Incredible year for CCCB - New missal, canonization among highlights

  • October 12, 2011

OTTAWA - The publication of a new English translation of the Roman Missal, a month ahead of schedule, caps a year of much being accomplished by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (CCCB) secretariat.

“It has been an incredible year,” said CCCB General Secretary Msgr. Pat Powers as almost 90 bishops prepare to meet in Cornwall, Ont., Oct. 17-21 for their annual plenary meeting.

The first copies of the missal were slated to arrive Oct. 15, well ahead of the scheduled Nov. 10 shipping date. This huge publication task also involved CCCB staff in catechesis about the new translation in workshops around the country and online, as well as the publication of new musical settings.

Powers, who had previously served as rector of Notre Dame Cathedral in Ottawa, knew as a pastor the promised delivery date for the missal of Nov. 10 was too late for priests around the country to prepare for its use on the first Sunday of Advent so he and the CCCB Publications staff were able to move the date forward. Already, the conference is anticipating the next major publication, that of the new French version of the Roman Missal, a translation now in progress.

Last October, the between-plenaries-year began with a joyous event for the Church in Canada: the canonization of St. Brother André with celebrations in Rome and Montreal, honouring the humble saint whose love of St. Joseph still inspires the faithful. The canonization prompted the Canadian bishops to offer a theological reflection on popular piety released at last year’s plenary. 

The past year has not been without its challenges for the Canadian bishops. The controversy over the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) reached a crescendo with an angry push-back by agency supporters after Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J., cancelled talks by a long-time Mexican partner during the Share Lent campaign. The agency had been heavily criticized by pro-life groups since the 2009 Share Lent campaign, where a a number of CCODP partners were first identified as “pro-abortion.” CCODP had to cancel funding of the Centre PRODH shortly after the Ottawa cancellation because the archbishop of Mexico City criticized the organization for its support of pro-abortion groups.

A recent meeting of a new CCCB Standing Committee on Development and Peace with the CCODP Liaison Committee has now provided a forum for bishops and lay representatives of the agency to handle problems before they erupt publicly and provided the agency with guidance on moral issues that executive director Michael Casey has said are not always clear cut.

It has also been a year of tragedy, marked by the guilty plea of former Antigonish Bishop Raymond Lahey, who awaits sentencing for the importation of child pornography. But the outcome was anticipated and handled with a unique joint-statement the same day Lahey pleaded guilty last May, with a statement from the Vatican and the CCCB.

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