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Report of the President: 2005 Plenary Assembly - 4. Ongoing challenges

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Report of the President: 2005 Plenary Assembly
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4. Ongoing challenges
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4.      Ongoing challenges 

In addition to reviewing and revitalizing our episcopal structures, our Conference has some yet unresolved issues with respect to staffing. Hopefully, a successor to the late Father Richard Côté, O.M.I., will be announced over the coming weeks as Director of the Office for Ecclesial Relations and Doctrine. We also need to fill the position of assistant in the same office. As well, we are looking for a replacement for Mr. Joe Gunn, who recently decided to leave his work as Director of the Office for Justice, Peace and Missions. However, it is encouraging to note that new well-qualified personnel have filled other positions: in December last year, Ms. Micheline Dubé as Director of Administration Service, and more recently two other staff began in COLF and in the Office for Justice, Peace and Missions: Ms. Lea Sevcik and Ms. Julia Novitskaia. 

At the same time, as part of our efforts to assure what Pope Benedict called “integral formation in all areas of the Church”, this Plenary will be reviewing the National Office of Religious Education, which in turn may have some impact, whether direct or indirect, on the CCCB Publications Service.  

Reviews and restructuring are not new to the CCCB. There were major reflections on the structures of our Conference, 1964 to 1966, in the light of the priorities of Vatican II; again during 1972, particularly in view of regionalization; and most recently, 1986 to 1989, the Taskforce on Future Directions, from the perspective of subsidiarity and collegiality. 

The current CCCB review is part of an ongoing challenge which our predecessors creatively and courageously had to face, just as the determination to renew and reform was also at the basis of the Second Vatican Council. The vision of hope and the promise of renewed life that the Council offered the world were possible because the Council Fathers were prepared to look at the structures of the Church, in order to determine the essentials in all their integrity and so assure their full service to humanity. A similar challenge faces us as a Conference with our own structures. Thus it is fitting, I believe, in closing to cite the words of Paul VI on 8 December 1965 at the conclusion of the Council: 

This is a unique moment, a moment of incomparable significance and riches. In this … assembly, in this privileged point of time and space, there converge together the past, the present and the future. The past: for here, gathered in this spot, we have the Church of Christ with her tradition, her history, her councils, her doctors, her saints. The present: for we are taking leave of one another to go out towards the world of today with its miseries, its sufferings, its sins, but also with its prodigious accomplishment, its values, its virtues. And lastly the future is here, in the urgent appeal of the peoples of the world for more justice, in their will for peace, in their conscious or unconscious thirst for a higher life, that life precisely which the Church of Christ can and wishes to give them.  

My brother bishops, this is not the moment for retrospection or nostalgia, but for refocused attention on our ministry as bishops and on the purposes of our Conference. Following the example of the Council, and of the Bishops of Canada after Vatican II, let us with creativity and courage renovate and renew the structures of our Conference, so it may be a more effective resource to assist us, the Bishops of Canada, in announcing to the men and women of our age God’s saving truth in all its purity and integrity, in all its urgency and efficacy.  

Most Reverend Brendan M. O’Brien
President
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops 

September 2005



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