1998 Plenary Briefs

Monday, October 19 1998

CCCB Backs Worldwide Debt Petition Campaign

Canada’s Catholic bishops voted in the Plenary Assembly to support the worldwide debt petition campaign proposed by the Canadian Ecumenical Jubilee Initiative. The petition states:

“We believe that the start of the new millennium should be a time to give new hope to the impoverished people of the world.
“To make a new beginning we believe it is time to cancel the backlog of unpayable debts of the most impoverished nations.

“We call upon the leaders of lending nations to write off these debts by the year 2000.

“We urge these leaders to take effective steps to prevent high levels of debt building up again. They should promote sustainable economic and social development instead of supporting measures demanded by international financial institutions that erode health care, education and the environment, further impoverishing the poorest populations of the world.”

National Day of Solidarity with the Elderly
The bishops unanimously approved a motion from Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary inviting the Catholic faithful and all Canadians to observe May 20, 1999 as a national day of solidarity with the elderly, as part of the 1999 celebration of the United Nations International Year of the Older Person.

New CCCB Co-Treasurer

Bishop Jacques Berthelet of St-Jean-Longueuil has been elected to the CCCB Executive Committee as Co-Treasurer. He replaces Archbishop Henri Goudreault of Grouard- McLennan who died suddenly this past summer. He will work with the other Co-Treasurer, Bishop Anthony Tonnos of Hamilton.

The two other members of the CCCB Executive Committee are the President, Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte of Montreal, and Vice-President, Bishop Gerald Wiesner of Prince George. The term for the Executive Committee ends next fall at the Plenary Assembly to be held in Cornwall, Ontario, from October 14-19.

Saint Joseph, Principal Patron of Canada

The Bishops voted to have the name of Saint Joseph inserted after the name of Mary in the revised texts of all Canons now approved or to be approved for use in Canada. Saint Joseph is the Principal Patron of Canada.

CCCB Aid to the Church in Eastern Europe

The CCCB contributed $77,000 in aid during the past year to the Church in Eastern and Central Europe and the Balkans. Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte of Montreal, chairman of the ad hoc committee responsible for aid to Eastern Europe, told the Plenary Assembly that the CCCB plans on contributing $50,000 more in 1999. The CCCB project is entering its seventh year.

Since 1993, the CCCB has supported more than 50 separate projects in Eastern Europe and donated more than a total of $300,000.

Appeal Tribunal of Canada

Archbishop Francis J. Spence of Kingston, in presenting the annual report for the Canadian Appeal Tribunal to the Plenary Assembly, said 3,104 requests for marriage annulments were received in 1997, of which 2,954 were concluded. All requests are forwarded to the Appeal Tribunal by diocesan marriage tribunals for confirmation or rejection.

Once the Tribunal confirms a “Declaration of Marriage Nullity” by a diocesan tribunal, the persons involved are free to contract marriage in the Church unless the Tribunal rules the person is psychologically incapable to marry, at least in the immediate future.

The Appeal Tribunal is considered a pastoral ministry of reconciliation for those who have experienced a marriage breakdown.