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Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, gave his presidential address Nov. 16 during a session of the bishops' fall general assembly in Baltimore.
Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, gave his presidential address Nov. 16 during a session of the bishops' fall general assembly in Baltimore.
Photo Credit: Bob Roller | Catholic News Service

U.S. bishops focus on Communion, synodality, finances in fall assembly

In addition to document on Communion, bishops approved several items

BALTIMORE — The U.S. bishops, gathered for the first time in person since 2019, in addtion to discussing the highly anticipated statement on the Eucharist, also looked at diocesan financial reporting and considered new socially responsible investment guidelines Nov. 15-18.

The meeting began with addresses from Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, and Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Archbishop Gomez said the U.S. Church today is called more than ever to carry out its centuries-long evangelizing mission at a time of spiritual awakening rising from “under the clouds of the pandemic” and the country’s uncertain future.

Archbishop Pierre spoke to the U.S. bishops about the importance of listening to people in the Church and being open to the work of the Holy Spirit.

“I believe that synodality is an answer to the challenges of our time and to the confrontation which is threatening to divide this country and which also has its echoes in the Church,” the nuncio said.

The bishops also considered new socially responsible investment guidelines. The guidelines were approved Nov. 17. A draft document of guidelines governing the USCCB’s financial investments includes wider limits on where money would be invested and advances a policy of engagement on corporate practices that impact human dignity.

The bishops also considered a new resolution on diocesan financial reporting.

Approval votes

Among the items the bishops voted on to approve were an agreement to begin reviewing the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” earlier than 2025. On Nov. 17, the second of two days of public sessions during their fall general assembly Nov. 15-18 in Baltimore, the bishops voted to begin the process of updating the charter in 2022 rather than in 2025. The vote was 230 bishops in favor of the plan and five bishops against it. Bishop James V. Johnston Jr. of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, chairman of the Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People, told the bishops that events in recent years made it necessary to start the review sooner than expected.

The bishops also approved revisions for national statutes for the catechumenate in both English and Spanish, updating the 1986 statues. This coincides with the revised English edition of the Order of Christian initiation of Adults, which they also approved at the assembly in Baltimore. Also approved was an update of guidelines for the exposition of the Eucharist.

After discussion, the bishops assigned a feast date on the calendar for St. Teresa of Kolkata. The feast on Sept. 5 would be an optional memorial. Additionally, the bishops affirmed sainthood causes for three laypeople from the United States: Auguste Robert “Nonco” Pelafigue, Charlene Richard and Joseph Dutton. The bishops approved a pandemic-influenced budget for 2022.

Chairmen elected

Bishop James. F. Checchio of Metuchen, New Jersey, was elected treasurer-elect of the USCCB. The bishops also voted for chairmen-elect for five standing committees:

• Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations: Bishop Earl A. Boyea of Lansing, Michigan.

• Divine Worship: Bishop Steven J. Lopes, who heads the Houston-based Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. He was chosen over Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski of St. Louis by a vote of 121-120.

• Domestic Justice and Human Development: Archbishop Borys Gudziak of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia.

• Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth: Auxiliary Bishop Robert E. Barron of Los Angeles.

• Migration: Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, Texas.

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