Conference to study role of church in promoting justice and peace

 The role of the Catholic church in tackling injustice and violence in the world today is a key theme of the 25th annual gathering of more than 300 Justice and Peace activists from around England and Wales starting tomorrow. The three-day conference , organised by the Catholic Diocese of Arundel and Brighton in collaboration with the National Justice and Peace Network (NJPN), takes place at Swanwick in Derbyshire under the title: "Bringing forth the Kingdom: Love and Justice in a Broken World". Bishop Kieron Conry of Arundel and Brighton will accompany participants from his diocese. The keynote speakers will be: Fr John Fuellenbach is a Divine Word priest who has lectured at the Gregorian University in Rome since 1980. He is a Doctor of Theology trained by Hans Kung and Cardinal Ratzinger - "so you see, I am well balanced!" he says with a smile. He also has a degree in Sociology. He maintains that the theological concept of Kingdom of God refers to the world and not just the church. Fr Ed O'Connell - well known to many who have attended the National J & P Conferences in the '90s - is a priest of the Columban Missionary Society who has spent many years in the shanty towns of Peru. He was one of the major contributors to the NJPN's theological and spiritual preparation for the Millennium. In 1999 he returned to work in Lima where millions of people are tackling poverty and trying to rebuild civil society after 17 years of violence from terrorism, counter-insurgency and corruption. He will talk about "the green shoots that flourish amidst the violence", Christian communities which are "schools of formation", and the growing model of de-centralised and laicised parishes. Fleur Anderson - who works in the campaign team of CAFOD and has been campaigning on trade and debt since 1990. She is on the Board of the Jubilee Debt Campaign. She has lived in Serbia and Bosnia and now lives in South London with her husband and three small children. The National Justice and Peace Network comprises Justice and Peace representatives from the 22 Catholic dioceses of England and Wales plus mainly Catholic agencies, missionary groups and Bishops' Conference committees involved with issues of Justice and Peace.

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