“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood,
but against principalities, against powers,
against the rulers of the darkness of this world,
against spiritual wickedness in high places”
ECCLESIA SEMPER REFORMANDA
[A CHURCH ALWAYS BEING REFORMED]
(St Augustine of Hippo)
Example of two strugglers “against spiritual wickedness in high places”
From Global Catholic Climate Movement: Today [3 March] we remember Berta Cáceres, a Honduran eco-martyr who was killed by gunmen in 2016 after uniting the Indigenous Lenca people and
successfully pressuring the world’s largest dam builder to withdraw from the Agua Zarca Dam project in Honduras. Berta was a Lenca woman who co-founded the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) and dedicated her life to protecting her community and community members.
A Honduran court ruled in 2018 that executives of the Honduran energy company involved in the dam project ordered her killing.
Here is an account of her murder: (Guardian)
Five years after the Honduran indigenous leader Berta Cáceres was shot dead by hired hitmen, the trial of the US-trained former military officer accused of masterminding the assassination has been scheduled for next month [April 2021]. …
“Our struggle for justice was never about the hitmen. It’s always been about wanting to prosecute and jail the decision-makers – those who ordered and paid for her murder. After five years, things have not advanced substantially due to a lack of political will,” said Bertita Zúñiga, one of Cáceres’s daughters.
“Having to confront this unwillingness in the justice system has been as painful for us as losing our mother.” Read more
Reflect: How can we speak up
for our most vulnerable sisters and brothers?
7 men were finally brought to trial and jailed for their involvement
in the contract killing of Berta.
It was an important half-step forward in a country
of massive corruption and injustice.
Yet five years later, the people who masterminded the killing have yet to face justice, despite evidence and the findings of respected independent experts.
Berta’s family and her organization COPINH have appealed for us to raise our voices with them to demand justice for everyone behind the killing.
Messages from Canada carry weight in Honduras.
Here’s one way we can exercise parrhesia
(bold speech - which we have been told many times to do).
Send a message to Sofia Cerrato Rodriguez,
(Ambassador of Honduras to Canada). Here is the link
are D&P (Caritas Canada’s) Partners and featured in this
ShareLent 2021 presentation which starts with a great song.
(Video also mentions Berta Cáceres) (1 hr total)
THE CHURCH’S FUTURE;
FROM HONDURAS & QUÉBEC
“We are part of a church, of an institution, which is often more sinner than saint. But we ourselves are also sinners. What right do I have to so directly disavow a church with vertical institutionality that is so often incapable of listening to the cry of the poor, to adhere to such active norms and sexual morality, if we ourselves often fail to lead an austere life, dignified and devoted to others? That’s for starters.”
My team and I are convinced that if the church doesn’t change, it’s only going to become increasingly more isolated. Indeed, we need an ecclesiastical overhaul. Why? Because the church we have now hails from a time that no longer exists. And there is resistance to change. By seeking to stay in that time, the church is moving away from our reality and ultimately losing credibility, while also losing the capacity to provide a service to all of society. Thus, the church’s salvation—and to make the Gospels credible—lies in opening itself to a changing world. I don’t mean to say they have to accept everything we’re seeing now in society, but they do have to enter the dialogue. The Church has to open up and converse, debate about different things, because we live in an ever more pluralistic world, an increasingly diverse world. Religion is increasingly becoming just one sphere of this world, and not an entirety. Only by entering the debate can openness be achieved, listening to diverse ideas (the ‘other’) is how we will be able to modernise our mission of evangelisation. The biggest mistake the church is making is shutting itself off, sticking to concepts that completely come up against everyone else’s thinking.
Thus, the church has to enter the debate and listen to the many minority groups, such as for example those representing sexual diversity, women, Indigenous Peoples, and youth in its diverse forms. Because when you listen, you are then open to receiving the good news that is within these various groups, and not just attack them or say “this is bad”. No, I believe that to be a grave error. Only by listening, opening oneself to others, heeding the call, the cry of these various groups, is how the church can prepare itself to give answers in a creative and novel evangelising mission.”
[Sounds like the bishop I love: the Bishop of Rome! And my OFS Fraternity’s Spiritual Assistant! Some clerics get it and some not yet. Cardinal Lacroix seems to get it.]
Catholics in Quebec are leaving the church in droves.
Can reinventing parish life save it?
Excerpts from: Dean Dettloff , February 25, 2021 America Magazine
Cardinal Lacroix called on the church in Quebec not to struggle to hold on to what it has left but to see itself as a mission church moving outward:
“We must reorient our pastoral teams toward a more intensely missionary activity, turned toward the people and groups that we join too little.”
“Cardinal Lacroix’s decision is fully in tune with what the Quebec bishops have called the missionary turnabout, following Francis’s ‘Joy of the Gospel’.”
[We need to:] “ … kickstart the real church, the one that is not made of concrete, brick and mortar, but of flesh, blood and faith.” Still, 64 percent of people in Quebec identify as Catholic, according to the polling firm Angus Reid, even if weekly Mass attendance is no longer the norm.
Out of such challenges may emerge new expressions of authentic Catholicism in the province. “It means less parochial churches, priests and Sunday Masses, and more smaller meeting rooms where laypersons would animate the liturgy of the Word and be a sign of God’s love for humanity by their personal and collective [action] for the common good.”
It is an opportunity “to become the ‘field hospital church’ that Francis so often speaks about.” … “rediscovering the prophetic heritage of Catholic social activists involved in labor, feminist, ecological and decolonial struggles. The church would be wise to tap into that vein, with the hopes and dreams of Quebec’s youth.”
Mr. Barriault agrees. “A prophetic church like [the one sought by Pope Francis], highlighting social justice and solidarity with the destitute and the persecuted, has the potential of closing the chasm between the church and the modern, secular culture of Quebec.”
Black Lives Matter
When we consider BLM in Canada we should bear in mind the history of slavery in Canada and the connection between it and modern-day racism. Note that in New France religious orders were the biggest slave holders and two-thirds were Indigenous and mostly young girls rather than Africans; is there slavery in Canada today? Figures range from 800 to as much as 15,000. See Jean Bellefeuille, RIP 8 Dec 2017 and these two links Slavery of Indigenous People and Black Enslavement.
See past postings on the Trafficking & Slavery page on this website.
Note the link to the CFR Info Guide on the state of slavery in the world. It is a very pictorial document including video clips. It is touching to watch; we have much to learn, judge and act upon.
Andrew Conradi, ofs ,
JPIC & Laudato si’ Animator