Burying the Dead, Grieving Well – A Guide for Catholics on Bodily Disposition and Grief

In recent decades, there have been numerous changes to the treatment of the bodily remains of the deceased within our Canadian and North American societies, due to rapid developments in the technologies used in bodily disposition. The new practices concerning the treatment of the bodies of the departed have direct consequences on the way we live out our grief. They also influence our ability to embark upon a path of healing after the loss we have experienced. The Catholic Bishops of Canada are proposing to the faithful and to all people of good will this reflection on the ways we treat the bodies of the deceased and live out our grief when faced with the death of a loved one. We are offering this guide to dealing with death and the various forms of bodily disposition, as well as the Catholic liturgical and pastoral practices that accompany the grieving process. We hope it will be useful for families and friends dealing with the loss of a loved one, for pastors and those who welcome and accompany the bereaved, as well as for those in the funeral industry who take the religious dimension into account.

The full document can be accessed on the CCCB website at

Science and Catholic Faith (2019)

Science Catholic Faith cover image ENThe Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), through its Commission for Doctrine, has released a new document, titled Science and Catholic Faith. Illustrated with colourful posters, it is intended for students at the secondary school level, who, when learning about their faith, often ask the question, “Are faith and science compatible?”. It can be read on its own or can be used as a tool to support science and religious education courses.

The booklet is now available for purchase from CCCB Publications.

Information for purchasing the resource can be found at: You can place an order by email
( or by phone (1-800-769-1147).

Message from CCCB for 50th anniversary of Charismatic Renewal in Canada

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Charismatic Renewal in Canada which is being celebrated during 2018, the Episcopal Commission for Doctrine of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) released a message, dated 25 January 2018, Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle.

The message expresses “thanks to the Lord for the blessings of God which Catholic charismatics have brought our dioceses and parishes.” It also recalls how the “faithfully-attended prayer groups, the careful study of the word of God, catechesis, times of praise, prayers of intercession, the blessings and constructive challenges of life in community – all these have marked the life of Charismatic communities across Canada and have contributed to the building up of the Church in our land.” The Bishops on the Commission reiterate as well the importance for Charismatic Renewal groups to provide catechesis and formation in Catholic theology, as well as witnessing to communion by being fully integrated into the pastoral life of the local diocese and parish. The five-page message is divided into five sections, and also makes reference to the pastoral letter published in 2003 by what was then the CCCB Theology Commission on the 35th anniversary of Charismatic Renewal in Canada.

Link to the Message (PDF)

Discovering the Unity of Life and Love – A Reflection on the Foundations for a Theology of Human Love

family-2432568 1920(CCCB – Ottawa)… The Episcopal Commission for Doctrine of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has released a new document entitled “Discovering the Unity of Life and Love – A Reflection on the Foundations for a Theology of Human Love”. At the same time as reflecting on the images and conflicting messages about the meaning of life and of love in contemporary Canadian society, the Bishops recall “the beauty and profundity of how God created us and our primary relations to others, to the world and to God.”

Among other things, the document considers the human person in relation to others; how we become aware of our human freedom; how identity is revealed through our body and some of the implications of sexual difference on contemporary gender theories; it also considers the proper role of sexual desire in the light of Christ’s presence mediated through grace and the desire for human fulfilment.

Cover Page Unity of Life and Love ENThe Doctrinal Commission hopes “that this reflection… can shed light on the reasonableness of the vision of human love”. In our culture that glorifies fragmentation, in which we are alienated from ourselves and each other, the Bishops of the Commission, as “co-workers for your joy,” aim through this text to repropose a unified vision of life and love.

“As pastors of the Church in Canada, it is our desire to recall the deep, human reasons for the Church’s vision of human love and life. We wish to rediscover the family as a place where the essential truths about human life and love can be discovered and embraced; the family as a place where our humanity can flourish and serve the common good; the family as a community where human wounds and vulnerability can be embraced with mercy.”

The 17-page document, which is available only online, can be accessed on the CCCB website at

The Co-responsibility of the lay Faithful in the Church and the World

184-934(CCCB – Ottawa)… The Episcopal Commission for Doctrine of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has released a new document entitled “The Co-responsibility of the lay Faithful in the Church and the World“. This pastoral letter explores the great responsibility of the laity in God’s plan for the world, in which they are not simply collaborators of the clergy but are truly “co-responsible” for the Church’s being and acting. It notes the unique mission of the laity as being “in the world” and transforming it from within through their life and witness. It also discusses the danger of clericalism, and considers several areas of society today that stand in need of the transforming power of the Gospel brought by the Church’s lay faithful in communion with members of the clergy and consecrated life.

The Bishops of the Commission insist on the importance of promoting the lay vocation. “Bishops and priests must do their utmost to foster the sense of the co- responsibility of the laity. The daily contact with the internal life of the Church must not lead the hierarchy and clergy to mistrust the authentic responsibility of the laity, even implicitly, nor should it lead them to reduce that responsibility merely to consultation on material or worldly matters” (no. 9).

