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USCCB General Assembly - 2014 November - CNS Stories

 

Bishops OK Liturgy Items, Endorse Sainthood Cause, Hold Elections  

by Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- Though there were no actions on the U.S. bishops' agenda in Baltimore dealing with immigration, poverty and other public policy issues, the president of their conference said Nov. 11 that he hopes to meet with President Barack Obama and House and Senate leaders soon on several topics.

In a brief comment during the annual fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, said he had heard from many of his brother bishops about those issues and hopes to supplement the work that committees and USCCB staff are doing on such issues by conferring with the politicians.

He told Catholic News Service that he intends to pursue a meeting with the president and the congressional leaders as soon as December.

In other action on the second public day of the Nov. 10-13 meeting, the bishops:

  • Approved several liturgical items, including a revised translation of the ritual book used whenever a new church is built or when a new altar is made; the first official English translation of the ritual book "Exorcisms and Related Supplications"; and a supplement to the Liturgy of the Hours that is an English translation of the prayers used for the feast days of saints who have been added to the general calendar since 1984.
  • Voted in favor of a request by the USCCB's doctrine committee to proceed with a revision of a section of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services dealing with partnerships.
  • Endorsed the sainthood cause of Father Paul Wattson, co-founder of the Society of the Atonement in 1899 and in his day a leading advocate of Christian unity.
  • Approved a 2015 budget of just under $189.5 million.

They also voted on a 3 percent increase in the diocesan assessment for 2016, but the vote fell short of the required two-thirds majority of the 197 members eligible to assessment increase in the assessment. Eligible members absent from the Baltimore meeting will be canvassed to determine the final vote.

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh, North Carolina, chairman of the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, gave a presentation on the newly revised "Guidelines for Receiving Pastoral Ministers in the United States."

As the number of priests and pastoral ministers from other countries increases in the United States, he said the resource -- now in its third edition -- provides information for dioceses, eparchies and religious communities to prepare international pastoral ministers for their service and the communities that receive them.

Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle, USCCB secretary and chairman of the Committee on Priorities and Plans, told the bishops that a myriad of activities revolving around four key goals of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is an indication that "the conference planning process is working quite well."

The USCCB's four goals, or priorities, are faith formation and sacramental practice; strengthening marriage and family life; the life and dignity of the human person; and religious liberty.

The bishops also heard a report on the work of members of a number of bishops' committees -- from pro-life, domestic justice and international justice to evangelization and religious liberty -- who together are trying to pinpoint what Catholics in the pew are thinking and why they accept or disregard church teaching.

The vast compilation of data is being assembled for bishops to read and also will be relayed in series of workshops. One of the major findings from the study -- that Catholics want to find out more about their faith -- has prompted plans for a 2017 convocation in Orlando, Florida, the week of July 4.

With regard to the bishops' ethical directives for Catholic health care, the focus of the revision is part 6 and the topic concerns "Forming New Partnerships with Health Care Organizations." It will take into account principles suggested by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

During a question-and-answer period, bishops who spoke on the issue said they support the revision and noted the many complications that can arise in today's health care collaborations. Once completed, the revision will be presented to the bishops for final approval.

Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, New York, chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, invited the U.S. bishops to a 2015 Lay Ecclesial Ministry Summit. It will take place June 7, 2015, to mark the 10th anniversary of the bishops' statement "Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord." It will be held just prior to the USCCB spring general assembly in St. Louis.

In elections, Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans won the secretary-elect spot. The committee chairmen-elect who won are: Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, pro-life activities; Auxiliary Bishop Christopher J. Coyne of Indianapolis, communications; Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio, cultural diversity; Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit, doctrine; Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi of Mobile, Alabama, national collections.

The first day's agenda included reports on the recently concluded extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family; Catholic education and an outreach to Hispanic students in underserved communities; the progress of planning for the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia; the status of the 2013-16 USCCB strategic plan, "The New Evangelization: Faith, Worship, Witness"; the 2015 Fortnight of Freedom; and the defense of marriage.

