Las Cruces, NM: Bishop Oscar Cantú has been elected by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) as Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace. Bishop Cantú, a committee member, was elected to the chairman position in a 126-110 vote.
This position is an important one in the Church. It comes at a time when the threat to religious believers is growing. The Pew Research Center reports that 75 percent of the world’s population “lives in countries where governments, social groups, or individuals restrict people’s ability to freely practice their faith.” Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in his address to the USCCB General Assembly on November 11, 2013 stated that we do not need a report to tell us something that we sadly see on the news every day. Religious persecution in the form of violent attacks happens every day all over the world. Pope Francis urges all Christians to pray for one another, to look beyond one’s own fence. Collectively, the body of bishops established this committee to protect religious freedom, to advocate for justice and peace in our world.
The USCCB Committee on International Justice & Pease assists the bishops, both collectively and individually, in advancing the social mission of the church on international justice and peace through policy development, advocacy, education, outreach and acts of ecclesial solidarity. The committee advises the bishops on international public policy issues, especially integral human development, human rights, religious freedom and peace.
Bishop Cantú is an academic and a theologian; an advocate of Hispanic Ministry, ecumenical and interfaith dialogue, social justice, Catholic education, youth and family life. He is the youngest bishop in the U.S. leading a diocese. He is an articulate, soft-spoken man of God, who chooses his words with care in order to convey Gods’ message. Cantú has accepted this new challenge prayerfully and thoughtfully. Bishop Cantú’s motto is “Zeal for the Lord’s house does consume me.”