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De Roo, Remi J.

Edited by Bede Hubbard. Ottawa, Novalis, c1986. 172pp, paper, $9.95, ISBN 0-88862-951-6. Distributed by James Lorimer.

Reviewed by Kenneth A. Elliott

Volume 14 Number 4
1986 July

Bishop Remi De Roo, member and former president of the Social Affairs Commission of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, is currently president of the bishops' Western Catholic Conference. Bishop of Victoria since 1962, he holds a doctorate in theology from the Angelicum University in Rome.

De Roo's present work is a collection of his reflections on the public's response to the 1983 Ethical Reflections On The Economic Crisis, written by the Roman Catholic bishops of Canada.

The present volume consists of thirteen chapters grouped under three major headings: "Getting Our Sights Straight," "Old Standards Get A New Look," and "Tactics And Options For Justice." An epilogue and two appendices containing selected documents of the Canadian Catholic Conference, together with the names and addresses of twelve task forces, are listed. These latter references will provide the reader with more detailed information about the involvement of the Roman Catholic Church with agencies of social reform. A bibliography of seventy-four references, including twenty-three of De Roo's own articles and addresses on the subject, conclude this volume.

Of the many things that are unique about this work, the most outstanding is that its author is a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church. Few, if any, of De Roo's colleagues have committed themselves personally in writing. However, this is certainly not the case with Bishop De Roo. His leadership in the area of ethics and morality has been expressed brilliantly in the present work.

De Roo's criticism of socialistic and capitalistic economics is evenhanded throughout. His thrust is always toward the needs of the poor and those who frequently become the victims in economic reform.

Waxing philosophical at limes, notably when he states:

. . .that security is not a matter of grasping but of sharing; that courage consists not in killing but in dying for others; that power is not the ability to exploit but the love strong enough to overcome death.

De Roo's purpose is to act as a mirror, to reflect the human concerns of those who are the victims of social change. He does this in the light of the gospel of Jesus of Nazareth. Of the variety of challenges and disagreements one may have with the economics contained in these pages, one cannot argue with the masterfulness with which De Roo paints the gospel values on the canvas of Canadian society. Nor can the reader escape the realization that the Canadian bishops have and are taking an active role in Canadian social change. Their activities among social agencies and church organizations are explored by De Roo.

The refreshing attitude with which the author expresses his concerns and those of his colleagues is plainly stated:

Christians have no hotline to God. We do not have privileged information regarding the divine will. We have not inherited a detailed blueprint illustrating Cod's plan for society. What Christians do have are their gospel insights which both challenge society and are in turn tested by the events of society and of human experience. . . .it is the role of Christians to face their responsibilities and make the necessary political and social choices in the light of their Christian values.

De Roo's insights will be of value to anyone actively involved in making our world a better place in which to live. It will also be useful as a basis for debate in classes of social and economic theory. There are many issues that demand the attention of our religious leaders today. Bishop De Roo has responded to the economic ones.

Kenneth A. Elliott, Laval Catholic H.S., Chomedey, Que.
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