In his Nov. 10 report to the bishops, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, told the bishops the committee -- extended for another three years -- planned to focus more on teaching and expanding networks with Catholic lay groups and interfaith and ecumenical partners. He said threats to religious liberty remain a great concern.

"The challenges to religious liberty with regard to the redefinition of marriage grow daily," said Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, in his report.

He said that for several years, the bishops' subcommittee has "sought to defend marriage's unique meaning, while also calling attention to the real negative consequences and anticipated threats that marriage redefinition poses to religious liberty and freedom of conscience."

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia formally opened its arms to the world as Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia told the U.S. Catholic bishops that registration has officially begun for the World Meeting of Families next year in the city.

The first day's business wrapped up by mid-afternoon, so the bishops could concelebrate Mass at the city's Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary to mark the 225th anniversary of the establishment of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Baltimore was the first diocese founded in the United States.

Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori said in his homily that all Catholics are heirs "to this precious legacy" set forth by the first nation's first Catholic bishop -- Bishop John Carroll.

"Let us humbly ask for the grace to build on the foundations that John Carroll set down," Archbishop Lori said.


Contributing to this roundup were Patricia Zapor, Mark Pattison and Carol Zimmermann.

Copyright (c) 2014 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Liturgical items top agenda at USCCB general meeting in Baltimore

By Mark Pattison Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Liturgical matters will take center stage on the agenda of action items at the fall general meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, to be held Nov. 10-13 in Baltimore.

There will be five liturgical items up for consideration. All are subject to amendments from bishops. All but one require approval of two-thirds of the bishops, followed by final approval from the Vatican.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, who is president of the USCCB, will deliver his first presidential address. He was elected to a three-year term last November. As is customary, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States, also will address the assembly.

During the meeting, the bishops will choose a new secretary-elect for the USCCB, and vote for the chairmen-elect of five committees.

A number of presentations will be made, including one on underserved communities and Catholic schools, and another on a recent pilgrimage of prayer for peace in the Holy Land.

The bishops also will conduct the canonical consultation on the sainthood cause of Father Paul Wattson. Father Wattson was an Episcopal priest who co-founded the Society of the Atonement, also known as the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Atonement, to further Christian unity. He was received into the Catholic Church as were all men and women in the society at the time, and devised the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, still observed each January.

On the first day of the meeting, the bishops will concelebrate Mass at the Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore in honor of the 225th anniversary of the establishment of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Baltimore was the first diocese founded in the United States. The bishops had similarly marked the bicentennial of the U.S. hierarchy in 1989 with a Mass at the basilica.

The liturgical items up for consideration:

-- A revised translation of the ritual book "Dedication of a Church and Altar," used whenever a new church is built or when a new altar is made. The revised English translation incorporates the modifications from the Code of Canon Law as well as bringing the translation into conformity with the Roman Missal, Third Edition.

-- A first-ever official English translation of the ritual book "Exorcisms and Related Supplications," revised after the Second Vatican Council, and promulgated in Latin in 1999 with an amended version in 2004. The main part of this book is the rite of major exorcism and includes an introduction outlining criteria for its use, which is always the decision of the bishop alone. While this text affirms the reality of evil in the world, it even more so affirms the sovereignty of Jesus to overcome any and all evil.

-- A supplement to the Liturgy of the Hours of an English translation of the prayers used for the feast days of saints who have been added to the general calendar since 1984.

-- Modifications to the Revised Grail Psalms, originally approved in 2010 by the Vatican. The USCCB Committee on Divine Worship recommended improving the translation and its "sprung rhythm" to make proclamation and singing easier.

The fifth liturgy-related item would authorize rewriting for later approval guidelines from its 1995 document "Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities" in light of medical developments and increased awareness of challenges faced by Catholics today, such as gluten intolerance, also known as celiac disease.

