In his statement to LifeSiteNews, the bishop-elect highlighted his personal commitment to the pro-life cause. “In my ministry as a priest I have always been committed to promoting and defending the sanctity of life from conception to natural death,” he said. “I have been a member of Priests for Life (U.S.A. and then Canada) for many years. I have supported the 40 Days for Life initiatives, participated in Canada’s National March for Life and spoken on the Gospel of life in my preaching.” (Source)
Bishop-elect Christian is featured below at the 2009 Fall Campaign of Ottawa’s 40 Days for Life.
The reality here is that the Canadian episcopacy is going through a bit of a youthful transformation. In 2011, we saw Bishop Tom Dowd appointed as an auxiliary in Montreal. Now with Fr. Christian Riesbeck being called to the Order of Bishops, we have yet another young priest being consecrated bishop. He’s 43 years old! When Bishop Dowd was consecrated bishop, he was the youngest bishop in the world. When Fr. Christian gets consecrated in March, he will be 44 and also likely will be the youngest bishop in the world…or close to it, at any rate.
Last year, Pope Benedict appointed solidly Pro-Life Msgr. Stephen Jensen as the bishop of Prince George.
While Fr. Christian is getting elevated, we also have some other movement in the Church as Archbishop Weisgerber (sadly known in Pro-Life circles from D&P fame) retired in Winnipeg and was replaced with Archbishop Richard Gagnon. Suffice it to say, from a Pro-life angle, these appointments are pick-ups in the “engagement of the culture” (read: “culture war” for the rest of us) arena.
Shout out to Archbishop Prendergast too, who has shown some real grit since coming to Ottawa in dealing with some prickly situations and has been a Pro-Life stalwart during his time here. With the appointment of Fr. Christian as an auxiliary bishop, we’ve got a strong voice coming through the ranks:
“I intend to join with the Canadian bishops in taking a leadership role in promoting the Gospel of life and showing particular love and concern for the most defenseless among us.”
All this is good news as we are starting to see a slow shift to more orthodox men in the Episcopacy. It can’t come too soon, either. Thanks be to God.
Catholic Register coverage here.