Bishops plan on starting new office of life and family as COLF gets ready to cease operations

The Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) is expected to be replaced by a new organization in the new year. (Image from

By Brian Dryden, Canadian Catholic News

[Ottawa- CCN] – A Canadian Catholic non-profit organization dedicated to building “a culture of life and a civilization of love by promoting respect for human life and dignity and the essential role of the family” will cease to exist by the end of this year.

At an online board of directors meeting on Nov. 7, the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) passed a special resolution that will see COLF disband as a non-profit organization as of Dec. 31, 2020. A new organization dedicated to promoting the dignity of life and families is expected to take its place under the umbrella of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) sometime in the new year.

COLF executive director Michel MacDonald told Canadian Catholic News that the decision to cease operations at COLF has nothing to do with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, nor is it a being done as a cost-saving measure.

However, he did acknowledge that he and the sole other COLF staff member at this time will be laid off once COLF ceases its operations. COLF’s office is based at the CCCB’s Ottawa headquarters.

The decision to wrap up COLF’s operations was recently discussed at the CCCB annual plenary, which was held online for the first time in September.

The CCCB, which helped create COLF with the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus, will be establishing a new organization that will address many of the same issues. “I don’t know all the details of exactly what the CCCB is planning but they will be starting an office of life and family,” MacDonald said.

Although the exact details have not been made public as of yet, CCCB communications director Lisa Gall said a new CCCB-related life and family office should be up and running in the new year.

“While the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops cannot speak on behalf of the Canadian Organization for Life and Family, a national priority for the conference is the pastoral need to accompany and work with diocesan/eparchial life and family networks in response to the changing realities of Canadian society,” Gall said in a statement to Canadian Catholic News.

“To that end, and following an extended period of discussion, consultation and discernment, the Bishops of Canada approved the creation of an Office of and a Standing Committee for family and life to support this important area of Church life during the most recent Plenary Assembly,” she said.

According to COLF’s website, the organization’s role has been to “promote the teaching of the Catholic Church on the inherent dignity of the human person and on respect for human life in all circumstances and at all stages of development, from conception to natural death; to promote the teaching of the Catholic Church on marriage and the family, along with the fundamental role of the family in society; and to educate and support Christian families in their mission in the Church and in the world.”