Hip deep in canon law, part 3: our new Official Gazette!

While it went up on the web a couple of days ago, I wanted to wait until today's introductory email went out before announcing it on my blog: we have a new diocesan publication! Welcome to the Official Gazette of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie!

Here is the email I sent out to our distribution list today, explaining what it is about:


Dear friends,

Hip deep in canon law, part 2: the presbyteral council

Yesterday I wrote about my work on a national level in canon law. Today, I spent a big part of my day doing canon law, only this time for my diocese.

The Code of Canon Law says that every diocese is supposed to have a special advisory body called the Presbyteral Council. This council ceases when the diocese loses its bishop, but it must be reconstituted within 6 months of a new bishop taking office.

Hip deep in canon law

One of my areas of service to the Church in Canada is as chairman of the standing committee for canon law of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. This is now my second three-year mandate on the committee, following a first mandate in which we managed to produce new bylaws for the conference (the last ones hadn't been updated since 1984). Now, we have a new project: to update all the Procedural Norms for the conference.

Updating our diocesan sex abuse reporting policy

One of the more difficult tasks I've had to do in my time as a bishop has been to receive complaints, and the most difficult of all has been receiving allegations of sex abuse against Church officials. Some of my work in this area is a matter of public record, but in addition to all that I've also helped work on background stuff like policy development.

The Catholic tradition of the Friday fast

Simple meal tonight. Some Catholics do fish on Friday, but as for me when I cook for myself I usually do pasta (no meat in the sauce). For non-Catholics (or maybe Catholics too) wondering why the special diet: Jesus died on a Friday, so it is our tradition to do a penance (such as not eating meat) on Friday, in union with Him.

UPDATE: A Facebook reader asked the following question: "Hmmm... disn't that get kicked with Vatican 2?"

Short answer: no! In fact, there is no mention of the Friday fast at all in the documents of Vatican II.

Rotary Park Trail

When I lived in Montreal I would go for a good walk every morning (well, I'd try to). I know Sudbury has many trails but I hadn't tried any of them yet. Well, we had a gorgeous sunny morning today, so I set out to discover the one closest to my residence: the Rotary Park Trail. It was lovely! And I'll tell you, 12000 steps in the snow, with trees to cut the wind,  means you barely feel the cold. Walking in the sunlight is important for me given my seasonal affective disorder, so who knows, maybe this will become part of my daily routine.