New Statements and Publications:
Three new documents just approved by the USCCB are available for download on the USCCB website. To make it easier, you can also download them here in pdf format:
Decisions and News Coverage:
Here are links to several articles about the decisions made by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at their winter meeting, which concluded this past week. The first two days were mostly televised, and the last two days were in closed session:
Global Media Access and Transitions in Communication (My Observations and Wishes):
Although EWTN has televised much of the USCCB meeting time for several years now, the global access to that coverage over the internet is a developing transition. EWTN has increased its broadcasts directed at other countries, and the internet is enabling a growing international awareness of the Church in one part of the world for the Church in other parts of the world.
As I watched a portion of the EWTN coverage, it seemed to me that more of the bishops seemed nervous while speaking than previously has been the case. I wondered if an awareness of the potential international audience had something to do with that. I appreciate having the ready availability of information about the USCCB meetings and other Church-related news. However, it is probably a good thing that they set aside 2 days when cameras were not permitted access to their meetings.
News coverage of the USCCB meeting drew attention to the results of voting, rather than drawing attention to the opening addresses given by Bishop Skylstad and the address given by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, papal nuncio to the United States. The news coverage that I found did not include a full transcript of Bishop Skylstad's address, and it barely mentioned Archbishop Sambi's address. If there was a closing address, it would have followed two days of closed sessions, absent the news media, and I did not see a transcript or article about it anywhere. This contrasts with the coverage of the recently concluded French Bishops Conference, where Cardinal Ricard's opening address and closing address were given more attention.
For the future, I wish the USCCB would provide the opening statements, and any closing statement that may have been given, in an easy to find location on the USCCB website. That would be a good means of ensuring that the message that the USCCB wanted to have communicated is the message that is, in fact, communicated.
Meanwhile, the USCCB has released a Catholic Communications Directory, which can be ordered in print, providing the news media with contact information for various U.S. dioceses.
It would be helpful if the USCCB would make the Communications Directory easy to find, for immediate download, over the internet, ideally in several languages. That would best ensure that the reporters covering a story will be able to find the information before the story is printed or aired the first time. Otherwise, the Church depends upon them to know that there is a communications directory, to know where in their office it is supposed to be, and actually being able to find it there when they need it.
The USCCB website could set up a news media page with information they expect the news media to want, and could even set up a webpage with information and resources for Catholic bloggers -- such as a widget for the USCCB Advent calendar, as one suggestion.