By Patrick B. Craine

CORNWALL, Ontario, November 9, 2010 ( – Over the next year, an ad hoc committee of the Canadian bishops will develop a “specific structure and concrete plan for future action” for how the bishops can exercise a greater leadership role in promoting a culture of life and family in Canada. The committee’s plan was announced in a newly-released summary of their report to the bishops’ October plenary assembly.

In their report, “the Ad Hoc Committee noted that any strategy for promoting life and family goes beyond any particular issue, such as abortion,” says the summary.

“Instead, the strategy needs to build a distinct culture which requires a spiritual revival, a change of minds and hearts. In other words, it is the work of a new evangelization,” it explains. “The role of the Bishop in this is to provide clear, consistent and vocal leadership in promoting this culture of life and family, while also offering guidance and inspiration.”

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) had announced on October 29th, following their plenary meeting in Cornwall, that their ad hoc Committee on Life and Family, which was set up following their meeting last October, would continue meeting for another year. The summary of the committee’s report was published Monday.

The committee, chaired by Bishop Ronald Fabbro of London, is expected to propose their plan at next year’s plenary.

The committee also includes Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton and Bishop Gérald C. Lacroix, administrator of the Archdiocese of Quebec.

The committee emphasized that a strategy to promote life and family requires “long-term vision.” This must be “a vision of marriage and family life in which spouses are committed to be faithful to each other, life is valued, a living faith is passed on to children, the elderly and disabled are supported, witness is given to Gospel values,” the report states.

Over the last year, the committee consulted with the Catholic Organization for Life and Family and the Sisters of Life, and they held meetings with 13 other Canadian pro-life and pro-family groups.

The summary notes that, in the next year, the committee “will also examine several possible examples of initiatives that could be part of a strategy for promoting life and family.”