Magazine article Anglican Journal

'The Public Square Has Been Emptied out', Says Theologian

Magazine article Anglican Journal

'The Public Square Has Been Emptied out', Says Theologian

Article excerpt

In celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) on Nov. 19, prominent Catholic scholar and activist Mary-Jo Leddy spoke about the challenges the 21st-century church faces in a world where the importance of common space and the public good has diminished.

The event,"Faith in the Public Square," was, quite appropriately, held at the Anglican Church of the Redeemer in downtown Toronto, a building that literally stands within a city block of the University of Toronto, Queen's Park, the Royal Ontario Museum and the upscale neighbourhood of Yorkville, one of Canada's wealthiest stretches of street.

Leddy, who founded and wrote for the Catholic New Times in the 1970s and went on to found the Toronto-based refugee aid organization Romero House in 1992, began the lecture with an anecdote from her childhood in Saskatoon, where Protestants and Catholics lived together in a kind of vaguely hostile mutual ignorance. She praised the ways in which the ecumenical movement and the CCC have worked hard to overcome these barriers of ignorance and distrust in order to work for justice and peace.

She went on to add, however, that the CCC "is taken for granted by the vast majority of people in our country." While the CCC is a witness of Christian unity and speaks on behalf of its members on many social issues, Leddy said that doesn't necessarily matter in a postmodern world where, as she put it, "you can say, 'this is what I believe' and the answer can be, 'yeah, whatever. …

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