Many left behind as Alta. Economy expands, says archbishop

Archbishop Richard Smith

Archbishop Richard Smith

July 7, 2014

EDMONTON – The archbishop of Edmonton is calling for a "mobilization of compassion" to help Albertans left behind by the province's prosperity.

Speaking at the annual meeting of Catholic Social Services June 26, Archbishop Richard Smith noted Alberta is undergoing an enormous mobilization of resources aimed at building up and expanding the economy.

However, many are being left behind by indifference and lack of opportunities. This, Smith said, demands a mobilization of compassion and a "collective determination that the globalization of indifference not be localized here."

The wounds in our city and province are many, he lamented. "There are the obvious ones of grief, poverty, homelessness and domestic strife or even violence. There are the less visible wounds of despair, loneliness and that deep, often-masked anguish born of the eclipse of God from private or public consideration."


Smith noted Pope Francis speaks most often about mercy. The pope wants all members of the Church to be missionary in reaching out to those who find themselves on the periphery of society in order to bring the mercy of Christ to them.

Catholic Social Services, Smith noted, does all it can to respond to the immediate needs of the poor in Alberta. However, Catholics are called to bring a healing that is transformative.

"Our call, then – informing and shaping all that we do – is to be the gentle face, the tender touch and the loving embrace of the Church, offered to all who are hurting and in need."

Smith reminded his audience, which included representatives of the three levels of government, that "authentic human growth is measured not by the extent of investment in resource extraction or the number of cranes visible on our skyline, but by the degree to which we notice the unnoticed and our commitment to be personally present with them in acts of love, mercy and compassion."