BALTIMORE – After a day of discernment and prayer, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) gather together for the next two weeks for their Fall General Assembly.
November 12, 2018 starts off with addresses from Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the USCCB president, and Archbishop Christoph Pierre, the Papal Nuncio. After their addresses, spiritual discernment and prayer will follow, concluding with Mass in the evening.
Just what will the bishops be discussing at the Fall General Assembly?
The abuse crisis
The Pennsylvania Grand Jury report released on August 14, 2018 was the start of many investigations across the United States regarding abuse at the hands of clergy. This summer also witnessed the case of then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who has since retired to a small, Kansas friary.
During the meeting, the bishops will “discuss and vote on a series of concrete measures to respond to the abuse crisis,” an October press release reads. These concrete measures will include “third-party reporting mechanisms, standards of conduct for bishops, and protocols for bishops resigned or removed because of the abuse.”
At the Fall General Assembly, the bishops will vote on a Pastoral Letter Against Racism. The last time a Pastoral Letter was written on this topic was in 1979.
The upcoming Pastoral Letter addresses the experience of Native Americans, African Americans, and Hispanics, who experience public displays of racism in America.
The letter is structured around Micah 6:8, which reads, “You have been told, O mortal, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
Cause for canonization
Thea Bowman, FSPA was a Roman Catholic sister and teacher who died in 1990. She was raised as a Protestant until she was nine years old, when she asked her parents if she could convert to Catholicism.
She spent 16 year of her life teaching at elementary, secondary, and university schools. The bishop of Jackson, Mississippi asked her to serve as the consultant for intercultural awareness.
She traveled across the United States giving presentations to break down racial and cultural barriers.
Doctors diagnosed Sister Thea with breast cancer. Upon hearing the diagnosis, her response was to pray “to live until I die.” She continued to hold her presentations, even when she was confined to a wheelchair.
United States Bishops invited her to be the key speaker at the conference on Black Catholics in 1989, where she led all bishops gathered in several verses of “We Shall Overcome.”
Chairs of committees
The bishops will vote for a Conference Treasurer-elect, new chairmen of the Committee on Catholic Education, and new chairmen-elect of the following five USCCB committees:
- Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations
- Committee on Divine Worship
- Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development
- Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth
- Committee on Migration
You can receive updates, vote totals, texts of important addresses, and presentations on the USCCB website. You can also follow the Fall General Assembly on Twitter and Facebook. A live stream is also available.