Social Justice

The following are the primary ways in which the Social Justice Department attempts to respond to the call to be prophetic and witness to transformative action in a highly disillusioned culture, according to the demands of the Social Teachings of the Church as presented in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:

  • Offers various presentations and workshops.
  • Works creatively in ecumenical groups and committees, including Kairos and Restorative Justice circles.
  • Provides the leadership required to shape ‘A Deanery’s Spotlight on Social Justice’, an approach designed to assist the Implementation of the Vision of the Archdiocese of Regina. A ‘Deanery’s Spotlight on Social Justice’ replaces the ‘Social Justice in Motion’ conferences.
  • Joins various advocacy and action groups that it might be informed by and give support to secular groups and coalitions who work out of concern for the environment and on behalf of persons who are in need of better support.
  • Participates in the Annual Western Social Justice Conference, a weekend gathering of many representatives from the 18 dioceses in Western Canada, enabling it to work in wider regional social justice forums.
  • Hosts and chairs the three or four commission meetings that take place each year. The Archdiocesan Social Justice Commission is a body made up of two representatives from each deanery. The work of the commission is to pray, offer support and challenge to the Coordinator, provide a two-way line of communication, discuss any current justice issues of regional concern, and assist the department in developing and promoting an annual Archdiocesan or deanery wide Social Justice event.

The Social Justice Department of the Archdiocese of Regina is staffed by the Social Justice Coordinator, Bert Pitzel, and part time secretary Jo-Ann Selinger.

Sow Much Love

What's New

Jan 19, 2012

The TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission), a body created by the Settlement Agreement of 2008 http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100015638 , drew dignitaries, commissioners, witnesses and observers to the First Nations University in Regina, Jan. 16, 17,18/2012.

The process used in Regina will be repeated in 11 other gatherings in Saskatchewan to be held over the next 3 months http://www.nationtalk.ca/modules/news/article.php?storyid=50184 Why? As one commissioner said, “to ensure that there will be a public record--a memory of what happened in the schools. Also, “Many survivors never told their stories. The Children do not know why they are the way they are. The TRC is trying to bring a solution to that.” 

I was able to attend the opening session and a portion of the testimonies given Jan 16 and 17th.

Some of the testimonies I heard were soft and barely audible,...

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Go Green, go

Last updated on January 10, 2012

On Jan. 9th, Minister of Natural Resources, Joe Oliver in representing the position of the Harper Government, offered Canadians an open letter http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/media-room/news-release/2012/1/3520

The letter proposes that those opposing Tar Sands expansion, and specifically the Northern Gateway pipeline, are “radical socialists” funded by “foreign interests”, and now threaten Canada’s economic interests.

It is my contention that most environmentalists do not absolutely oppose all tar sands development, but rather see that it could be part of a transition stage, but only if it is carefully regulated by community and environmental interests. 

Additionally, it is helpful to read a sentiment offered by a member of Cleangreen Saskatchewan, one of the groups that the Harper Government warns Canadians about.
“Environmentalists have been calling for economic development in the form of renewable energy projects and energy conservation initiatives, which...

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Relationally the Poorest of the Poor

Last updated on December 30, 2011

Blog, Dec 30, 2011

Circles of Support and Accountability.

CoSA-Regina is in need of volunteers.  Currently, 4 soon-to-be released sex offenders have asked for the help they need to successfully integrate into society. The Steering Committee of Circles of Support and Accountability Regina has been responding to such cries by forming a friendship circle around each person who truly desires to continue to make a radical turn-about in their life.      

Over the past 7-8 years I have been a part of the CoSA Steering Committee, as well as 3 supportive circles, and therefore can attest to the strength and effectiveness of the friendships that gradually form as 4 or 5 people meet weekly with those in search of a better way.

Might you be called to serve someone who, relationally, can be...

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Iraqi Family Arriving

Last updated on December 20, 2011

Blog, Dec 20, 2011

Our Iraqi family is coming today! They will be arriving at the Regina Airport, December 20, 2011,  at 3:19 p.m.. We have been preparing for this moment for close to two years.

The family is 6 in number - father, mother 15 year old girl, 13 year old boy, 7 year old girl and 2 year old boy. Thanks to the generosity of various parishes, the Archdiocese has already collected  close to 23 thousand dollars for this undertaking. 

The sponsorship of our family had its remote beginning in Jan of 2010 when Bishop Dan asked me to attend a Refugee Conference in Pickering Ontario, attended by representatives of many Catholic Dioceses of Canada. Once at the conference, and after hearing a presentation, watching a video and having discussions with several Iraqi Christians, I became more deeply attuned to the appeal that persecuted Christians of Iraq were making to the Pope and Bishops of the world. Later...

