Canada’s Catholic bishops are pulling out of a national interfaith dialogue they helped establish.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has informed the Canadian Council of Churches it will not participate in an ongoing interfaith conversation with representatives from major Christian churches and non-Christian faith bodies.

The CCC’s interfaith conversation began as the Interfaith Partnership in the run-up to the 2010 interfaith leaders’ summit in Winnipeg. That body was established to engage with world political leaders coming to Canada for the G8/G20 summit. Parallel faith leaders’ summits have been a feature of G8 meetings since 2005.

Published in Canada

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Bishop J. Faber MacDonald, who served a number of Maritime dioceses over the years, passed away at the age of 80 in Charlottetown.

A Prince Edward Island native, Bishop MacDonald was ordained a priest for the diocese of Charlottetown at the age of 31. On Jan. 11, 1980, just nine days before his birthday, Pope John Paul II appoint the priest from P.E.I. bishop of the diocese of Grand Falls, Nfld. A little more than two months later he was ordained at St. Dunstan's Basilica in his home province.

Published in Canada

OTTAWA - Archbishop Richard Smith is inviting Catholics to open their hearts to those in need by contributing generously to this year’s Share Lent campaign.

The annual fundraising campaign kicks off Feb. 22 and runs through April 7. It is the major fundraiser for the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, the Canadian bishops’ development agency, accounting for about 30 per cent of its annual budget.

Published in Canada

OTTAWA - The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has launched a new webpage that traces the relationship of the Catholic Church in Canada and its First Nations’ peoples.

The site sketches the history of relations with indigenous peoples, many of whom became part of the Church and “gave much to it.” It cites Joseph Chiwatenhwa, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha and “Grand Chief Henri Membertou, who became the first aboriginal leader to be baptized by the French, as a sign of alliance and good faith in 1610.”

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Canadian religious leaders and interfaith coalitions banded together before the Nov. 28 to Dec. 9 United Nations climate change talks in Durban, South Africa, to urge Ottawa to take substantial steps toward a new international agreement to replace the expiring Kyoto Protocols. Almost alone among Canada’s major church and faith bodies, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops refused to sign the “Canadian Interfaith Call for Leadership and Action on Climate Change.”

The Congregation of St. Joseph signed, along with many other Catholic religious orders and a broad swath of Canada’s Christian bodies. Major Muslim, Hindu and interfaith coalitions also signed onto the two-page statement.

Published in Canada

OTTAWA - The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) will proceed with a pastoral plan for life and family that will launch nationally in 2013 after a preparatory year in the dioceses.

In a mid-December letter to his brother bishops, CCCB President Archbishop Richard Smith confirmed the CCCB’s Permanent Council has given the proposed plan a green light after reviewing the practical aspects of the decisions made at the bishops’ annual plenary meeting in October.

“I am happy to confirm that we will proceed, as we had all agreed, with the elements of the pastoral plan for 2013 and for a preparatory year during 2012,” Smith wrote.

Published in Canada

OTTAWA - As the second anniversary of Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake approaches, a Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops delegation is visiting the country on a solidarity mission Dec. 14-21.

The Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake killed more than 220,000 people, seriously injured more than 300,000 and devastated large sections of Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, Léogâne and other areas. Three million people were left homeless or otherwise seriously affected.

Published in Canada