Humanizing the Global Economy

Friday, January 25 2002

(Ottawa – CCCB)… At the Summit of the Americas, held in Quebec City in April 2001, the Catholic Bishops of Canada challenged government leaders not to overlook the human dimension in economic development. Following up on this, bishops and economic experts from throughout the Americas will be attending a major conference on humanizing the global economy, to be held January 28 to 30 in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the Catholic episcopal conferences.

Representatives of the Church in Canada, the United States and Latin America, together with leaders of institutions such as the World Bank, the International Labour Organization and the International Monetary Fund as well as members of governments and various experts will meet over the three days to reflect on the challenges and questions of globalization as well as possible solutions.

Market policies, labour, the place of workers in the global economy, debt and foreign aid, environmental impact and foreign investment will be among the topics discussed in workshops and discussion groups. On the last day of the conference, participants will be asked to talk on their own international roles and responsibilities in ensuring the global economy contributes to the common good and human wellbeing.

Canada will be represented at the Washington conference in the presentations from the Church’s perspective as well as on behalf of international aid and financial investment. Canadian delegates will include five bishops: Archbishop Brendan O’Brien of Saint John’s, Nfld., Vice President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB); Auxiliary Bishop Jean Gagnon of Quebec City; Archbishop André Gaumond of Sherbrooke; Bishop Frederick Henry of Calgary, and Bishop Donald Thériault of the Canadian Military Ordinariate.

The Washington conference is a logical continuation to the growing collaboration among the CCCB, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and CELAM, the Latin American regional episcopal council. Since the 1999 publication of the Apostolic Exhortation The Church in America (Ecclesia in America), bishops from the three episcopal organizations have been meeting annually to discuss and reflect on current developments having special impact on their populations.

Over the last two years, the bishops have focused their attention on the question of the international debt of the poorest countries and on the difficult question of immigration. Their next meeting will take place February 18 to 21, 2002, in Brazil, where once again globalization will be the focus of the discussions.