WASHINGTON (January 9, 2001) -- In a (January 5) letter sent to all Bishops, their President, Most Reverend Joseph A. Fiorenza, announced that the revised United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Statutes have been ratified and granted recognitio by the Holy See's Congregation for Bishops.
On November 14, 2000, the members of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops approved the Statutes for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), revised according to the norms of the Apostolic Letter Apostolos suos. This action effectively brought to completion the work of the ad hoc Committee for the Revision of Statutes and Bylaws to merge the Bishops' two national organizations, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and the United States Catholic Conference, into a single entity, the USCCB.
The effective date of the Statutes will be July 1, 2001.
With the letter, Bishop Fiorenza enclosed a copy of the Decree of the Congregation for Bishops, an unofficial English translation of the Decree, the Decree of Promulgation, and a final version of the revised USCCB statutes.
The Decree of the Congregation for Bishops was signed by Archbishop Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect of the Congregation, and Archbishop Francesco Monterisi, Secretary, and is dated November 28, 2000.
The Decree of Promulgation was signed by Bishop Fiorenza and Monsignor Dennis M. Schnurr, General Secretary, and is dated January 8, 2001, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
In his letter, Bishop Fiorenza expressed gratitude to Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Chairman of the ad hoc Committee for the Revision of Statutes and Bylaws, and to the members of the committee: Cardinal William Keeler, Archbishop John Roach, Archbishop Thomas Kelly, Bishop Robert Lynch and Bishop Michael Cote for their efforts in revising the Statutes, Bylaws, and Conference Handbook.
He also noted that the ad hoc Committee, having completed its work, will now be terminated, in accord with Conference Bylaws.
Article I of the Statutes says "The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is an assembly of the Hierarchy of the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands who jointly exercise certain pastoral functions on behalf of the Christian faithful of their territory. The purpose of the Conference is to promote the greater good which the Church offers humankind, especially through forms and programs of the apostolate fittingly adapted to circumstances of time and place."
Other articles of the Statutes pertain to such matters as Membership; Officers and Committees; Voting; Plenary Assembly: Meetings; Plenary Assembly: Members; Plenary Assembly: Apostolic Nuncio; Plenary Assembly: Observers; Administrative Committee; Executive Committee; Standing, Ad Hoc, Sub-Committees; General Secretariat; Non-Binding Decisions; Binding Decisions; Acts of the Authentic Magisterium; Financial Matters; Quorum of the Conference; Making and Amending Statutes; and Approval of Statutes.