CCCB Plenary Assembly: Outgoing President Says That Church Faces Dramatic and Magnificent Times

Monday, October 27 2003

(CCCB – Cap-de-la-Madeleine) – Quoting from Pope Paul VI, the outgoing President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), Most. Rev. Jacques Berthelet, C.S.V., told the Plenary Assembly of bishops in his final annual report that these are magnificent and dramatic times for the Church.

“This is a magnificent moment for the Church,” he said. “Once again we make the urgency of evangelizing our fundamental mission. We work on reconstituting the fabric of the faith through catechesis. We marvel at the new generations of young people who found rebirth in World Youth Day and now come to give new hope to our particular Churches.”

“But this is also a dramatic moment, marked by conflicts which never seem to end; a time when the outward expressions of the Church are often discredited, and when the most basic of human and religious values are seriously questioned.”

“It is for us to speak out – to reaffirm those values that are so essential. Our declarations on the conflict in Iraq and on reproductive technologies have been eloquent examples of this.”

Later, the Plenary participants discussed the debate on redefining marriage with Bishop Berthelet reviewing the various interventions the CCCB has undertaken over the past year. He added the episcopal conference will continue to remain vigilant, following closely the actions of the federal government and the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Apostolic Nuncio to Canada, Archbishop Luigi Ventura, also addressed the assembly, telling the bishops that the Holy See deeply values their powerful interventions in the marriage debate, and that they are showing good leadership on this important issue.

Archbishop Ventura also thanked the bishops of Canada for holding World Youth Day in 2002 despite incredible difficulties and challenges. He told them the debt should not be considered as a detriment, but as an investment in the future of the Church.

The first day’s activities ended with a review of World Youth Day 2002.

The bishops also heard testimonies from young people who were moved and transformed by WYD. The CCCB used the occasion for a presentation to honour Rev. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., who was National Director of this huge event, with the medal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifico. The medal was awarded in the name of Pope John Paul II for Rev. Rosica’s commitment and exemplary dedication to the service of the Catholic Church in Canada, especially for his work with young people.