Catholic Bishops of America Meet in Brazil To Examine Globalization of the Economy

Thursday, February 14 2002

(Ottawa – CCCB) For the second time in less than three weeks, Brazil will host an important meeting focusing on the challenges of economic globalization.

With the World Social Forum 2002 in Porto Alegre having just ended, Catholic bishops from Canada, the United States and Latin America will gather in San Salvador, Brazil, February 18-21 for the third annual Meeting of the Bishops of the Church in America.

Globalization of the economy is the theme of this year’s meetings. The last two years the bishops have studied the complex issues surrounding immigration and the cancellation of international debts of the poorest countries. These meetings are being held as a follow-up to the Pope`s Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America issued in 1999.

Many of the bishops attending the Brazil meeting have just returned from a conference in Washington, January 28-30, which examined the humanization of the global economy. That meeting, organized by the three episcopal conferences of America, brought together not only Church leaders but also major players in the economic world to debate the impacts of globalization and the challenges they present.

The Brazil meeting will try to take advantage of the Washington conference discussions to try and find solutions that the Church can use with people suffering from the effects of globalization.

The delegates to the Brazil meeting are from the executive committees of the episcopal conferences of Canada, the United States and Latin America as well as some of their staff. The six-member Canadian team includes CCCB President Bishop Jacques Berthelet, C.S.V., Saint-Jean-Longueuil and; Archbishop Brendan O’Brien, St. John’s, Vice-President; Archbishop André Gaumond, Sherbrooke, Co-Treasurer; Bishop Anthony Tonnos, Hamilton, Co-Treasurer; Msgr. Peter Schonenbach, General-Secretary; and Joe Gunn, Director of the CCCB Social Affairs Office.

These informal meetings of the bishops have been held annually since 1967. At their 1999 meeting in Cuba, the bishops decided to change the name from Interamerican Meeting of Bishops to the Meeting of the Bishops of the Church in America to signal the unity of the Church in the American hemisphere. The first meeting under this new name was held in Vancouver during the Jubilee Year 2000. Next year the meeting will be held in Canada.