Social Affairs.

Before becoming Coadjutor Archbishop of Dublin in May this year, he worked at the Vatican, first with the Pontifical Council for the Family and later with the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. In May 2001, he was named Permanent Observer of the Holy See at the United Nations offices in Geneva and the World Trade Organization.