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Friday, March 24, 2017
Catholic development agency network celebrates 40th anniversary
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¬†"We have every reason to celebrate the past 40 years during which you have made sure the message of justice is heard in the world". Cardinal Adrianus Simonis, Archbishop of Utrecht, was speaking at a Mass in Soesterberg, The Netherlands, last week celebrating the 40th anniversary of CIDSE, an alliance of 15 Catholic development organisations from Europe and North America. CIDSE is a French acronym for 'International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity'. He told around 150 participants ≠ including CAFOD Director Chris Bain and Bishop John Rawsthorne of Hallam, a CAFOD Trustee - that, "Jesus did not avoid confrontations and you have confronted big powers over the last four decades". The Mass was celebrated during a three day conference 'Working together for global justice' - which also marked the fortieth anniversary of Populorum Progressio, Pope Paul VI's encyclical on development which inspired the foundation of the network and its on-going work. The Cardinal was referring to CIDSE advocacy work in such areas as the Jubilee Debt Campaign and the links between Trade and Food Security. Members - which include CAFOD (England and Wales), SCIAF (Scotland) and Trocaire (Ireland) - also support development programmes in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe and fund-raising/education outreach in their home countries. CIDSE collaborates closely with other networks such as Caritas Internationalis, Franciscans International and Pax Christi, all of which had representatives at the conference. Chris Bain reflected that CAFOD is totally committed to fulfilling the Church's mission for justice and considering ways to reduce the West's ecological footprint, as CIDSE moves in to work on Climate Change and Justice. "CIDSE is a valued network which has had an enormous impact on the Catholic Church in the West and CAFOD has had a huge influence on the Church in England and Wales," said Bishop Rawsthorne, "and I would very much like to celebrate that". The current President of CIDSE and SCIAF Director, Paul Chitnis, was delighted with the firm affirmation of CIDSE's work to date. "The critical challenge to us is to tell the story of the poor to decision-makers within the Church and outside it" he said "and to have that sense of urgency that is in Populorum Progressio".
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