WASHINGTON (October 30, 2003) -- A Plenary session and Seminar for Bishops on "The New Challenge of Peace" will be part of the semi-annual meeting here of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, Nov. 10-13.
The Plenary Session and the Seminar for Bishops are sponsored by the USCCB Committee on International Policy to help the bishops respond to new challenges for the Church's teaching and witness on matters of war and peace. Those challenges have been highlighted by the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, doctrines of preemptive force, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, new roles for nuclear weapons, and other developments. These issues will be discussed in light of the Church's tradition of reflection on war and peace, and the legacy of the bishops' pastoral letter The Challenge of Peace (1983) and the encyclical Pacem in Terris (1963), whose anniversaries are being commemorated this year.
The Plenary Session will be on Monday, November 10, from 2:05-3:00 p.m. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, coadjutor of the Dublin Archdiocese and formerly the Holy See's representative to international institutions in Geneva and secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, will give a major address followed by questions.
The Seminar for Bishops will be held prior to the start of the General Meeting on Sunday, November 9, 2:00-4:30 p.m. Moderating the Seminar will be Mary Ann Glendon of Harvard Law School, Chairperson of the Subcommittee on 9/11 and Iraq of the USCCB's International Policy Committee. After introductory remarks by Fr. J. Bryan Hehir of Catholic Charities, USA, Dr. Glendon will lead a structured conversation on "New Moral and Policy Challenges" with Father Hehir, Michael Novak of the American Enterprise Institute, Sister Mary Evelyn Jegen, SND, of Trinity College, and Dr. John Steinbruner of the University of Maryland.
A second session of the seminar will be devoted to "New Pastoral Challenges" and will feature Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, Most Reverend Edwin F. O'Brien, Archbishop for the Military Services, and Most Reverend Walter F. Sullivan, Retired Bishop of Richmond.
In addition to these events, the leadership of the episcopal conferences of two areas that have been ravaged by war -- Vietnam and the Great Lakes Region of Africa (Congo, Burundi, Rwanda) -- will attend the bishops' meeting and briefly address the full body of bishops on Monday, November 10, and Tuesday, November 11, respectively. The delegation from Vietnam includes Conference President Bishop Paul Hoa, and Vietnam's newest cardinal, Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Man; the delegation from Africa includes Cardinal Frederic Etsou, President of the Bishops' Conference of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Bishop Nicholas Djomo, President of the Association of Episcopal Conferences of Central Africa.
A private luncheon will be held for the Bishops from Central Africa on Monday, November 10, and a public reception will be held for the Vietnamese Bishops on Wednesday, November 12, 5:00-7:00 p.m. Both will be at the Hyatt, in Congressional A.
Interviews with the visiting bishops are available upon request.
The USCCB's November meeting opens Monday, November 10, and continues through Thursday, November 13. Media seeking credentials can find information at www.usccb.org. Media credential applications should be submitted by October 31.