CCCB Annual Plenary Assembly Concludes: Bishops of Canada Affirm Marriage

Friday, October 22 2004

(Cornwall – CCCB) The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) today ended its 61st annual Plenary assembly with a resolution “to affirm and promote the recognition of marriage as the unique life-generating partnership of a man and a woman.”

The resolution by the CCCB Executive Committee, which was introduced by the President, Archbishop Brendan M. O’Brien, was approved unanimously. It calls on the Bishops of Canada “to continue to involve all members of the Church in deepening their appreciation for marriage as the life-long commitment of a man and a woman, which is basic to the stability of society and family life, and necessary for the survival of society and culture.”

It also invites “all Catholics and other Canadians … to continue calling on government and society to protect marriage as the unique and stable partnership of a man and a woman and thus rightly deserving of specific and categorical legal recognition by the state.”

More than 80 bishops from across Canada participated in the six-day annual meeting in Cornwall that examined ongoing and future pastoral projects as well as the financial situation of the Episcopal Conference.

The Eucharist was one of the items discussed during the meeting, just days after Pope John Paul II launched the Year of the Eucharist. Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Archbishop of Quebec, used the occasion to invite the Bishops of Canada to begin preparations for the International Eucharistic Congress that will take place in Quebec City in 2008. The Cardinal had just returned from the 48th Eucharistic Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, which ended last weekend where the Holy Father, via satellite link, announced to the hundreds of thousands of people gathered there that Quebec City has been chosen as the site for the next Congress.

The bishops also selected four delegates who will represent them at the next Synod of Bishops in Rome, to be held in October 2005, on the Eucharist. The Canadian delegation will be made up of four bishops: Bishop Gerald Wiesner, O.M.I., of Prince George; Bishop Paul-André Durocher of Alexandria-Cornwall; Archbishop Thomas Collins of Edmonton; and Bishop Clément Fecteau of Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière. Bishop Louis Dicaire, the Auxiliary Bishop of Saint-Jean-Longueuil, and Bishop Richard Grecco, Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto, were chosen as substitute delegates and will also participate in preparations for the Synod.

In other matters, Bishop Martin Currie of Grand Falls was reappointed as the CCCB representative with the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP), the international solidarity group established by the Bishops of Canada in 1967 for work in the Third world. He joins Bishop Luc Cyr of Valleyfield, also a member of the Development and Peace National Council.

The CCCB is the national assembly of the Bishops of Canada. It supports the bishops in their diocesan work through resources and reflections in different areas such as ecumenism, theology, liturgy, social affairs, Christian education and communications. The CCCB is involved in matters of national and international scope, and provides the bishops a forum where they can share their experience and insight on the life of the Church and the major events that shape society