Canada's bishops look at myriad questions

October 25, 2010

OTTAWA – Life and family issues and the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) are among the issues Canada's bishops will tackle this year at their annual plenary Oct. 25-29.

The secretary general of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) expects a "new climate of confidence" once the bishops respond to the recommendations of two special ad hoc committees.

"Both committees have worked extremely well and they have excellent results to report," said Msgr. Pat Powers.

The committees were established last year as a response to a series of negative stories about CCODP at and various blogs that accused the agency of funding projects with "pro-abortion" partners in the developing world.

One ad hoc committee worked directly with CCODP, the other reached out to pro-life and family organizations.

Concerns were raised last year that Catholics were being drawn to online sources because the bishops' leadership on life and family issues had not been prominent enough.

The life and family committee, chaired by London Bishop Ronald Fabbro, discovered "a tremendous thirst" within the nearly 20 life and family organizations it consulted "to be hearing more from their bishops and to be having more communication with them," said Powers.


The ad hoc committee headed by Toronto Auxiliary Bishop John Boissonneau worked closely with CCODP.

"Members of the ad hoc committee were genuinely astonished at the level of complete cooperation that became evident early in their work on the part of CCODP," Powers said.

They put "more work than ever could have been imagined into this process of responding to the important questions" raised by the bishops' conference, he said.

"CCODP made full disclosure," he said. Powers said the bishops and CCODP reached a general opinion that "over the years the two organizations had not talked as much as they should have," adding the lack of communication was "not out of any bad will."

"They will have a report for the plenary where absolutely all the issues have been looked at," Power said. He predicted "something quite wonderful" will result.

The bishops will also hear a talk from Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi who will help the bishops reflect on how to bring God's Word to a culture where people question moral teaching and decide they no longer want to be an active part of the Church, Powers said.