Canadian bishops at their plenary meeting in 2018. This year’s gathering starts Monday and includes discussions on euthanasia and Indigenous issues. (Canadian Catholic News file photo)

Canadian bishops’ discussions to include euthanasia, Indigenous issues

Euthanasia and Indigenous issues will be on the plate of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops when they gather for their annual plenary in Toronto next week.

The plenary gathering in Toronto from Sept. 25 to 28 will bring together 79 bishops for discussions on the life of the Church in Canada.

The meeting includes a full day open to the media and “invited guests” on Sept. 25 when, among other business, the bishops will get a debrief from the Standing Committee on Family and Life about palliative care and the expansion of so-called Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD).

The committee, chaired by Archbishop Christian Lepine, will hold a panel discussion on this topic, which is meant to help the Church “engage with the urgency of promoting palliative care” rather than euthanasia.

They’ll also get a look at the launch of a new website on interfaith dialogue with Muslims, and a review of last August’s World Youth Day in Portugal.

The following day’s progress reports on the crucial $30 million Indigenous Reconciliation Fund as well as pastoral accompaniment of Indigenous people will be delivered behind closed doors.

Also delivered in a closed session will be a “structural review of the CCCB” itself, and an update from the Standing Committee on Responsible Ministry and the Protection of Minors and Vulnerable persons. Over the past year, the committee has been studying the issue of vulnerable persons: how to define vulnerability and reduce risks, and what behaviours to encourage on the part of persons in ministry. The day will end with a press briefing. There will also be a formal press conference on Sept. 28 to close the 2023 plenary.

Another aspect of the meeting will focus on Development and Peace — Caritas Canada, known as DPCC. This project encompasses charity and development work overseas. Clergy on the DPCC National Council will update the bishops on the activities since last year and will be joined by DPCC President Brenda Arakaza and Executive Director Carl Hétu.

The bishops will also review various reports from subcommittees, which will include topics such as liturgy, catechesis, and evangelization. Cardinal Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle from the Philippines will address the bishops virtually and the apostolic nuncio to Canada, Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, will also give an address.

The plenary takes place just before the Synod on Synodality starts in Rome Oct. 4 , with Vancouver Archbishop J. Michael Miller one of four bishops representing Canada.

With CNA / EWTN News files.


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