Message from the Catholic Archdiocese of MontrealOver the past few weeks, the Occupy Montréal movement has been able to communicate visibly in a public forum. This has been its great strength.
Many of the movement's views reflect the values of hospitality and respect for the person, found in the Gospel. The movement calls for a world marked by peace, justice and compassion, a world where no one goes hungry, a world where natural resources are shared equitably.
With the arrival of colder weather, some people are asking whether the Occupy Montréal campers might be able to receive shelter in one or other of Montreal's churches. Unfortunately, this option is not very feasible. Churches are simply not organized to be able to provide shelter to persons, notably because they lack adequate sanitary facilities. Furthermore, ensuring proper security in such spaces would soon lead to the kinds of problems that were encountered by the movement's organizers at Victoria Square.
The Church already contributes significantly in providing refuge for those persons without means who would otherwise find themselves in the street. The Church continues to raise awareness and to provide education in democracy to its members. The Church challenges political and economic decision-makers in order to defend human rights and to promote the common good.
Furthermore most of our churches dedicate the space at their disposal to community organizations and charitable activities. Offering shelter to Occupy Montréal campers would require asking these organizations to carry out their activities elsewhere. We do not think this to be the best course of action.
On the other hand, the Catholic Church of Montréal remains open to exploring realistic solutions. We remain in solidarity with all those who might contribute to building a world that is more just, more equitable and more humane.
Catholic Archdiocese of Montreal