Thirty Years for Development and Peace

Thursday, October 16 1997

(Cap-de-la-Madeleine – CCCB) In 1967, the Canadian Bishops, inspired by the Second Vatican Council, created the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace. Thirty years later, it has become a sign of the solidarity that Canadians share with the poorest nations of the world.

The Catholic Bishops of Canada, gathered for their annual Plenary Assembly in Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec, today published a pastoral message to celebrate this anniversary. The Bishops, in their letter, reaffirm the need for such an outreach and re-emphasize the necessity to continue working towards the establishment of justice and peace throughout the world. They do so by asking a question raised on the 20th anniversary of Development and Peace in 1987: “Do we have as a common goal the promotion of a temporal order which conforms to the divine plan of justice and peace?”

Faithful to this vision, Development and Peace for 30 years has helped Canadians be more aware of the needs of the world’s poorest nations and the implications involved in our own lifestyle choices. It has gathered considerable funds – more than $300 million has been generously donated – and sustained more than 10,000 projects in 70 countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia. These projects have included housing and education, the improvement of working conditions, promotion of women’s rights, and the establishment of cooperatives.

On this anniversary, the CCCB thanked all those who joined their efforts and prayers to ensure that Development and Peace could fulfill its challenging mandate. The Bishops also note that with the reduction in government aid and the increasing growth of poverty in the world, Development and Peaceis obliged to redouble its efforts to carry out its mission. “When we listen to the Gospel message of justice and love, we find it impossible to remain impassive to the sufferings of those who are marginalised, oppressed and exploited in our world. Development and Peace is a unique way for Catholics to live out this essential aspect of their faith and so follow Christ,” the Bishops indicate in the letter. “The years in preparation for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 invite us to make a special effort to work along with Development and Peace. According to the biblical tradition, a jubilee year is a time for a fairer redistribution of worldly goods, sharing and mutual support.” The Bishops, recognizing that many Canadians themselves are being affected by difficult economic circumstances, wish to underline that “it remains our responsibility to help those facing situations much more difficult than our own. As the Gospel reminds us, we are invited to give not only of our abundance but out of what we even need to live.”

The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace offers the means for people to become involved in the Church’s ministry of justice and love. It is only through individual support that this official institution of the Catholic Church in Canada is able to carry out the mission entrusted to it since 1967 and enter the new millennium as a witness of Catholic compassion, solidarity and commitment.