Other action items to be addressed by the bishops include the 2015 USCCB budget, the 2016 diocesan assessment, and a proposal to proceed on a revision to the "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services."

In USCCB elections, Archbishops Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans and Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services have been nominated as secretary-elect. The five committees seeking chairmen-elect, and their bishop-nominees, are:

-- Committee on Communications: Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas.

-- Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church: Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio, and Bishop Joseph J. Tyson of Yakima, Washington.

-- Committee on Doctrine: Bishop Robert J. McManus of Worcester, Massachusetts, and Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit.

-- Committee on National Collections: Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi of Mobile, Alabama, and Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, California.

-- Committee on Pro-Life Activities: Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York and Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles.

The secretary-elect and the chairmen-elect will serve one year in that capacity and then begin a three-year term.

The bishops also will vote on members for the board of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network and Catholic Relief Services, the USCCB's international aid and development agency, as well as hear a presentation by Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the CRS board, and CRS president Carolyn Woo on CRS' work on capacity building.

Other presentations scheduled for the USCCB meeting:

-- Underserved communities and Catholic schools, presented by Archbishop George J. Lucas of Omaha, Nebraska, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education, and Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas, chairman of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church.

-- The pilgrimage of prayer for peace in the Holy Land, presented by Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace.

-- USCCB engagement with the church in Africa, presented by Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington.

-- The observance of the Year of Consecrated Life and the "Guidelines for the Reception of Ministers in the United States, Third Edition" and plans for their implementation, presented by Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh, North Carolina, chairman of the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.

-- A status report on the 2013-16 USCCB strategic plan, "The New Evangelization: Faith, Worship, Witness," presented by Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle, USCCB secretary,

-- Separate reports by Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty; and the USCCB working group on the life and dignity of the human person.

Copyright (c) 2014 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Bishops reminded of role as pastors to Christ's family -- the church

By Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- The role of Catholic bishops is to accompany their family of the church through their fears and concerns, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said Nov. 10.

In his first presidential address since his election last November, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz told his brother bishops gathered in Baltimore for the annual fall general assembly Nov. 10-13 that "as pastors, we accompany so many families who face their own fears and concerns and who yearn to experience the love of Jesus in and through his loving family -- the church."

"Together, brothers, we seek to walk with these families and to build their confidence in faith," said the archbishop, who heads the Archdiocese of Louisville, Kentucky.

Before the presidential address, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the Vatican nuncio to the United States, delivered brief remarks, urging the bishops to lead today's young people by example "not just by doctrinal teaching alone."

"We have to let our young people know that their lives are worth living and that they were born for eternal glory, not for glamour, or guns or sensationalism," he said. "They are crying out to us. They desperately need to be inspired, to have the life of Christ breathed back into them."

The first day's agenda included reports on the recently concluded extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family; Catholic education and an outreach to Hispanic students in underserved communities; the progress of planning for the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia; the status of the 2013-16 USCCB strategic plan, "The New Evangelization: Faith, Worship, Witness"; the 2015 Fortnight of Freedom; and the defense of marriage.

The bishops also heard a preliminary presentation on five liturgical items up for consideration and to be voted on Nov. 11. The items include a revised translation of the ritual book used whenever a new church is built or when a new altar is made; the first official English translation of the ritual book "Exorcisms and Related Supplications"; and a supplement to the Liturgy of the Hours of an English translation of the prayers used for the feast days of saints who have been added to the general calendar since 1984.

On the second day of the assembly -- the only other full day of public sessions -- the bishops were to choose a new secretary-elect for the USCCB, and vote for the chairmen-elect of five committees -- communications, cultural diversity, doctrine, national collections and pro-life activities. They also were to choose new members for the board of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network and Catholic Relief Services.

