Cornwall, Ontario – On the second day of the 2019 Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), Bishops, observers and guests listened to two dynamic panel presentations.
Guest panelists shared their experiences and involvement with three recent events: XV Ordinary General Assembly on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment in Rome (October 2018), World Youth Day in Panama (January 2019) and the 11th International Youth Forum in Rome (June 2019). Archbishop Luc Cyr (French Sector representative) and Bishop Steven Jensen (English Sector representative) shared brief remarks regarding their participation as two of the CCCB delegates to the XV Ordinary General Assembly, highlighting the fruitful intergenerational discussions between Bishops and youth delegates, insightful knowledge about the state of young people and the Church around the world, and the pivotal role of Bishops to help guide the accompaniment of youth in their dioceses. Likewise, two youth delegates to the 11th International Youth Forum spoke about their involvement as part of the Church. Their role as protagonists, or advocates, is essential to realize the teachings elaborated in Christus Vivit into a vibrant and transformational Church. The final panelist spoke about the continuing importance of World Youth Day as an event to help young people deepen and grow their faith.
In another panel, representatives from a variety of religious traditions explored the question of freedom of religion and freedom of conscience in Canada. Following a series of edifying presentations, two common sentiments emerged from among the panelists: first, freedom of religion and conscience, even in Canada, should never be taken for granted, and second, it is in the mutual interest of all faith traditions to stand up for these fundamental rights.
Bishops discussed the prevention of sexual abuse and the ongoing implementation of the CCCB Guidelines Protecting Minors from Sexual Abuse: A Call to the Catholic Faithful in Canada for Healing, Reconciliation, and Transformation, which were published in October 2018. In their presentations, the Bishops reiterated their firm commitment to meet with any victim-survivor who comes forward and shared examples of the kinds of training taking place for clergy and lay pastoral associates in dioceses across the country. The Bishops also received an update on the new Standing Committee for Responsible Ministry and the Protection of Minors and Vulnerable Persons.