Dated the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, September 8, 2016, the Bishops conclude their document by expressing their hope that “all the members of the Body of Christ take up together the responsibility of bringing Christ, the only Saviour, to the world, in a spirit of family, friendship, and communion.”

Printed copies of the document are on sale from CCCB Publications (telephone 1-800-769-1147 or by emailing

Link to the Document (PDF)

The Beauty of Mercy: Pope Francis and Confession

Logo Jubilee of MercyTo aid Canadian Catholics in celebrating the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy which ends this November 20, the Episcopal Commission for Doctrine of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has prepared a text entitled The Beauty of Mercy: Pope Francis and Confession. It is a series of quotations from the Holy Father on the importance and beauty of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and contains likewise words that encourage and challenge both penitents and priest confessors.

Link to the resource (PDF)
Tri-fold pamphlet version on 8.5×14″ paper (PDF)

The Missionary Dynamic of the Parish Today

Cover page Parish TodayThe Episcopal Commission for Doctrine of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has released a new document entitled “The Missionary Dynamic of the Parish Today“. Written from the current Canadian context, the text emphasizes that “spreading faith in Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of humanity, is the Church’s fundamental and primary mission” (no. 1). The reflection is primarily for pastors and those who serve in parishes, but also for all Catholics who wish to understand better the role of the parish in the Church’s mission. The Commission notes that “it is through the parish that most Canadians experience the Catholic Church.”

PDF Version

Printed copies are on sale from CCCB Publications

Jesus and Salvation: A Lenten Reflection

Cover Jesus and SalvationWhy do we need a Saviour? What is salvation? These are some of the questions that are explored in this reflection offered by the Episcopal Commission for Doctrine of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). Not intended to be a dogmatic or systematic treatment of the issue, the text is provided as an opportunity for theological reflection on the meaning of the Paschal Mystery and on the role of Christ in our salvation, as we celebrate our Lord’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection. In order to assist readers in studying and discussing the text, it is followed by a Study Outline that sums up the key points made in the reflection.

This theological reflection will be of interest to students of theology, as well as to all Christians who wish to reflect more deeply on the mystery of salvation.

The text can be freely downloaded. Requests for permission to reprint it in whole or in part are to be forwarded to

Link to the document (PDF)

The Essential Elements of Evangelization Today

Cover page Text EvangelizationThe Episcopal Commission for Doctrine of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has issued a text entitled “The Essential Elements of Evangelization Today”. Written from the context of the Canadian pluralist society, this new 16-page document is intended not only for priests, consecrated men and women, and those actively involved in pastoral work, but also for “all Catholics who desire to understand better and respond more zealously to their call to evangelize the modern world.” Although composed prior to the release of Pope Francis’ recent Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), its approach and recommendations are similar, while providing a uniquely Canadian perspective.

PDF Version

Printed copies are on sale from CCCB Publications

Prayer and Devotions

Recommendations regarding: Paragraph # in
Verbum Domini
Prayer & Devotions
Lectio Divina
Liturgy of the Hours
Private revelation


Lectio Divina is to be recommended                                                                         

  •  “Lectio Divina . . . ‘is truly capable of opening up to the faithful the treasures of God’s word, but also of bringing about an encounter with Christ, the living word of God’.” (Verbum Domini 87)

The Liturgy of the Hours should be promoted among the laity

  •  “I recommend that, wherever possible, parishes and religious communities promote this prayer [the Liturgy of the Hours] with the participation of the lay faithful.” (Verbum Domini 62)

The faithful need to be taught to distinguish the word of God from private revelations, which can help us live that word more fully in a certain period of history

  • After discussing the completeness of all revelation in Jesus Christ, Pope Benedict XVI notes that “the Synod pointed to the need to ‘help the faithful to distinguish the word of God from private revelations’ whose role ‘is not to ‘complete’ Christ’s definitive revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history’. . . . A private revelation can introduce new emphases, give rise to new forms of piety, or deepen older ones. It can have a certain prophetic character (cf. 1 Th 5:19-21) and can be a valuable aid for better understanding and living the Gospel at a certain time; consequently it should not be treated lightly. It is a help which is proffered, but its use is not obligatory. In any event, it must be a matter of nourishing faith, hope and love, which are for everyone the permanent path of salvation.” (Verbum Domini 14)

When praying the Rosary, it is recommended to insert a brief biblical text after the announcement of each mystery

  • Praying the Rosary: “It is fitting that the announcement of each mystery be accompanied by a brief biblical text pertinent to that mystery, so as to encourage the memorization of brief biblical passages relevant to the mysteries of Christ’s life.” (Verbum Domini 88)

Interpretation of Scripture includes listening to the Saints, who have truly lived God’s word

  •  “The interpretation of sacred Scripture would remain incomplete were it not to include listening to those who have truly lived the word of God: namely, the saints. . . . Every saint is like a ray of light streaming forth from the word of God” (Verbum Domini 48)