2010 Fall General Assembly
Speeches / Addresses
New York Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, right, addresses members of the media at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 16. The bishops elected him president of the conference. At left is the newly elected vice presid ent, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Bishop Yousif Habash, head of the Newark, N.J.-based Eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance for Syrian Catholics, talks with Bishop Ronald W. Gainer of Lexington, Ky., during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 16. ( CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops pray before the start of the second day of their annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 16. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, talks with Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, president, during the U.S. bishops' annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 15. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo A. Nevares of Phoenix reacts to a discussion on social media at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 15. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Auxiliary Bishop John R. Manz of Chicago, center, attends the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 15. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City stands with Charlene Harris of the Diocese of Sacramento, Calif., as he reports on the work of the U.S. bishops' National Advisory Council Nov. 15 at the U.S. bishops' annual fall meeting in Baltimore. Harris chair s the advisory council. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta, right, talks with Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 15. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Bishop Tod Brown, right, of Orange, Calif., greets Auxiliary Bishop Octavio Cisneros of Brooklyn, N.Y., as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops gather for their annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 15. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, Calif., works on a laptop during the annual fall meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Nov. 15 in Baltimore. CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops gather for the start of their annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 15. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, including Bishop Michael R. Cote (center) of Norwich, Conn., applaud after an address by Cardinal Francis E. George, president of the conference, at the bishops' annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 15 . (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, addresses the U.S. bishops at the start of their annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 15. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Bishops elect new leaders; approve new budget, baptism agreement
BISHOPS-ROUNDUP Nov-16-2010 (1,270 words)
By Catholic News Service
BALTIMORE (CNS) -- In a series of close votes, the U.S. bishops elected Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York to head the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for the next three years and chose Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., as vice president.
By selecting Archbishop Dolan from a field of 10 candidates that included Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., USCCB vice president, Nov. 16, the bishops diverged from the usual practice of electing the USCCB vice president as president.
Because a vice president cannot serve for two consecutive terms, Bishop Kicanas was not eligible to run for the position.
Archbishop Dolan will succeed Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago at the close of the bishops' fall general assembly Nov. 15-18 in Baltimore.
Archbishop Kurtz's election left the position of treasurer vacant. The bishops voted to elect Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston, W.Va., to the position. While he was not supposed to start until next year, he'll start right away.
Being elected president came as a surprise to the outgoing 60-year-old New York archbishop, who said he felt a bit daunted to be following Cardinal George because of his predecessor's skill in the position.
The election outcome also marked the first time since the bishops' conference was reorganized in 1966 following the Second Vatican Council reforms that a sitting vice president who sought the presidency did not win election. In two elections, in 1974 and in 1977, circumstances dictated that the vice president did not rise to lead the conference.
The bishops also elected chairmen-elect for six committees. They will take office in November 2011.
They are: Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services, Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance; Bishop Joseph P. McFadden of Harrisburg, Pa., Committee on Catholic Education; Auxiliary Bishop Denis J. Madden of Baltimore, Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs; Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay, Wis., Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis; Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien of Baltimore, the Committee on International Justice and Peace; Bishop R. Daniel Conlon of Steubenville, Ohio, Committee on Child and Youth Protection.
Msgr. Ronny E. Jenkins, an associate general secretary at the bishops' conference since 2006, will become USCCB general secretary in June.
His election by secret ballot was announced Nov. 16. No vote count was given.
The other candidate for the position was Msgr. David Kagan, vicar general of the Diocese of Rockford, Ill.
The appointment is for five years. Ordained a priest of the Diocese of Austin, Texas, on June 24, 1989, Msgr. Jenkins will succeed Msgr. David Malloy at the close of the bishops' spring assembly in June.
In a series of votes on day-to-day operations of the conference, the bishops voted overwhelmingly -- 225-5 with one abstention -- to approve a $180 million budget for 2011. The amount represents a 24 percent increase over the 2010 budget.
Other issues that passed by overwhelming margins include:
The bishops also approved an agreement on mutual recognition of baptism by the Catholic and four Protestant churches.
The common agreement, passed 204-11, was drawn up over the past six years by a team of scholars from the Catholic-Reformed dialogue group, made up of representatives of the USCCB, Christian Reformed Church in North America, Presbyterian Church (USA), Reformed Church in America and United Church of Christ.
For baptisms to be mutually recognized by the five churches, the baptismal rite must use water and the Trinitarian formula, "Father, Son and Holy Spirit," the document says.
On the conference's opening day Nov. 15, Cardinal George, the outgoing president,
criticized those who define the church's usefulness by whether it provides "foot soldiers for a political commitment, whether of the left or the right."
In his talk opening the fall general assembly, the cardinal devoted much of his time to reviewing the debate over health care reform earlier this year and the "wound to the church's unity" caused by differences over the final legislation.
Cardinal George said "developments since the passage of the legislation" have confirmed that "our analysis of what the law itself says was correct and our moral judgments are secure." He did not specify what those developments were.
The debate also raised the question of "who speaks for the Catholic Church," he said.
"The bishops ... speak for the church in matters of faith and in moral issues and the laws surrounding them," he said. "All the rest is opinion, often well-considered opinion and important opinion that deserves a careful and respectful hearing, but still opinion."
Additional presentations during the opening were made on modern-day challenges to traditional marriage and the rising use of social media.
Archbishop Kurtz, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage, urged his fellow bishops to look at the challenges to traditional marriage as if they could see Roe v. Wade on the horizon.
"Today is like 1970 for marriage," he said, likening the situation for laws about marriage to the period just before the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion in 1973.
"If you had seen Roe v. Wade coming three years out, what would you have done differently?" he asked.
He also updated the bishops on various projects to reinforce the church's teaching about the sanctity of marriage, including the release of new multimedia materials and active work in battling legislative efforts to change legal definitions of marriage in order to legalize same-sex marriage.
The ad hoc committee was upgraded to a subcommittee of the bishops' Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.
Bishop Ronald P. Herzog of Alexandria, La., a member of the bishops' Committee on Communications, said it is becoming increasingly important for the church to utilize social media in ministry and evangelization.
"Social media is proving itself to be a force with which to be reckoned. If not, the church may be facing as great a challenge as that of the Protestant Reformation," Bishop Herzog said.
"I don't think I have to remind you of what happened when the Catholic Church was slow to adapt to that new technology," he told the bishops. "By the time we decided to seriously promote that common folk should read the Bible, the Protestant Reformation was well under way."
Bishop Kevin J. Farrell of Dallas, chairman of the bishops' Committee on National Collections, commended American Catholics for the generosity they showed to the people of Haiti in contributing millions of dollars for earthquake relief.
He said in a report to the assembly that U.S. Catholics contributed $82.3 million as part of a special collection taken up in parishes with 60 percent going for humanitarian aid and 40 percent for church reconstruction.
Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, who chairs the Haiti Advisory Group of the bishops' Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America, explained to the bishops how the reconstruction effort, being overseen by a joint committee of Haitian and worldwide Catholic officials, will meet current accepted standards.
Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services issued a plea for more chaplains to serve the needs of the military.
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Contributing to this report were Nancy Frazier O'Brien and Patricia Zapor in Baltimore.
11/16/2010 3:58 PM ET
Copyright (c) 2010 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops