Closing Address of the 2002 CCCB Plenary Assembly
By Most Reverend Jacques Berthelet, C.S.V.,
We close this Plenary Assembly of the CCCB with the feeling of having tackled important questions in the pastoral service of our particular Churches. Allow me to indicate some of these:
1. World Youth Day (WYD) and the Vocations Congress
Our look at WYD 2002 and the Vocations Congress helped us appreciate the importance of the graces that our diocesan Churches have received. We are well aware that grace is always accompanied by a mission. In this case, our mission is to make fruitful the grace that we have received by better developing our ministry with young people in each of our dioceses. We can count on the special committee for youth ministry to help each of our dioceses with this project. I also want to use this opportunity to thank Cardinal Ambrozic who has given each of us a souvenir medal of WYD 2002. This engraved bronze medal will be a symbol of this grace of God that is now engraved on our hearts. Our thanks also to Cardinal Ambrozic for his involvement in the preparation for WYD 2002 and for having been such a welcoming and attentive host during these days in Toronto. I want to add as well that over the coming weeks you will be receiving an up-to-date financial report on WYD 2002 together with an overview of the operational decisions that were involved, in order to help you better explain the decisions taken as this project developed.
We spent a full day on the liturgy, which is at the heart of the Christian life. Guided by Cardinal Danneels, we became more aware of how we need to provide a deeper understanding of the liturgy and be accountable for it. In considering the liturgy and the sacraments together, we have set out a path for our Liturgy Commissions to help us better live the mysteries of the faith. Similarly, we have committed ourselves to finding the means to enhance the celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation with individual absolution. We have also come to a consensus on implementing the new Roman Missal which we will be able to make public once we have the agreement of the Holy See.
3. Work of the Commissions
We also welcomed with considerable satisfaction the work that has been done by our national and sectoral Commissions; as well, we have put into motion a number of possible programs and priorities for the years to come. I want to express my gratitude to all the members of the commissions and committees, and to the CCCB consultants and personnel, for the immense work that has been accomplished and for the service they render to our dioceses. Similarly, my gratitude also to Development and Peace, the Catholic Organization for Life and Family, and the Appeals Tribunal.
4. From Pain to Hope
It is now 10 years since we received and began implementing the document From Pain to Hope on sexual abuse. We have agreed to review this document and update it, maintaining the same principles which originally inspired it and that have assisted us in developing our diocesan protocols. In this regard, we make our own the words of the Holy Father at the closing of WYD 2002:
“The harm done by some priests and religious to the young and vulnerable fills us all with a deep sense of sadness and shame. But think of the vast majority of dedicated and generous priests and religious whose only wish is to serve and do good! …At difficult moments in the Church's life, the pursuit of holiness becomes even more urgent.”
My dear confreres, as you each return to your dioceses, I wish you all a happy and fruitful pastoral year. Our bonds of fraternity and solidarity that we have nourished here are the work of the Spirit of God. May this Spirit guide you and give you joy. Thank you!
22 October 2002