June 13, 2011
DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE is a Catholic organization with a broad democratic base. Its mission of social justice is inspired by the Gospel values of a preferential option for the poor, and the organization has responsibility for all necessary decisions concerning its programs and projects in the Global South, as well as in the North. This is what DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE’s National Council affirmed in a unanimous resolution at their meeting in Montreal this weekend. As a lay movement, faithful to its mission and to Catholic social teaching, and working in close collaboration with the bishops of Canada, it will build on its rich experience of 44 years and continue to support and work with groups struggling for justice in the world.
The DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE National Council, the movement’s highest decision-making body representing members from across the country, also declared that DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE will continue its ministry "working within networks and alliances in the Global South and the North."
A committee of five members will serve in the dialogue with the newly-formed Standing Committee on DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), created to accompany and provide guidance to DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE in a spirit of organizational reflection and renewal. "All recommendations arising from these discussions will be forwarded and decided upon by National Council," resolved the members of the National Council, which is composed of 21 volunteer representatives from all provinces in Canada and two appointed Canadian bishops.
At its meeting, the National Council also discussed the controversy over the recent cancellation of the Lenten solidarity visit to Canada of Jesuit priest, Fr. Luis Arriaga, Executive Director of the Centre PRODH, a partner of DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE involved in human rights work in Mexico. DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE funding support to the Centre PRODH was recently cancelled as a result of the controversy surrounding Father Arriaga’s visit. The members of the National Council asked that this issue be reviewed with the CCCB for follow-up at the next National Council meeting scheduled for November 2011.
National Council President Ronald Breau believes that this controversy has not only been felt by DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE and its members, but has also had impacts on the whole of DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE’s partner network in the Global South. "We need to remember that it is the people of the South who are the first actors of true development, and it is their voices that must continue to guide our actions. We are committed to working with them to develop partnership protocols that affirm Catholic social teaching (including common good and subsidiarity) and that respect the principles of sustainable and integral human development, as exemplified by Caritas in Veritate."
He also thanked all the individuals, groups and communities who have expressed their concerns and offered moral support over the last few weeks. "We want to reassure them. DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE continues to be the voice of social justice in Canada and will carry on its support and solidarity to our brothers and sisters in the Global South struggling against injustice and human suffering in the world."