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"the Protester" Man of the Year

Last updated on December 14, 2011

Great news everyone. Time magezine has chosen 'the Protester as their 'man of the year'. No, not Kate or the specialists who got Osama, etc etc, but the Protester. Time Mag. recognizes that whether it is the protestor in Iran, or in the Arab world or is part of the Occupy Movement, it is this kind of action which has transforming power because it draws attention to what offends human dignity.

I lift my glass to the protesters, and lets not forget those courageous folks abused and imprisoned in Toronto, peacefully demonstrating at the G-20, who became the pawns and victims designed to teach every would be protester not to fiddle with the current status quo.

An exciting story of courage...

Last updated on December 8, 2011

This past weekend (Dec 3, 4) I travelled to Prince Albert to attend a 'Thanksgiving Feast' hosted by Northern Indigenous Communities. The meal was to be their expression of gratitude for the relationships that started to be built with the South this past summer.

Let me explain…Earlier in June, a few very nervous Native and Métis persons sponsored a nuclear waste burial awareness evening. They did this out of concern for a request that was dumped in their laps—‘we want to sink radio-active nuclear reactor waste into the bedrock of your land’. What bothered these forward-looking people the most was that discussions were taking place only between NWMO and a few carefully selected Officials. This lack of transparency immediately prompted some informal community leaders to come forward to plan ways that might spur the many to grapple with the underlying questions. Their devised strategy was to hold an evening to give both people of the north and south an opportunity to partake...

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December 1, 2011

Last updated on December 1, 2011

Will the Federal Government’s new legislation that seeks to ‘get tough on crime’ make Canada a meaner society as Alex Himelfarb proposes in his article? http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/987)

What criteria should be used to evaluate the new omnibus bill?

The Church’s social doctrine is an evolving synthesis in which faith, theology, metaphysics and science come together to serve humankind. Not surprisingly, then, Pope Benedict in his most recent Encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, warns governments of the dangers of ‘oversimplifying reality in artificial ways’, and that societies must ‘liberate themselves from ideologies’. He points out that such can take place only if societies willingly guide themselves in a process in which moral evaluation and scientific research go hand in hand.

The Church asserts that human action is moral only if it strengthens the solidarity of civil society in anticipation of the Absolute Unity for which humankind has been...

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November 23, 2011

Last updated on November 23, 2011

Thank you Father’s Juanito Vargas, Joy Montiague , Carlos Jimenez , and Louis Kim Nguyen for your participation in ‘A Deanery’s Spotlight on Social Justice held Nov. 19, 2011 in Assiniboia. Father Joy, I know that you literally had to do cartwheels to get back from the Phillipines to be with us. Thank you for your strong commitment to social justice and support of this important gathering.

I say a special thank you to Helene, Brian, Nancy, Peter, Anita and Ian for your presence and superb presentations. You were the heart of the day. What rich witness and food for reflection! While the fruit of your effort won’t be seen immediately, I strongly believe that the witness of your going words to action will motivate others to do so as well.

Thank you especially to Carol. How well you hung in there, taking the ball on July the 14th, but you were able to spike it Sat. Nov 19th. You were asked so often to show remarkable resilience and determination.

My hope is that...

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Blog, Nov. 8, 2011

Last updated on November 16, 2011

On Nov 3, Dan Beveridge and I gave what I considered to be a pretty informative and spirited presentation on KAIROS (local and national) to a group of 25 people who had gathered at the Lifelong Learning Centre. The group seemed interested and appreciative.

What is up next? This Saturday, Nov 12 some very fine folks who make up the Social Justice Commission will spend the day reflecting upon and discussing the D&P Action Program, A Deanery’s Spotlight on Social Justice, as well as the implications of recent CWB developments. I enjoy the Commission Meetings—what better way to spend the day than with special people committed to a life of Social Justice?

On Nov. 19th St George’s in Assiniboia, I will be facilitating theMoose Jaw/ Gravelbourg Deanery’s Spotlight on Social Justice. What is ‘A Deanery’s Spotlight on Social Justice’? Do you want to come and check it out for your Deanery?

A Deanery’s Spotlight on Social Justice

This is a new approach in the...

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The Joint Workshop Was a Success!

Last updated on November 2, 2011

Last Saturday’s joint workshop held between both Social Justice and Development and Peace was considered a success. Eighteen people attended the event which was lead by Armella Sonntag and myself . Everyone seemed to agree it was very informative and resulted in some very thought provoking and  interesting conversations.

Presently I am preparing for tomorrow’s one hour presentation to be given at the Lifelong Learning Centre in Regina from 12am to 1pm. The presentation will be made with Dan Beveridge and will focus on the vision, program and action of KAIROS, both at the national and local levels.

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