MONTREAL (CNS) — The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops announced it will no longer be a member of KAIROS, a Canadian-based ecumenical social justice coalition.
In a short statement, the conference expressed concerns about the way KAIROS is structured. “While this is a valid way of operating, it is nevertheless incongruent with the type of oversight and consultation required by Catholic bishops engaged in a given ecumenical venture.”
The bishops’ statement was released Oct. 12, after private discussion at their recent plenary assembly. The statement said KAIROS was informed of the decision Oct. 7.
Since its inception in 2001, KAIROS has invited its members to work and speak together on issues related to social justice, ecology, human rights, and peace activism. The CCCB was one of the founding members of Kairos.
Two Catholic groups — Development and Peace and the Canadian Religious Conference, representing male and female Catholic religious orders — remain a part of KAIROS. Among other members are the Anglican Church, the Presbyterian Church and the United Church of Canada.
The bishops’ decision to sever its association with KAIROS “shouldn’t be a surprise, neither for KAIROS, nor for our ecumenical partners,” said Bishop Lionel Gendron of Saint-Jean-Longueuil Quebec, vice president of the CCCB.
“I’ve been a member of the CCCB’s Executive Committee for five years. And year after year, that question (leaving or remaining a member of KAIROS) has always been at the forefront of our discussions, for different reasons,” said Bishop Gendron. “The decision to leave wasn’t taken lightly.”
He said KAIROS’s structure and the way it operates generated “annoying and uneasy situations that seemed incompatible with what we stand for.”
For instance, he said the Canadian bishops’ conference logo appeared in every letter or statement issued by KAIROS, leading people to believe “that we (the Catholic bishops of Canada) approved all the positions put forward by the ecumenical coalition.”
He said when the coalition made a decision, it did not have an ecumenical discussion and reach a consensus.
At KAIROS, “people are first and foremost involved in advocacy, so to champion particular issues. And when you’re fighting for a cause, you must act quickly.” This is where the problem lies, said Bishop Gendron, since “our own structures demand that we take more time to consult all of our instances.”
KAIROS promptly responded to the CCCB’s decision to leave the coalition.
In a statement, the Rev. Desmond Jagger-Parsons of the United Church of Canada, president of the board of directors of KAIROS, acknowledged the group’s long collaboration with the bishops. He also noted that KAIROS “is not foremost a forum devoted to ecumenical dialogue. Our work is totally different.”
Gloutnay writes for the Montreal-based Presence info.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: Jesuits called to reconcile humanity with God, new superior says
NEXT: Act now to process refugees, Bishop Crosby tells Canadian government
Share this story