Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga addressed the Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) on 24 September in Sainte-Adèle, Quebec, Canada.
His intervention was followed by a presentation on how Caritas Internationalis is organised throughout the world, which was given by its Secretary General Michel Roy
Read the full text of Cardinal Rodriguez’s speech.
The role of the bishop in justice, peace and caritas
Your Eminences, Your Excellencies, Dear Brother Bishops, I greet you very warmly on behalf of Caritas Internationalis, the confederation of 164 national Catholic aid agencies, working on humanitarian aid and development.
Among them is Development and Peace, Caritas Canada. I’m sure you’re all familiar with their excellent work, including in my home country Honduras, helping communities devastated by mining companies. They are an excellent example of the fraternity in action that’s an important part of the Caritas confederation. Just this month they have supported conferences on building a communication network in francophone Africa and our emergency response in Latin America. They were one of the key Caritas in the response to drought in West Africa last year that affected over 20 million people. You can feel very proud of Development and Peace, your Caritas organisation in Canada.
With great fraternal solicitude, I would like to encourage you in your mission, you who are “the Servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor. 4:1) in “household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth” (1 Tim 3:15).
Thank you for this invitation to address you and for the opportunity to visit Sainte-Adèle in Quebec. Saint Adèle was an 8th Century German princess, founder of a convent, noted for her holiness, prudence and compassion. She was also a correspondent with Saint Boniface, Apostle of Germany.
I’m often reminded of this remark of Saint Boniface: “In her voyage across the ocean of this world, the Church is like a great ship being pounded by the waves of life’s different stresses. Our duty is not to abandons ship but to keep her on her course.”
Boniface strengthened the church in Germany through his example and by creating an institutional structure which remains in place today. It’s this church which of course gave us Joseph Ratzinger. And it’s Pope Benedict XVI that has strengthened our understanding of the evangelical mission of the Church with regards to the service of charity and kept us on course as we navigate life’s storms in the modern world. One could say what Boniface did for Germany, Benedict has done for charity.
My intervention today is on ‘the role of the bishop in justice, peace and caritas’ and I will be drawing heavily on the work of Pontificate of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Continue reading