Other action items to be addressed Nov. 11 included the 2015 USCCB budget, the 2016 diocesan assessment, and a proposal to proceed on a revision to the "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services." The bishops also were to conduct the canonical consultation on the sainthood cause of Father Paul Wattson. Father Wattson was an Episcopal priest who co-founded the Society of the Atonement.

The first day's business wrapped up by mid-afternoon, so the bishops could concelebrate Mass at the city's Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary to mark the 225th anniversary of the establishment of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Baltimore was the first diocese founded in the United States.

In his report earlier in the afternoon, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, told the bishops that this committee -- extended for another three years -- would place more of an emphasis on teaching and expanding networks with Catholic lay groups, interfaith and ecumenical partners.

He said the 2015 Fortnight of Freedom would particularly highlight the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council document on religious liberty, "Dignitatis Humanae," and would provide a "great opportunity to teach about religious liberty and evangelize about it."

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, spoke of the challenges facing the Catholic Church's support for traditional marriage.

"For several years now," he said, "the work of the subcommittee has sought to defend marriage's unique meaning while also calling attention to the real negative consequences and anticipated threats that marriage redefinition poses to religious liberty and freedom of conscience."

The archbishop urged the bishops not to "shy away from challenges" but to take heart from the worlds and example of Pope Francis and advance a "culture of encounter, accompaniment, and witness."

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia formally opened its arms to the world as Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia told the U.S. Catholic bishops that registration has officially begun for the World Meeting of Families next year in the city.

Up to 15,000 attendees are expected for the gathering of families from around the country and the world Sept. 22-25, 2015. With the slate of speakers and activities planned for adults and youth, it will be the largest convention to be held in Philadelphia next year. Registration and other information is available at the website www.worldmeeting2015.org.

"The World Meeting of Families will deal with a wide range of family issues where our faith is both needed and tested," the archbishop said. "These are matters that affect families not only here in the United States but on a global scale."

In a morning session and at a news conference that followed, some time was spent reporting on the recently concluded extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family in October.

Speaking to reporters, Archbishop Kurtz of Louisville acknowledged the differences in the synod experienced by the bishops participating in it and news accounts disseminated outside the synod, saying "a tale of two synods" emerged from it.

Those differences were highlighted by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York in remarks delivered during the assembly's morning session.

He said some reports made it sound like the synod was "confrontational and divisive," "hijacked by left-wing dissenters intent on eluding doctrine," but in reality, it "was a synod of consensus ... led by a pope with a radical charism for attentive listening."

Contributing to this roundup were Patricia Zapor, Mark Pattison and Carol Zimmermann.

Copyright (c) 2014 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

'Tale of two synods' emerged from Vatican, says USCCB president

By Mark Pattison Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- October's extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family was just one event, but "a tale of two synods" emerged from it, according to the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Speaking to reporters Nov. 10 after the morning session of the USCCB's annual fall general assembly in Baltimore, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, acknowledged the differences in the synod experienced by the bishops participating in it and news accounts disseminated outside the synod.

Those differences were highlighted by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York in remarks delivered during the assembly's morning session.

"There must have been two synods," he said, and the participating U.S. bishops "happened to be at the wrong one."

From what he said he had heard and read about the synod, one synod was "confrontational and divisive," "hijacked by left-wing dissenters intent on eluding doctrine," with proceedings "smothered by new Ottavianis, dug in to resist the fresh breeze" of change, Cardinal Dolan said, referring to Italian Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani known for his opposition to the changes being brought about in the church during the Second Vatican Council.

"Too bad we missed that one," Cardinal Dolan added. "The one we were at was hardly as spicy (and) juicy."

The synod Cardinal Dolan said he attended "was a synod of consensus. This synod was led by a pope with a radical charism for attentive listening," he said of Pope Francis, adding the only time the pope spoke was in "reciting the Angelus -- twice."

At this synod, "we listened to married couples who found God's love in one another and their kids," Cardinal Dolan said. "At this synod, we listened to bishops from Africa who said the (church's) teaching on marriage, so widely dismissed in the First World, was enhancing their culture. ... We saw brother bishops asking how we can expedite and simplify marriage (annulment) cases."

