Bishops from North, South America meet; Haiti dominates discussion

OTTAWA (CNS) — Rebuilding the church in Haiti dominated the agenda of this year’s annual meeting of the bishops of the church in America.

More than 20 delegates representing bishops from North and South America met in Montreal Feb. 8-11 to discuss challenges to the priesthood in honor of the Year for Priests, said a statement issued by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Newfoundland Bishop Douglas Crosby of Corner Brook and Labrador said bishops discussed how the Haitian relief effort could be better coordinated as well as the "rebuilding of a church that has been devastated."

Bishop Crosby, co-treasurer of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, said delegates received information on how many priests, seminarians and religious sisters were killed in the Jan. 12 Haitian earthquake and how many churches and schools were destroyed.

"It certainly opens your eyes to the situation of the church in the wider world," he said, noting that bishops "often get focused on our own agendas."

He also said the group discussed the increasing persecution of the church in Venezuela and the difficult situation in Honduras after its president was deposed.

The meeting was part of a series of informal gatherings previously known as the Inter-American Meeting of Bishops, held every few years since 1967.

Participants included bishops and senior staff from the Canadian and U.S. bishops’ conferences and CELAM and representatives from the Honduran, Brazilian, Puerto Rican and Venezuelan bishops’ conferences.

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