Restructuring the US bishops’ conference

Restructuring the US bishops’ conference

From Our Sunday Visitor, Russell Shaw gives a brief history of USCCB and at the end of the article mentions that the bishops will undertake a major restructuring of the body in the fall.

Even before the abuse crisis erupted, the winds of change had begun to blow for the bishops’ conference. Bishops complained about the rising costs of supporting the national organization while they were cutting back on diocesan programs and staff. It was widely agreed that the USCCB had grown too big, too expensive and too remote from grass-roots needs.

In response, the bishops in the last several years have prepared the way for a major restructuring that will allow them to shape the conference’s programs, budget and staff around a limited number of clearly identified priorities. The conference will vote on a new structure at its annual fall meeting.

Will they cut the massive and bloated bureaucracy? Will the bishops take control back from the bureaucrats who set the agenda for the conference and manipulate the national priorities for the Church in the US? We can only hope so.

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  • I have been hoping for the USCCB to be hobbled for years.  I sure hope this starts the process.  The organization is worthless to American Catholics and worse than useless to the universal church.  Put it out of its misery.

  • One thing that is important to keep in mind is that there will always be a Catholic Conference of Bishops in the country

    By nature of their ordination bishops (and priests on the local church [aka (arch)diocese] level)at ordination enter into communion with all other bishops headed by the Pope, the Bishop of Rome and thus into a collaborative responsibility for the Church much larger than their own (arch)diocese.

    While this change coming is welcome by many and I believe it to be a very good thing, remember that the ‘collaborative-communion’ ministry of the Catholic bishops in the USA prevented a split in the Catholic Church during the Civil War-something at least some of the Christian denominations could not prevent-over the issue of slavery. Bishops were from the North and the South and we had chaplains in both armies, but the Catholic Church remained united (although bruised)from the conflict.

    Remember also that the “Councils” of Baltimore gave us such ‘instituions’ as the famous Baltimore Catechism (a compendium of the Catechism of the Council of Trent)  as well as our Parochial School systems

    In 1919 just after WWI the nations bishops issued a statement that included a plan, based on Catholic Social Teaching for the renewal of the country-a great amount of this plan found its way by way of politicians strong in their Catholic Faith into what we know as the New Deal.

    One further note. As of July 31 the American Bishops-in repsonse to the mission given to each national conference of bishops by Pope John Paul II- are issuing an Catholic Adult American Catechism-fully in line with and bringing to our own culture the full Catholic Faith. [I stress that this is at the urging of the Vatican-you can read this ‘mission’ for yourselves at the beginning of the CCC]. The Bishops Conference is also at some stage of producing a children’s catechism and I think a teen and or young adult (college age) Catechism.

    There is no doubt that the bureaucracy of the bishops conference is bloated, expensive and in some areas (at least in the past) out of control. I believe this new metamorphosis will bring new life to the Conference and assist the individual bishops in their important mission as bishops.