Bishop Raymond Field introduction of Lord Chris Patten at the launch of ‘The Common Good in an Unequal World’

04 Dec 2007


4th December 2007

Bishop Raymond Field introduction of Lord Chris Patten at the launch of The Common Good in an Unequal World


Today at the headquarters of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, Sean McDermott Street, Dublin, Lord Chris Patten launched the publication The Common Good in an Unequal World. The chair of the Irish Bishops’ Commission for Justice and Social Affairs (ICJSA), Bishop Raymond Field, welcomed and introduced Lord Patten with the following remarks:

“It is my pleasure this afternoon, to welcome you on behalf of the ICJSA to the launch of this prestigious publication. Shortly after Cardinal Renato Martino, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, launched the English language version of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church in October 2004, the newly formed ICJSA, agreed that this important document, which brought together in one volume the ongoing development of the Social Teaching of the Church, should be made more available to a wider audience of people. It was of such importance that it merited an Irish publication – which we proceeded to put in place, thanks to the cooperation and support of Veritas.

In addition – and as part of our commitment to making the Social Teaching of the Church better known and understood – it was agreed that a Conference should be held to promote this important publication and to invite a wide variety of speakers to present their reflections and insights. This conference took place on 2 March 2006 in Croke Park, and it was both well attended and received wide publicity, thus helping us to achieve our goal in promoting the Social Teaching of the Church.

I wish to thank all who spoke at that Conference, those who gave their own thoughtful reflection on the importance of the Social Teaching of the Church. Our thanks are especially due to Rev Dr Eoin Cassidy for ensuring that all the papers delivered at the Conference – and more – were gathered into this publication. No easy task but one for which the Church and a wider audience, are profoundly grateful.

To add to this, I am delighted that one of our key note speakers at that Conference has come to launch this publication and to address us. Lord Chris Patten, it is an honour to welcome you here this afternoon. Your presence and your readiness to accept our invitation here, is a further confirmation of the importance of making the Social Teaching of the Church the basis for building, what the late Pope John Paul II described as ‘a civilisation of love’.

As Archbishop Diarmuid Martin remarked, on 26 September last, at the launch of the Companion to the Compendium of the Social Teaching of the Church, which is aimed at encouraging parishes and schools to become more acquainted with the Social Gospel and the Church’s Social Teaching:

‘The Irish church needs more active, articulate lay people who understand and assume their responsibilities as Christian believers in various aspects of society. Irish society and Irish democracy would benefit from a new generation of lay people, prepared and capable of informing public opinion, on the contribution that can be derived from the message of Jesus to establishing values to inspire pluralistic Irish political and social life.’


Lord Patten, as I said, you are most welcome. You are no stranger to these shores but as we welcome you, we are deeply conscious and appreciative of your own commitment to the Social Teaching of the Church. Having just finished reading your book Not Quite the Diplomat I am deeply conscious of the influence in your life of the Social Teaching of the Church as you faced the many varied and complex challenges which were part of the global dimension of your political and social responsibilities.

Finally, but most importantly, may I thank the Society of St Vincent de Paul for so readily agreeing to host this launch today. It is a reflection of the Society’s own ongoing exemplary commitment to the practical implementation of the social Gospel of Jesus Christ. We wish you well in their forthcoming Christmas collection and I earnestly hope that people will respond generously to your appeal and so enable you to provide ongoing and necessary assistance to the poor and to the most vulnerable in our society.”


Further information:
Martin Long Director of Communications (086 172 7678)
Kathy Tynan Communications Officer (086 817 5674)