BY Ian Dunn | April 19 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Preach and practise social justice

Scotland’s bishops support Year of Faith conference Towards a Just Economic Order

Catholic Justice and Peace activists have been challenged to take the Church’s teachings on social justice out into the world.

Catholics from around Scotland attended the special Year of Faith conference last weekend. Towards a Just Economic Order: Challenges of Catholic Social Teaching was held at St Augustine’s High School in Edinburgh and brought together many powerful speakers to talk about how best to fairly shape the world we live in.

The two-day conference was sponsored by the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland and was jointly organised by SCIAF, the Justice and Peace Commission, the Catholic Parliamentary Office and St Andrews and Edinburgh Archdiocesan Justice and Peace Office. All the organisers were grateful for the help and support of Bishop Emeritus Peter Moran, president of SCIAF, and Auxiliary Bishop Stephen Robson who helped introduce the conference.


Speakers and workshops

Miriam McHardy of St Andrews and Edinburgh Archdiocesan Justice and Peace said she and the other organisers were ‘delighted’ by the success of the conference.

“Dr Anna Rowlands (director of the Centre for Catholic Social Thought and Practice) gave a really powerful talk on the Friday evening, about the call for all of us to work for the common good, followed by Michael Northcott (professor of Ethics at Edinburgh University) who gave a wide-ranging reflection on the need to act for justice as shown through old and new testament ” she said. “And on the Saturday, the keynote address from Margaret Lynch was about how to integrate Catholic social teaching into our Faith and day to day life.”

Ms McHardy said the Saturday programme also involved eight separate workshops, which covered all different aspects of Catholic social teachings.

“The workshops reflected all sorts of different work done by the different organisations involved,” she said. “But they all asked the participants to challenge themselves to take action in their own lives. At the end of the day, we had a commitment service at which everyone pledged to do one thing in the future to make a difference.”

The Justice and Peace activist said she had been most encouraged to hear from a number of people who had come ‘to the conference feeling a bit despondent but had gone away feeling invigorated and inspired.’


Call to action

John Deighan, of the Catholic Parliamentary Office, said the idea behind the conference had been to inspire people to action.

“We wanted that practical thing to be part of it,” he said. “We can’t just be dreamers. And the range of organisations involved means that there was something for everyone to get involved in at all levels.”

Patrick Grady, of SCIAF, said the charity was absolutely delighted with how the event had gone.

“We were delighted with the success of the Economic Justice conference,” he said.

“The feedback from participants has been very positive. Everyone left the conference feeling enthused and inspired, with lots of practical ideas for making a positive contribution to a more just world, and for raising awareness of Catholic social teaching.”

Mr Grady also said that the conference provided a great blueprint for further collaboration between different Catholic agencies.

“All the speakers made clear that the rich resource of the Church’s social teaching presents a major opportunity for us to present a positive, alternative vision to the economic models that have contributed to so much poverty and inequality around the world,” he said. “We look forward to continuing our close relationship with colleagues in the other agencies of the Bishops’ Conference.”


—     In this week’s print edition : Martin Dunlop meets Scots who attended the First International Meeting of Young Catholics for Social Justice in Rome.



—     Pic: Paul McSherry


—This story ran in full in the April 19 print edition of the SCO


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