Catholic Bishops of Canada reaffirm Anglican-Catholic dialogue

Thursday, October 22 2009

(CCCB – Cornwall)… By coincidence, one day after the Holy See announced the upcoming publication of an Apostolic Constitution to assist Anglicans who are asking to enter into full visible communion with the Catholic Church, the members of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) spent a major part of the third day of their Plenary Assembly reflecting on relations between Anglicans and Catholics.

A panel presents its observations on Catholic – Anglican relations: (from left to right) Monsignor Donald Bolen, C.S.S.; Most Reverend Martin Veillette, Bishop of Trois-Rivières and Chairman of the Episcopal Commission for Christian Unity, Religious Relations with the Jews, and Interfaith Dialogue; Most Reverend François Lapierre, P.M.E.; and Reverend Gilles Routhier.

To assist in their reflections, the Bishops heard a panel presentation involving Bishop François Lapierre, P.M.É., Co-Chair of the Anglican – Catholic theological dialogue (ARC) in Canada and also a member of the Canadian Anglican – Catholic Bishops’ dialogue, and two Catholic theologians who are also members of ARC dialogue in Canada: Rev. Gilles Routhier, from Laval University, and Msgr. Donald Bolen, C.S.S., a priest from the Archdiocese of Regina who until recently had been on staff with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. In their discussions, the Bishops reaffirmed their commitment to Anglican- Catholic dialogue. Catholics account for 43 percent of the Canadian population, and Anglicans almost seven percent.

In the morning, the Bishops of the English Sector held their annual meeting. Much of the agenda involved discussions and reports on English-language liturgical translations and projects for catechesis and evangelization. The Bishops of the French Sector meet tomorrow morning.

Earlier in the afternoon, the members of the Plenary Assembly had an extensive discussion on the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP), particularly in light of the recommendations made in the June 2009 Report by the CCCB Committee of Inquiry. The committee had been established earlier in March following allegations that CCODP was funding projects involving “pro-abortion” groups which supported “the legalization of abortion on demand throughout Mexico.” After a visit to Mexico in April, the committee concluded the allegations were unfounded, while also making seven recommendations, including encouraging Development and Peace “to be more vigilant in analyzing requests for financial assistance and more demanding about receiving information from possible partners”.

Following the Sector meeting, the Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops will reconvene Thursday afternoon, and then adjourn Friday at noon.