Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada Assures Catholic Bishops of Collaboration

Wednesday, October 21 2009

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada Archbishop Most Rev. Fred Hiltz (right), in the company of Most Rev. Albert LeGatt (left), Archbishop of Saint-Boniface and Most Rev. V. James Weisgerber, Archbishop of Winnipeg.

(CCCB – Cornwall)… On the second day of their annual Plenary Assembly, the Bishops of Canada welcomed Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. In a brief and powerful address to the members of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, observers and guests, Archbishop Hiltz recalled how Christians are to be committed “to the realization of the will of our Lord that we all be one, as he and the Father are one.” He noted the great progress made over recent years towards full unity. “We now have much theological consensus to build on and to move forward together.” Archbishop Hiltz also extended an invitation for a CCCB representative to attend the next General Synod of the Anglican Church in Canada, as well as encouraging a possible joint meeting of Anglican and Catholic Bishops in Canada.

Following the address by the Anglican Primate, the members of the Plenary heard the second presentation by American theologian Dr. Richard R. Gaillardetz, Murray/Bacik Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of Toledo in Ohio.  Addressing the question of the relationship between the ministerial priesthood and the priesthood of the baptized, by means of preaching and liturgical presidency.  “It is under Eucharistic presidency of the priest,” he explained, “that the baptized are schooled in the priestly, which is to say paschal grammar of Christian love and sent in mission into the world.”

During the afternoon session, the Catholic Bishops of Canada proceeded to elect those from among themselves who would serve on the Permanent Council for the next two years.  Most Reverend Pierre Morissette, Bishop of Saint-Jérôme, was elected President.  He will succeed Most Reverend V. James Weisgerber, Archbishop of Winnipeg, as CCCB President immediately following the meeting of the Plenary Assembly.  Bishop Morissette has previously served as CCCB Co-Treasurer and Vice President.

Also elected were the new CCCB Vice President, Most Reverend Richard Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton, and the two Co-Treasurers, Most Reverend Paul-André Durocher, Bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall, and Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Corner Brook and Labrador.

The members of the CCCB Executive Committee for the next two years: (from left to right) Bishop Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop Pierre Morissette, Archbishop Richard Smith and Bishop Paul-André Durocher.

Following reports on the 2008 financial statements and the proposed 2010 budget, Most Reverend Robert Harris, Bishop of Saint John, NB, reported on the Canadian Appeal Tribunal, following which the other Bishops ratified his re-appointment as the Moderator of the Tribunal.

Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Archbishop of Quebec City and a member of the council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, shared his perspectives with the other members of the Conference on last year’s Synod on The Word of God.  Cardinal Ouellet was the general relator of the Synod, and a number of Canadian Bishops had participated as Synod delegates.

Later in the day, the members of the Plenary Assembly reflected on the questions of Catholic identity in the public sphere.  Their discussions particularly focused on how to encourage Catholics to be more coherent in public life with their faith and its principles.