2006 CCCB Plenary Assembly: Bishops of Canada Discuss Question of Sexual Abuse

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CCCB – Cornwall… The Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has referred the question of sexual abuse to its Permanent Council. Scheduled to meet next month, sexual abuse will be a priority for the Council, which is the CCCB major decision-making body between Plenaries.

Archbishop André Gaumond, President of the CCCB, noted that “dioceses already have measures in place to assist individuals in making a complaint and also to assist in cooperating with legal authorities. Recent cases in various Canadian dioceses demonstrate that the mechanisms which are in place work well. A person accused of sexual abuse is immediately placed on administrative leave, and the authorities receive full collaboration in their inquiry. The question now is whether more can be done to prevent sexual abuse.”

The protection of the public, particularly children, is foremost in the reflections of the Bishops. Archbishop Gaumond said that while solutions may seem simple, implementing them can be much more complex. “The structure of our Church, which differs from most other Christian Churches, means each diocese is autonomous and self-governing. If the measures in place are not national because of this diocesan autonomy, one thing remains clear and certain: all the dioceses are taking this matter most seriously. Decisions in this area cannot be made lightly. The question is of fundamental importance for us as pastors and for the communities we serve”, the CCCB President said on the last day of the 2006 Plenary.


  • The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has agreed to be part of discussions on the redefinition of marriage which are expected over the coming weeks, following an earlier promise by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to have a free vote in Parliament on whether to re-open the debate.
  • Two new members have been elected to the CCCB Permanent Council, both from the English Sector: Most Reverend Frederick B. Henry, Bishop of Calgary, and Most Reverend Richard Gagnon, Bishop of Victoria.
  • The Plenary Assembly discussed at length the restructuring of the Episcopal Conference, including its commissions and other various bodies. The Bishops will continue these reflections over the coming months.
  • The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has agreed to support a request by the Archbishop of Quebec City that the Holy Father designate the Shrine of Sainte Anne de Beaupré as the primary site for the 2008 celebration of the World Day of the Sick, in keeping with the spirit of preparations for the International Eucharistic Congress, to be held later that same year in Quebec City. The resolution was unanimously adopted by the Bishops of Canada and will be conveyed to Pope Benedict XVI. Instituted in 1992 by Pope John Paul II, the World Day of the Sick is celebrated each year on 11 February.


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