December 15, 2014

OTTAWA – By the end of March, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) will choose four delegates and two alternates to attend the ordinary synod on the family in Rome in October 2015.

The names of delegates, two from the English sector and two from the French sector, and one alternate from each, will not be revealed until after Pope Francis approves them, said Archbishop Paul-André Durocher.

The United States bishops' conference chose its delegates at its recent plenary this fall, but the next CCCB plenary won't take place until next September. Usually, Canada's delegates for synods are chosen at the bishops' annual plenary assembly in the fall.

The secretary of the synod wanted the names by the end of March, so the choosing of delegates will go ahead by secret ballot because of the short time frame, Durocher said

Once each sector has chosen its candidates, the "whole panel has to be approved by the whole membership," Durocher said.

In addition, the pope may also appoint one or more extra bishops from any country, including Canada. "The pope is free to name any delegates he wants to the synod," the archbishop said.