At a press conference today, the Council for Justice and Peace of the Irish Episcopal Conference launched From Crisis to Hope: Working to achieve the Common Good. A statement issued afterwards says: 'The document addresses the considerable financial turmoil that we face individually and collectively and the associated disaffection throughout Irish society. The document calls for the protection of the poorest and most vulnerable in our society as a core element of any measures aimed at addressing the current political, social and economic crises.'
Bishop Raymond Field, Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin and Chair of the Council for Justice and Peace; Rev Dr Eoin Cassidy, one of the authors of From Crisis to Hope and CJP member; and Bishop John Kirby, Bishop of Clonfert and Chairman of Trócaire and CJP member, all addressed the press conference which took place in the Capuchin Day Centre for Homeless People on Bow Street in Dublin.
Bishop Field began his address by "acknowledging the suffering of all those who are struggling to maintain a decent standard of living in these challenging economic circumstances. Poverty and social exclusion, experienced by increasing numbers of people in Ireland today, North and South, represent gross violations of of human dignity."
Bishop Field outlined some of the implications of our Christian obligation to defend human dignity in Ireland today. He said "Defence of human dignity means:
* Protecting human life, from the moment of conception to its natural end;
Protecting our children from poverty and ensuring that they have access to all the services they require for health and education, as well as the opportunity to develop their talents through those cultural and sporting activities that are so important for personal growth;
- Ensuring that our young people are not forced to leave their home country as a result of a lack of opportunities;
- Strengthening and protecting family life. Families are the cornerstone of strong communities, and, ultimately, a strong society;
- Ensuring that every person in this country can access the health care they require on the basis of need;
- Providing support and assistance to people with disabilities;
- Enabling older people to live dignified and independent lives;
Also speaking at the launch Rev Dr Eoin Cassidy outlined the key themes and aims and objectives of the document From Crisis to Hope. Fr Cassidy said: "Three days from an election in the South and three months from elections in the North, this is a time of political change, change which we say is taking place against the background of justifiable anger and a breakdown of trust in key societal institutions including the Church, the banks, regulatory agencies, and many other state agencies including, even Government itself."
Fr Cassidy continued: "From Crisis to Hope argues for the need to prioritise the common good, which is the only real alternative set of values to the rugged individualism – survival of the fittest ethos that shapes our consumerist / capitalist culture today.
"In today’s Ireland, the common good will only be served to the extent that a major effort is made to restore trust in our institutional framework, by one: through attention to the place of ethics in governance, and second, by acknowledging that the common good is damaged by economic policies that target the most vulnerable in our society."
Formally launching From Crisis to Hope Bishop John Kirby said "People neglected the principles of solidarity and placed private sectional interests ahead of the good of the community as a whole. Greed became dominant, trust was betrayed and the result was the recession in which we now are.
"Over the past few years the Overseas Aid budget of the Irish government has been cut on three occasions. It is now €284,000,000 less than what it was in 2008. This has happened despite an alleged commitment to giving 0.7% of our Gross National Product to Overseas Development Aid. The saving is a relatively small one for us, but it represents a huge reduction for people in the developing world."
For more information see: www.catholicbishops.ie
Source: Irish Catholic Bishops Conference