Liveblog: U.S. bishops’ fall general meeting

Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, addresses the bishops' annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 16. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, addresses the bishops' annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 16. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Here we are again, ready to liveblog the fall general meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, just as we did last year. (If you’ve opened this page mid-session, make sure you refresh your browser often to get the latest updates.)

Our thanks to Telecare, the television ministry of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, N.Y., for livestreaming the meeting from Baltimore.

* * *

4:50 p.m.: Wrapping up for the day with Our Father and Hail Mary, then adjournment.

4:46 p.m.: “A principled position, not a political one,” he says. Also criticizes NYTimes editorial decrying bishops’ efforts.

4:44 p.m.: Bishop Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., chair of the committee most responsible for formulating USCCB position on health care reform, now addressing bishops. Thanks staff for hard work.

4:43 p.m.: And it is endorsed by the bishops.

4:39 p.m.: Presenting his statement issued last week after House vote for backing by the entire body of bishops. (Full text here.)

4:37 p.m.: Not on agenda, but Cardinal George is thanking members of the House of Representatives who voted to maintain restrictions on abortion funding in health care bill.

4:35 p.m.: Archbishop Dolan concludes by thanking bishops for listening to him “brag” about CRS.

4:21 p.m.: Another annual report, this time on Catholic Relief Services, presented by the chairman of the board, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York.

Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces, N.M., and Chicago Auxiliary Bishop John R. Manz chat prior to Mass on the first day of the U.S. bishops' general meeting in Baltimore Nov. 16. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces, N.M., and Chicago Auxiliary Bishop John R. Manz chat prior to Mass on the first day of the U.S. bishops' general meeting in Baltimore Nov. 16. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

4:10 p.m.: Cardinal Rigali of Philadelphia now giving presentation on proposed document, “Life-Giving Love in an Age of Technology.” Here’s our preview story.

4:02 p.m.: Preliminary discussion on the bishops’ proposed pastoral letter on marriage.

3:53 p.m.: Here again we have a preview on what the bishops are trying to revise in their health care directives.

3:49 p.m.: Now on to preliminary discussion on a proposed revision to “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care.”

3:41 p.m.: Here’s our story on Cardinal George’s address this afternoon opening the meeting.

3:37 p.m.: If you’re having a hard time following the liturgy issues being discussed right now, here’s a backgrounder on these five action items.

3:24 p.m.: Back in session. First up, preliminary presentations on five liturgy-related action items. The bishops will not vote today — this is just preliminary discussion.

3:01 p.m.: Related to the meeting, we’ve just posted our story on the bishops’ commemoration of the assassination 20 years ago today of six Salvadoran Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter.

2:57 p.m.: Coffee break. Cardinal George wants everyone back at 3:20 to resume.

2:53 p.m.: Father O’Connell gets a standing ovation as he says good-bye and thanks the bishops for the privilege of serving them as president of “your university.”

2:43 p.m.: President of The Catholic University of America, Father David O’Connell, giving his annual update to the bishops. Notes that this is his last address to the bishops before stepping down next August.

2:42 p.m.: Archbishop Sambi concluding his talk. Hope to get the full text later.

Auxiliary Bishops James D. Conley of Denver and Daniel E. Thomas of Philadelphia share a light moment with Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, Calif., following Mass on the opening day of the U.S. bishops' annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 16. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Auxiliary Bishops James D. Conley of Denver and Daniel E. Thomas of Philadelphia share a light moment with Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, Calif., following Mass on the opening day of the U.S. bishops' annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 16. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

2:27 p.m.: If you’re looking for background on the meeting agenda, here’s our preview story. And the bishops’ media office last Friday published this backgrounder called “What’s What at the Bishops’ Meeting.”

2:18 p.m.: Cardinal George concludes his address. Now up is the annual address by the pope’s representative to the U.S., Archbishop Pietro Sambi.

2:15 p.m.: Quotes his predecessor, Cardinal Bernardin, on the importance of health care protecting all people, including the unborn.

2:10 p.m.: Cardinal George is emphasizing the importance of the priesthood in this Year for Priests.

2:07 p.m.: VP of bishops’ conference, Bishop Kicanas of Tucson, is introducing Cardinal George for the latter’s presidential address, a sort of a “state of the church” speech that always opens the bishops’ fall meeting.

2:02 p.m.: You can also follow the meeting on the Twitter page of the USCCB media relations office.

1:58 p.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.

Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, gives Communion to U.S. bishops during Mass at the opening of the bishops' annual fall meeting in Baltimore this morning. (CNS/Bob Roller)

Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, gives Communion to U.S. bishops during Mass this morning at the opening of the bishops' annual fall meeting in Baltimore. (CNS/Bob Roller)

1:45 p.m.: Routine opening business, intro of new members, intro of retired bishops who are attending. There’ll be a prayer for deceased bishops, approval of agenda, approval of minutes from previous meeting, before any other action takes place.

1:40 p.m.: That’s Bishop Edward J. Burns, of Juneau, Alaska, leading the opening prayer.

5 Responses

  1. I was wondering why the TV feed for the Bishops meeting is not being shown on EWTN? I hate to think it would be in retribution for EWTN calling attentions to the USCB giving ACORN, and pro abortion affiliates grant money.

  2. I was just wondering the same. Although EWTN can be a little too right-wing for me at times, they do hold the bishops to account for some of their pronouncements and decisions, some of which have been way off-base. I miss the coverage and I hope it will be returning next year to EWTN.

  3. Telecare is offering the feed at no charge to any entity interested in using it, including EWTN. It was an internal decision of EWTN not to use the feed. EWTN has media credentials and have about five staff people here at the General Assembly.

  4. Since we do not get Telecare, in this region, it looks like we will not see much of the conference. However it is of significant wonderment that ACORN and other such groups could have been vetted by the USCB. While many of the groups supported by the CCHD are supportive of Catholic teachings, the fact that a number of abortion and anti-Catholic groups were getting grants, raises questions about how my past donations have been spent. We have worked to hard promoting pro-life issues to have even one penny given to a abortion promoting group, and will have to re-evaluate future contributions to the CCHD..

  5. With the exception of the irreversibly unquestioning pay, pray, and obey types, nobody really gives a fig what the U.S. bishops think or say. Recent election returns in states with large Catholic populations demonstrate that loud and clear.

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