Address of His Excellency the Most Reverend Luigi Ventura, Apostolic Nuncio to Canada to the Plenary Assembly of the CCCB - Page 2

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Address of His Excellency the Most Reverend Luigi Ventura, Apostolic Nuncio to Canada to the Plenary Assembly of the CCCB
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9.     This year, the Bishops of Canada welcomed four new and young colleagues to their ranks, bishops who will bring a new energy to the Church and to the Episcopal Conference; they are presently in Rome, participating in sessions specifically organized for the Bishops of the world recently ordained. Today, they met with the Holy Father who, among other things, made reference to the Compendium of the Catechism, in the following words: “During the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, I presented to the Church the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a summary of the complete Catechism. Today, symbolically, I give each of you these two fundamental documents of the Church's faith, that they may be a point of reference in your teaching and a sign of our communion of faith." 

On the other hand, we have received with sadness the news of the health difficulties of other colleagues, particularly Archbishop Arthé Guimond and Archbishop Raymond Roussin; we assure them of our prayer and of our wishes for their prompt recuperation. 

 10.  The ad limina visit is foreseen for 2006. During my last visit to Rome, the Prefecture of the Pontifical House indicated to me that the dates for the visits have been unofficially entered in the diary being prepared, in the spring (April 24 to May 7) for the Assemblée des  évêques catholiques du Québec and the Atlantic Episcopal Assembly, and in the Autumn (September 25 to October 6) for the Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Western Catholic Conference.  I transmitted the new suggestions of the Atlantic and Western Conferences to Archbishop Harvey, and as soon as I have news regarding this matter, I will immediately communicate it to you. 

It would be useful that the quinquennial reports be transmitted to the Nunciature at the beginning of the year in order that the different Dicasteries be able to prepare opportunely for the meetings with the Bishops.  The ad limina visit will have a special aspect this year: the Bishops of Canada will meet officially for the first time with His Holiness Pope Benedict, whom several Bishops knew when he was the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.   

11.   During your Assembly, you will undertake a deep reflection concerning the structures of your Conference. This is a necessary work to make these structures always more functional and more adapted to the heavy responsibility that weighs upon the Episcopal ministry.  A lot has been done already; still more remains to be carried out but the progress is good and I congratulate you.  

12.   For some time and particularly during the past year, you have given a lot of attention to the controversial and difficult debate on marriage.  At the national level, the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Canada and, at the regional level, various Episcopal assemblies and diocesan bishops have made numerous interventions.   

I have already transmitted to Archbishop O’Brien the congratulations and the appreciation of Cardinal Sodano as well as the heads of several Dicasteries for your courageous and clear defence of the family which is the basis of society, culture and religious patrimony of all peoples, of all times.  In keeping with your duty of pastoral care, you have participated, not without difficulty, in the public debate proper to a democratic society, not only as the voice of the Church, but as the voice of reason seeking the common good. The new legislation now requires of the Church to illuminate the faithful, and to form and accompany Christian families. 

13.   For many years, the Episcopal Conference has given its attention to the difficult questions concerning sexual abuse carried out by members of the clergy. Justice, truth and charity require reparation, correction, understanding and prevention with the adoption of all the necessary measures. We look forward to the day when all of this will be resolved, not only to be free from a heavy weight, but in order to invest all our energies and resources in the announcement of the Gospel. 

14.   Lights and shadows have always accompanied the history of the Church on account of the persons who are her members.  Obscurity comes from infidelity and sin; the light comes from holiness and grace as we well know. Pope Benedict reminded young Catholics of the parable of the net, collecting good and bad fish.  

I would want to conclude my words by sharing with you the prayer that Cardinal Ratzinger wrote for the 9th Station of the Way of the Cross, celebrated at the Coliseum in Rome this year: 

Lord, your Church often seems like a boat about to sink, a boat taking in water on every side.  In your field we see more weeds than wheat.  The soiled garments and face of your Church throw us into confusion.  Yet it is we ourselves who have soiled them!  It is we who betray you time and time again, after all our lofty words and grand gestures. Have mercy on your Church; within her too, Adam continues to fall.  When we fall, we drag you down to earth, and Satan laughs, for he hopes that you will not be able to rise from that fall; he hopes that being dragged down in the fall of your Church, you will remain prostrate and overpowered.  But you will rise again.  You stood up, you arose and you can also raise us up.  Save and sanctify your Church.  Save and sanctify us all. 

As Bishops, together and personally, our task is to help the Lord and his Church arise, to witness that he is risen. Our ministry calls us to sow the optimism which comes from faith, in a word, hope.  

15- Finally, I would like to renew my lively thanks to Archbishop O’Brien as his mandate as President comes to an end. I offer equally to Archbishop Gaumond my best wishes as he assumes this Presidency for the next two years.   

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