I will update this post from time to time this week in order to keep all information about this year's USCCB Fall Bishops' Meeting in the same post.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Fall assembly begins tomorrow and runs through Thursday. The USCCB website has a page devoted to topics discussed at the fall meeting, with links to individual pages on each of several topics for discussion and voting. There is a separate page with the texts of statements, addresses and press releases issued during the meeting.
EWTN's Special Broadcasts will include Monday's and Tuesday's morning and afternoon sessions, and Wednesday's morning session. After that, the bishops will have some time together without television coverage.
John L. Allen, Jr. is providing several updates and interviews each day at All Things Catholic.
Updated November 20: Cardinal Sean's Blog has photos and comments from Cardinal Sean O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap., of Boston.
Monday, November 12
I only caught a little bit of the television coverage this morning while I was getting ready for work. What I heard was part of Bishop Skylstad's opening address, which I thought was quite remarkable. Moreover, I was more than pleased to see a full transcript of that Presidential Address already posted on the USCCB website and picked up by Zenit. It was a significant address on the subject of Church leadership, with depth and eloquence. Here is an excerpt:
"For us as Bishops, a deep and Christ-like vision of leadership must be at the heart of our service. Christ has called us, as successors of the Apostles, to be his voice in our time. And our time needs to hear the voice of Christ. The Old Testament reminds us of a basic truth: without a vision the people will perish (see Proverbs 29:18). That vision is Christ’s. It is carried by the Church; and we, like Jeremiah, must cry out and not hold back. Indeed at a time like this it should be all so clear to us: We cannot shrink from our calling to be shepherds, to be leaders."
Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the U.S., also spoke today, announcing that Pope Benedict XVI will travel to the U.S. this coming April. A USCCB press release provides the tentative schedule for the visit to Washington and New York. Also see the article from Catholic News Service.
Tuesday, November 13
In this morning's voting, Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago, was elected as the new president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops by an 85% majority on the first ballot. His election was anticipated, as he has been vice-president. It is common for the current vice-president to be elected to the presidency. His election was greeted by very warm applause from the bishops.
In the voting for vice-president, the election that has been more carefully watched, the first ballot produced votes for several candidates, requiring a second ballot followed by a run-off. The two candidates with the most votes were Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of the Diocese of Tucson.
In the run-off, Bishop Kicanas was elected as vice-president. Interestingly, the new president is the Archbishop of Chicago, and the new vice-president is a native of that city who was previously auxiliary bishop of Chicago. Bishop Kicanas's biographical summary on the diocese website includes this:
"Ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago on April 27, 1967, Bishop Kicanas served in various capacities in the Archdiocese’s seminary system for more than 25 years. . . . Principal among his pastoral interests are vocations, the permanent diaconate, and encouragement of lay ministry. Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop Kicanas the coadjutor Bishop of Tucson on October 30, 2001. Upon the retirement of Bishop Manuel D. Moreno as fifth Bishop of Tucson, Bishop Kicanas became the sixth Bishop of Tucson on March 7, 2003."
The new president and vice-president will take office Thursday. Having been elected vice-president, Bishop Kicanas will have a strong change of becoming president in three years. The USCCB issued a press release about the election (also available in Spanish).
As President of the USCCB, Bishop Skylstad today issued the final draft of a document on Iraq, which was affirmed by the bishops yesterday. The USCCB today issued a Press Release about the document. The text of the entire document, titled "A Call for Bipartisan Cooperation on Responsible Transition in Iraq," is available for download in .pdf format here: A Call for Bipartisan Cooperation Final draft.
Catholic News Service has an article about the bishops' briefing concerning the ongoing study into the causes and contexts of sex abuse within the Church in the U.S. Six categories of research are now in progress, as outlined to the bishops.
The bishops approved a statement on faithful citizenship and political responsibility. The USCCB website's page on the Bishops' Meeting includes a press release and downloadable summary and full text of the statement.
They also approved a statement on stewardship and teenagers, which can be downloaded at the same page in either English or Spanish.