It was at this synod, Cardinal Dolan said, that "life-giving marriage" was the focus of "meeting the most urgent vocation crisis of the times."

Archbishop Kurtz, in addressing his fellow bishops, noted that each one of the 62 paragraphs that constituted the final "relatio," or report, of the synod met with majority approval -- and all but three of the paragraphs with approval by at least two-thirds of those voting.

Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, at a news conference following the morning session, said Pope Francis had asked that the "votation" be published along with the text to indicate the degree of accord shared at the synod.

Archbishop Kurtz said there were 12 documents in all to be considered at the synod before the final "relatio" was discussed: the first two "relatios" -- one offered at the synod's beginning and a second draft issued mid-synod -- plus separate documents produced by each of 10 small working groups.

"The work of the second 'relatio' was the work of the small groups," Archbishop Kurtz told reporters.

Cardinal Wuerl added that press covering the synod and those bishops participating in it "have different perspectives."

"So many people tend to reflect now in terms of sound bites," he said. "In the church, we're learning to speak a little more crisply, but our teaching is not reducible to sound bites."

He noted it took some time for the final "relatio" to be translated into English from the official Italian. But he urged the bishops to wait for the translation, noting that the final "relatio" serves as the "lineamenta," or outline, for next year's world Synod of Bishops.

Archbishop Kurtz said the Vatican was holding a meeting later in November to construct a system of reflection for bishops' conferences to use in seeking input from dioceses to be used in preparation for next year's synod.

END

11/10/2014 2:58 PM ET

Copyright (c) 2014 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Nuncio urges U.S. bishops to provide example of faith for today's youth

By Carol Zimmermann Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- The apostolic nuncio to the United States urged U.S. bishops to lead today's young people by example, "not just by doctrinal teaching alone."

"We have to let our young people know that their lives are worth living and that they were born for eternal glory, not for glamour, or guns or sensationalism," said Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano in a Nov. 10 address at the annual fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore.

"They are crying out to us. They desperately need to be inspired, to have the life of Christ breathed back into them," he added.

Both before and after his talk, the U.S. bishops gave the apostolic nuncio a standing ovation and they interrupted his address with applause particularly when he spoke of the need to help today's youths find meaning.

The archbishop also pointed out that young people, as well as those of all ages, would benefit from knowing more about the lives of the saints, noting that youths would be inspired by their courage and the elderly would be comforted by their steadfast example of faith.

He also gave the personal example of how he read the life of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini to his mother during her last days of life.

"What a contrast for someone who takes their own life into their hands, for example, through suicide and euthanasia, which leaves no hope and future for those who accept and submit themselves to the dark culture of our times," he said.

The archbishop, who referred to "saints in our very midst," said they can help restore the church's credibility.

"We know that the church, particularly in the United States, has been deeply wounded by the behavior of some priests and bishops by whose deplorable actions the church's reputation has been strongly shaken," he said.

Archbishop Vigano urged the bishops to "bring once again to light the sanctity of the church which exists in this country" and stressed that this can flourish in the United States particularly because of its "great pillar" of religious freedom.

"To suppress that freedom is to suppress the spirit of God that cries out in our midst," he said. "We must work tirelessly with God to allow his spirit to continue to come forth through his church."

He urged the bishops not to be afraid in their ministry of leading others, quoting St. John Paul II, who often said: "Do not fear."

"If we expect people, especially our young people, to find direction and meaning in their lives, we ourselves must in total confidence teach them" to discern God's spirit in their minds and hearts, he said. He also said the bishops "must continually learn how to listen with attentiveness and to respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit."

"May we all have the courage and fortitude, the discernment and determination that we need to help bring this about," he added.

END

11/10/2014 4:43 PM ET

Copyright (c) 2014 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops



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