It is crucial that Development and Peace rediscover its origin as an independent lay organization of the Canadian Catholic Church.
I have worked with Development and Peace in the dioceses of Grouard-McLennan, Edmonton and Vancouver. We received strong support from the bishops of those dioceses.
However, we know that there have been bishops who were suspicious of the organization and unhappy that they could not control the use of money raised in their dioceses.
CAFOD, a similar organization established by the bishops of England, seems to have retained its independence and essential lay character.
It is encouraging to have Archbishop Smith reassure us of the strong support of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops for Development and Peace.
However, it is time to rediscover the original creativity of the Vatican II bishops who challenged the laity to make Development and Peace a vital contribution from Canada to justice and peace.
Can we learn also from the experience of CAFOD in maintaining its fidelity to its origins as a lay organization?
It is almost 50 years since Development and Peace was established. It is not surprising that we need to have a careful review of this most original contribution of the Canadian Church.