CBCP cancels plenary assembly for the first time

CBCP cancels plenary assembly for the first time

Catholic bishops gather for their 120th plenary assembly in Manila on Jan. 25, 2020.

By Roy Lagarde

June 5, 2020

Manila, Philippines

For the first time, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has cancelled its plenary assembly that was planned for next month in Manila.

The decision was announced by the CBCP Secretariat on Friday, citing as reason “the present health condition caused by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

The government has earlier banned mass gatherings due to the coronavirus crisis.

Fr. Marvin Mejia, CBCP Secretary General, said that the bishops’ annual retreat, which usually precedes the July assembly, will be also moved to January next year.

The assembly, one of the two annual gatherings of the bishops, was scheduled to be held at the Pius XII Center on July 11 to 13.

Held twice a year, the plenary assembly is considered the highest decision-making body of the CBCP. When they are not in session, the Permanent Council acts for and in behalf of the conference.

The beginnings of the CBCP may be traced back to as early as 1945 when the conference was still known as the Catholic Welfare Organization (CWO).

In line with the Vatican II developments, the CWO became the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines in January 1968.

Technically, this is the first time that the bishops’ plenary assembly was cancelled since the CBCP was formally established.

But while it was CWO, some assemblies were cancelled because the bishops were in Rome for the Vatican II meetings in the early 1960s.