Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
July 20, 2009
Charity in Truth tackles social economy
CCCB president Archbishop James Weisgerber also notes relevance for aborginal peoples' dilemmas
Archbishop James Weisgerber
Then there are projects like Kids in the Hall where low-income youth run a cafeteria in Edmonton City Hall and Ten Thousand Villages where Canadians can buy goods produced in the developing world for which the producers receive fair return.
These are projects that aim to have both economic and social benefits for both investors and those who make use of the project's services.
McKeon noted that Canadian Catholic religious orders have a $7 million fund to invest in social economic projects. The orders will need the money to pay for the retirement needs of their members, but they want the money to serve social values and get a decent return in the meantime.
While that and other similar funds provide a relatively low return on investment, the return has been more stable than that of large endowment funds which lost 20 to 30 per cent in the current economic downturn, he said.
Pope Benedict's encyclical found its inspiration in Pope Paul VI's 1967 Populorum Progressio (The Progress of Peoples).
But McKeon noted that the current pope combined that social emphasis with Pope Paul's rich understanding of evangelization in Evangelii Nuntiandi (The Evangelization of Peoples, 1975) and viewed Humanae Vitae (On Human Life, 1968) in terms of social ethics, not just personal ethics.
Winnipeg Archbishop James Weisgerber, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, was struck by how much of the encyclical is applicable to the place of Canadian aboriginal communities.
The encyclical's comments on the gap between rich and poor are relevant to the marginalization and poverty experienced by aboriginal people, said Weisgerber, who had long pastoral experience with native people before becoming a bishop.
Pope Benedict speaks of the Trinity in terms of the total giving of each Person to the others while still retaining their own identity, he noted. "That's exactly what we're trying to do with the aboriginals. How do we find a way to respect their identity and their culture and still bring them into the mainstream of society?" he asked.
Weisgerber also was struck by the pope's approach to the relationship between poverty and population. While some population reduction as the way to reduce poverty, "that's certainly not the Catholic view."
The pope maintains populous nations rose from poverty precisely because of their large populations and the talents of their people.
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