The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops will be convening in Cornwall, Ont., seen here in 2010, between Sept. 26-30 for their annual plenary. Photo/courtesy of P199, Wikimedia Commons

Full agenda for Canadian bishops’ upcoming plenary

By 
  • September 13, 2016

OTTAWA – The impact of Bill C-14 that legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada will be among the issues facing Canada’s bishops as they gather for their annual plenary Sept. 26-30 in Cornwall, Ont.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops will hear from Cardinal Willem Eijk, a moral theologian, ethicist and physician, said CCCB communications director Rene Laprise. Laprise said Elk, archbishop of Utrecht, will bring the bishops up to date on Holland’s experience with euthanasia when he addresses the plenary Sept. 26.

Another timely topic on the agenda is a discussion of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action that specifically targeted churches and faith-based organizations. The bishops will look at the commitments made by Catholic parties to show how they plan to bring their policies in line with the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and on the repudiation of the so-called “Doctrine of Discovery” and Terra Nullius that gave “discoverers” or “first takers” the right to seize lands they said were empty, but were inhabited by indigenous peoples.

At the plenary, the bishops will also get an update on the transition of six former missionary dioceses under the Congregation for Evangelization of Peoples to the common jurisdiction of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis decreed last January the northern dioceses of Whitehorse, Mackenzie–Fort Smith, Churchill–Hudson Bay, Moosonee, Grouard–McLennan and Keewatin-Le Pas will now fall under the Congregation for Bishops as other dioceses do. These dioceses with large mission territories serving indigenous communities will now rely more heavily on other Canadian dioceses to support their parishes and missions. The plenary will also hear about the continuing outreach and reconciliation work being done with Canada’s indigenous peoples.

The bishops will also discuss the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in a workshop led by the CCCB’s Episcopal Commission for Christian Unity, Relations with the Jews and Interfaith Dialogue.

The approximately 90 bishops and eparchs will also hear Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto and Cardinal Gerald LaCroix of Quebec lead a reflection on Pope Francis’ post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

CCCB president Bishop Douglas Crosby will chair the week-long session that includes reports from a range of Catholic organizations, from the Catholic Organization for Life and Family to the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, which is in the process of seeking a new executive director and preparing to mark its 50th anniversary in 2017. The bishops will hear reports on the ongoing crisis in the Middle East and on the settlement of Syrian refugees.

The bishops will also hear reports on World Youth Day in Poland and the International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu, Philippines.

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