“The world is sick.” The shortest line of any papal encyclical was written by Pope Paul Vl in 1967, 2 years after the end of the great Council. Paul mentioned by name the “principles of individualism” which have been exacerbated over the past decades.He invited Catholics to join the struggle against underdevelopment. Buoyed by the energizing spirit of the Council, the Holy Spirit blew like a gale force through a feudal church and in the world with new demands for inclusion (the end of colonial powers), the demands for peace and civil rights. And Pete Seeger sang “Wasn’t that a Time.”
Paul said “The hour for action has now sounded.” The world can not go the way it has—superdevelopment of the West and underdevelopment of the two-thirds world. Thousands of priests and lay people accepted the challenge and went south to experience the dire poverty and in this experience they were radically changed.
They came back on fire to challenge the egoism of the first world, its blindness to the diminished lives of so many brothers and sisters.
The Canadian Catholic Organization for development and Peace (CCODP) or simply D and P was formed. On Friday night it celebrated 40 years of solidarity activity with thousands of successful projects in the two-thirds world.
It was beautiful to see many people who had been in the struggle for a better world over these last 40 years…in particular the female religious. One bishop was there,a silent presence and he slipped out without giving a passionate endorsement for an organization which has done so much for humanity. Too sad.
In the interim another wind has been blowing, the neocon wind, inside and outside of the Church. There were few priests in attendance. Some parishes give it nominal genuflection but in general tthere is no longer the commitment there should be. The CCCB (Bishops conference) have wasted money on papal side shows, getting young people giddy about the wrong things.
As an example the next day there was a major anti-war march which took place in 23 Canadian cities. While this was happening, the Winnipeg archbishop instead of attending the march in that city was busy banning James Loney the great Canadian peacekeeper from a social justice conference. James is a gay man in a relationship.
At the Toronto rally—no priests (except one retired one), certainly no bishops, no parishes—but lots of the two-thirds world’s people looking for our support.
The banning of Loney made the national news. It is extremely sad that the gospel of the nonviolent Jesus is never promoted or acted upon and the pelvic orthodoxy is put front and centre. The world is close to burning down and the Catholic Church seems not to be involved in doing much about it.