(UPDATE: For Monday afternoon session, click here.)
(If you’ve opened this page mid-session, make sure you refresh your browser often to get the latest updates.)
The CNS Blog today launches a grand experiment: liveblogging of the public sessions of the U.S. bishops’ fall general meeting in Baltimore. Check back here both for what’s going on on the floor of the meeting but also for links to relevant materials.
12:45 p.m.: Press briefing now being livestreamed on the U.S. bishops’ Web site. Many questions being raised about the Catholic vote in the presidential election. (UPDATE: Link now takes you to recording of this briefing.)
12:32 p.m.: Morning session ends with the praying of the Angelus.
12:16 p.m.: Oops, Archbishop Cordes is now a cardinal (as of a year ago). Here’s a CNS file photo (right) when he visited after Katrina.
12:07 p.m.: Archbishop Paul Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum,” is addressing the bishops now on the church’s charitable activities. He recalls visiting devastated areas in the U.S. following Hurricane Katrina.
12:03 p.m.: Concludes by recalling that he was worried about what he would say to the pope when they shared an elevator ride during the papal visit. But the pope set him at ease when he told Father O’Connell that CUA is “a truly great Catholic university.”
12:01 p.m.: Difficult times because of the current economic crisis, but Father O’Connell says fundraising has been strong.
11:51 a.m.: Father O’Connell says he’s proud that the pope chose CUA as “his pulpit” for addressing the U.S. bishops last April. And he says the impact of the papal visit on the students of the university is hard to describe.
11:47 a.m.: Next up, a report to the bishops by Vincentian Father David M. O’Connell, president of The Catholic University of America. He’s grateful for the bishops’ support, both personally and financially, for “the bishops’ university.”
11:43 a.m.: Archbishop Pilarczyk of Cincinnati draws a laugh from the bishops when he notes that the proposed document is erroneous when it refers to “a varia” since the singular form of the word is “varium.” The proposal then is approved.
11:38 a.m.: Now they’re on “varia” process. This too is fairly internal: How do bishops raise new topics for the conference to explore and how are these ideas assigned to a committee?
11:36 a.m.: Remember, this is just a preliminary discussion. Vote on priorities and plans is tomorrow.
11:30 a.m.: Some discussion of the bishops’ marriage initiative, but much of this discussion continues to be fairly routine.
11:14 a.m.: Priority and plans of the bishops’ conference now up for discussion. This is routine stuff that happens every year, though this is the first discussion following the USCCB restructuring which took effect this year.
11:05 a.m.: Only two questions on the blessing in the womb item, so now they’ve moved on to the translation of the Roman Missal rejected at their previous meeting.
11:01 a.m.: Meanwhile, the full text of Cardinal George’s address to the bishops is now posted on the bishops’ Web site.
10:59 a.m.: Proposed liturgical item on blessing of a child in the womb now on the floor.
10:57 a.m.: Break over, on to “action items.” The bishops don’t vote now. Documents are presented and bishops can ask for clarification.
10:25 a.m.: Coffee break, and then there will be preliminary consideration of the meeting’s “action items,” such as a proposed service for the blessing of a child in the womb and the bishops’ conference priorities and plans.
10:20 a.m.: Auxiliary Bishop Cisneros of Brooklyn addressing bishops about last year’s Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean and presents a triptych representative of the meeting, which Cardinal George says will be given a place of prominence at the bishops’ headquarters.
10:17 a.m.: Archbishop Sambi is given a standing ovation at the end of his talk, customary for the pope’s representative in the United States. Cardinal George suggests he ask the pope for a raise.
10:16 a.m.: USCCB has Web page devoted solely to this meeting.
10:13 a.m.: Archbishop Sambi covering list of all the duties of bishops, including supporting their priests.
10:08 a.m.: Praises American Catholics’ emphasis on religious education.
10:00 a.m.: Archbishop Sambi recalling words of Pope Benedict to the bishops in Washington last April.
9:55 a.m.: Now the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Sambi, addresses the meeting. Last year he announced the schedule for the papal trip to the United States
9:54 a.m.: Time of challenge for the church and the nation, but all times are, the cardinal says.
9:50 a.m.: Applause when Cardinal George comments that life of the unborn cannot be sacrificed.
9:47 a.m.: Opens with comments on the election of the first African-American president, but also talks about how Catholic politicians often have to put aside church teachings to be successful.
9:46 a.m.: Cardinal George, president of the USCCB, is delivering the meeting’s “presidential address,” which some would call a “state of the church” speech.
9:40 a.m.: For instance, report includes recommendations — and strong support — for the bishops’ movie reviews from the Office for Film and Broadcasting.
9:35 a.m.: National Advisory Council report being given now. Council is a body of laity, religious, priests and bishops that give advice to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on issues facing the bishops. Here’s some background on the council from earlier this year.
9:20 a.m.: Meeting opens with message to the Holy Father, as it always does, asking Pope Benedict to pray for the bishops as they deliberate.