Bishops welcome His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, reflect on economic crisis, celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II

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Plnire_2012_015(CCCB – Ottawa)… On the second day of its meeting, the Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) joyfully welcomed His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop of the sui juris Ukrainian Catholic Church. The Bishops also participated in a reflection by the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace on the pastoral understanding of the economic crisis. The day finished with a presentation by Father Gilles Routhier, on the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the contributions to the Council by the 104 Canadian Bishops who had participated.

Archbishop Shevchuk thanked the Assembly for its welcome. Speaking on behalf of Ukrainian Catholics in Canada and around the world, His Beatitude expressed gratitude to the Roman Catholic Bishops of Canada for what he described as the support and solidarity that the Ukrainian Catholic Church has received in Canada. At the end of his remarks, Archbishop Shevchuk was given a standing ovation. All the Catholic Church in Canada this year is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the arrival of its first Ukrainian Catholic Bishop, Blessed Nykyta Budka, who later died a martyr in the Soviet Union.   

Pastoral understanding of the economic crisis

Plnire_2012_025Two resource persons assisted the Bishops in their reflections on the current economic downturn: Montreal economist Mr. Pierre Piché, and Father William Ryan, S.J., a well-known writer and lecturer on economic and social questions. In their presentations, they examined the worldwide crisis from the perspective of Catholic social doctrine.

Describing the situation as radically different from previous economic downturns, Mr. Piché said the present problems indicate an even deeper crisis, one of culture and values. He proposed several practical solutions to help support the moral and ethical values that should be present in the market place, including better regulations. But he also stressed the ethical and moral responsibility of each person in society. The present crisis, he said, involves problems of depersonalization, overconsumption, and using profitability as an excuse to justify any and all behaviour..

Father Ryan, told the Assembly that the Encylical Caritas in Veritate by Pope Benedict XVI is the latest and best presentation of the Church’s social doctrine. It calls for “a new and global humanism,“ he said. Pope Benedict is enhancing “a bigger role for civil society through integral human development,” Father Ryan added. He went on to describe the present economic and financial situation as a “crisis of greed.”

50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council

The second day of the Plenary Assembly ended with a presentation by Father Gilles Routhier, the incoming dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of Laval University in Quebec City. The Canadian Bishops who participated in the Council were exemplary in their participation and what they did in Canada at that time, he said. They urged the faithful to become involved in the spirit of the Council, Father Routhier explained. As one example, he cited the 1962 letter on the Council issued by the Bishops of Canada. Father Routhier also noted that the Bishops had recognized the importance of communications for circulating information on the Council. This included using the services of what eventually became the CCCB communications department, as well as Catholic newspapers and journals. In addition, Father Routhier said, the Canadian Bishops had established a team of theological experts to assist them after the first session of the Council.

The second day of the Plenary also included reports on the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP). Bishop Richard Grecco of Charlottetown and Bishop Claude Champagne, O.M.I., of Edmundston presented the CCODP annual activities report. The two Bishops are currently the CCCB representatives on the CCODP National Council. Bishop John Boissonneau, Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto, gave a progress report on behalf of the CCCB  Standing Committee on CCODP.  Following the reports, the Plenary Assembly again stressed the importance of the work by Development and Peace, and asked the Standing Committee to continue collaborating with CCODP as it integrates the teaching of Pope Benedict’s Encyclical Caritas in Veritate.

About 75 Bishops from across the country are participating in the Plenary Assembly. They are reviewing pastoral activities of the past year ,and also sharing their experiences and insights on the life of the Church and on the major events that shape society. For the second year, the Canadian Catholic television channel Salt + Light TV is broadcasting live a number of the Plenary events, on both internet and television.

Last Updated on Wednesday, September 26 2012  
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Canada’s oldest diocese, the Archdiocese of Quebec, was established in 1674. Most Reverend François de Laval was its first Bishop.