Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
September 28, 2009
Bishops tap Professionals' expertise to become effective in the public square
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
OTTAWA - The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) is poised to become more effective in the public square.
Two former members of Parliament - a Liberal and a Conservative yet to be named - will join a new standing committee on government relations, CCCB General Secretary Msgr. Mario Paquette said in an interview.
The former MPs, who are no longer in politics, will help the committee with government relations, Paquette said.
The CCCB president will chair this high-powered committee that includes Montreal Cardinal-Archbishop Jean-Claude Turcotte and Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins.
A special standing committee on communications will include Salt and Light Media Foundation CEO Father Thomas Rosica, who was CEO of 2002 World Youth Day in Toronto and is also a consultor to the Vatican's Pontifical Commission on Social Communications.
The CCCB has also snagged public relations expert Barry McLoughlin of the Ottawa-based McLoughlin Media to serve as a volunteer lay member.
On the French-language side will sit another heavy-hitter, Niquette Delage, the director of Communications et Société, a Montreal-based non-profit organization promoting critical thinking, ethics and spiritual values from a Christian perspective.
The CCCB vice-president will chair the communications committee. The other bishops are Halifax Archbishop Anthony Mancini and Sault Ste-Marie Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe.
The CCCB is seeking a communications director who will work with both committees in addition to representing the conference.
Gerald Baril, who has a long history with the conference, has been filling in as communications director since Sylvain Salvas departed more than 18 months ago.
The two special standing committees, comprised of bishops and lay members, are the product of a lengthy restructuring process that began six years ago with budget and staff cuts.
More recently, the bishops have reconfigured the conference's episcopal commissions, reducing them from six to three: doctrine; justice and peace; and Christian unity, religious relations with the Jews, and interfaith dialogue.
The upcoming CCCB plenary Oct. 19-23 will mark not only the end of restructuring, but some changes in leadership roles.
CCCB president Winnipeg Archbishop James Weisgerber will be replaced by CCCB vice-president Saint-Jérôme Bishop Pierre Morissette.
The bishops will elect a new vice-president from the English sector because St. Catharine's Bishop James Wingle, presently co-treasurer, has indicated he does not want the position.
This year, there are two candidates running for each of the two co-treasurer positions.