The Bishops of Canada Discuss their Involvement in Life Issues

Friday, October 23 2009

Most Reverend Bertrand Blanchet, Archbishop Emeritus of Rimouski and Most Reverend Ronald P. Fabbro, C.S.B., Bishop of London, initiate a discussion on the role Bishops should play in the promotion of life issues.

The role of Bishops in life issues was the focus of much of the afternoon of the fourth day of the Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). To assist in their reflections, the Bishops heard a panel presentation involving two former members of the Board of Directors of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF): Most Reverend Bertrand Blanchet, Archbishop emeritus of Rimouski, and Most Reverend Ronald P. Fabbro, C.S.B., Bishop of London.

Referring to the recent debate on euthanasia and assisted suicide, as well as debates on other life issues, Bishop Fabbro noted the importance of being pro-active in framing the questions. “If Bishops don’t step up,” he said, “others will who may present a distorted view of the Church’s teaching. We need to inform our people on the foundations of our faith.”

In his presentation, Archbishop Blanchet noted the tensions and difficulties that have emerged among individuals and groups involved in defending the right to life from conception to natural death. He stressed the importance being united in thought and action, and proposed a dialogue involving all parties in the “pro-life movement”. Such a dialogue, he said, would help lessen difficulties within the movement and also help establish common ground.

In their reflections, the Bishops stressed there was an important link between the sacredness of human life and the quality of life. They also noted the importance of activities for life at the diocesan level.

Following their discussions on life issues, the Bishops received information and reports from the four Regional Episcopal Assemblies (Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, and the West), as well as from the dioceses of the North and from the eparchies of the Eastern Catholic Churches present in Canada.

During the morning, the Bishops from the French Sector held their annual meeting. This involved discussions on various topics, including liturgy and the sacraments, French-language translations of liturgical books, catechesis and the new evangelization. There were also reports from the Bishops appointed by the CCCB to be in liaison with the Apostleship of the Sea, SOCABI (the French-language equivalent of the Catholic Biblical Society of Canada), and la Vie Montante, a Catholic movement for those who are retired or about to retire.