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Updates from the U.S. Bishops' Fall General Assembly

CNS image: Cardinal DiNardo, president of the USCCB at the fall 2017 general assemblyBishop Walkowiak joined fellow bishops from around the country for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Fall General Assembly, Nov. 12-14 in Baltimore, MD. Your prayers for our bishops as they gathered were welcome and appreciated.

Watch VIDEO: Watch assembly proceedings, votes, and portions of the day of spiritual discernment.

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Use hashtag #USCCB18    

The agenda

The assembly began with an address by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and president of the USCCB, as well as an address by the Papal Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre. The body of bishops then adjourned to an on-site chapel for a full day of spiritual discernment and prayer, followed by a Mass celebrated Monday evening. 

Clergy abuse scandal

During the assembly the bishops were scheduled to discuss and vote on a series of concrete measures to respond to the abuse crisis, including those approved for the agenda at the September meeting of the Administrative Committee, such as a third-party reporting mechanism, standards of conduct for bishops, and protocols for bishops who have resigned or been removed because of abuse. At the insistence of the Holy See, however, the formal vote was delayed (see update below).
Throughout the final two days of the conference there was a surge of support among the body of bishops for taking some sort of action, and by the afternoon of Nov. 14 appeals from bishops to vote on limited versions of the proposals became more numerous and vocal. The bishops also heard reports from the National Advisory Council and National Review Board

Conference elections

The bishops voted for a Conference Treasurer-elect, new chairmen of the Committee on Catholic Education, and new chairmen-elect of the following five USCCB committees: Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations, Committee on Divine Worship; Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth, and the Committee on Migration. 

Additional agenda items

The assembly also voted on the Pastoral Letter Against Racism and heard a report on the 15th Ordinary Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment. A vote on the 2019 budget also took place.
Finally, there was a voice vote on the cause for the canonization of Sr. Thea Bowman, FSPA.

Pray for our bishops; Join them in prayer and fasting

  • U.S. bishops to take part in seven days of intensified prayer and fasting ahead of the assembly:
    Read Bishop Walkowiak's letter to parishioners (English | Español)

USCCB statements connected with the clergy sex abuse crisis