BISHOP’S PLENARY – SECOND DAY
First, a confession. I spent all day in a clinic and in doctors’ offices for regular post-op visits. All went very well on that front. What I was not able to do was watch the live video of the second day of the annual Fall meeting so for these reflections, I am dependent on news reports from CNS and other sources. As you know, EWTN is not carrying the bishops’ meeting this year, gavel to gavel, so it was not possible for me to record the meeting and watch it this evening. Anyway, here goes.
Most all the action items passed with sizable majorities. While almost every action item had one or two votes against, this preventing a unanimous action of the assembly, I have always held that if the Nicene Creed (the one we recite and pray at Mass) were placed before the bishops, it too would garner two or three negative votes.
One item which had the largest number of “no” votes was a proposed pastoral letter on marriage. Although the bishops’ National Advisory Council encouraged a “yes” vote on the proposed pastoral, bishops who spoke today felt that while there was nothing wrong with the proposed text, there were some issues and passages which could have been rendered better . The pastoral received five more votes than necessary for passage. The bishops also overwhelmingly approved a revision in the “Ethical and Religious Directives” which guide local bishops, health care facilities, doctors and nurses in hard decisions about medical treatment in an age when technology allows life to be maintained and sustained for years. The Pro-Life Committee saw their work product, a statement on life and birth in a technological age pass by a wide margin. All of these actions are available to you now on the USCCB web site.
The long work on a new translation of the Roman Missal is over and now Rome’s approval is awaited. Sometime in 2011, the new Missal will be implemented in the English speaking world. We will have to get use to some new language and there will be a period of catechesis in 2010 and early 2011 which I and our priests will lead to get you ready for the changes.
Finally, several bishops came to the defense of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development whose collection will be taken up this coming week-end in churches throughout the U.S. Founded about 30 years ago, CCHD has given grants to many organizations and agencies and sponsored an education program on the roots of poverty. Conservatively oriented Catholics have beeb taking shots at CCHD since its inception. Several years ago it was learned that a grant recipient was ACORN which was involved in projects not in accord with Catholic teaching. Several years ago before the US Government and Congress became aware of ACORN’s malfeasance, CCHD had dropped all support for this organization. I personally believe in and support CCHD and feel that our bishops’ committee has acted responsibly with regard to this challenge.
That’s it from m perspective. Some final thoughts and notes on the meeting tomorrow.