Tuesday, November 16, 2010

To be or USCCB....

Archbishop Timothy Dolan, USCCB President
 The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops elected it's new president today. The USCCB is not a formal "ecclesial" governing body but rather an assembly of United States bishops who implement policies for the spiritual and moral leadership of the dioceses of the United States. Therefore, when it comes to the traditions and teachings of the Church, the USCCB cannot oppose or re-define what Catholic tradition has always held as true or orthodox. However, the USCCB can determine or at least suggest how to communicate such truths to the Catholics of the USA.
Mets? Well, he's not the coach...just the Archbishop!
The president of the USCCB, elected today, is Archbishop Timothy Dolan. He's the archbishop of New York (and will continue to be) but he has the added responsibility to set the tone and preside over the assembly of bishops.
How does that affect us in Mississippi? In the Jackson Diocese? In most cases, each bishop makes decisions for their own particular area employing varied methods. For instance, Bishop Latino of Jackson allows for delegation in his governance. He often relies on special task forces and focus groups created by lay people and missionaries to help form policies. Some bishops take a more direct approach or consult with diocesan clergy  while others have auxiliary bishops or co-adjutors to assist them. However, when it comes to issues such as liturgy, priest personnel and sacraments, the USCCB after direction from the Vatican keep the diocese in compliance with the rest of the Universal Church.
Bishop Latino is assisted by Mary Woodward, director of Evangelization.
 Some of the terms such as "liberal" or "conservative" are touted about in discussing bishops and dioceses. However, the goal of a bishop is to hold to the traditions that have been passed on to them. In a sense, one has to be "conservative" in that not one shred of our Faith be lost but "liberal" in handling the souls of all.
On another note, Bishop Gerald Kicanas (the rector of my seminary and LEBANESE!), was the runner-up in the USCCB presidency. He has ties to the state as he recently visited to discuss the implementation of the Roman Missal in parishes. He currently is the bishop of Tucson, Az.