BALTIMORE -- The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voted Tuesday on several committee leadership positions, considered several liturgical proposals and moved forward with a New York canonization cause.
At their fall general assembly in Baltimore on Nov. 11, the bishops elected Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans to be the new conference secretary. They also picked new chairmen-elect for several other committees.
After serving for one year as chairman-elect, each bishop will serve a three-year term as chairman of an individual committee.
The bishops elected Auxiliary Bishop Christopher Coyne of Indianapolis as chairman-elect of the Committee on Communications. The committee supports the bishops in evangelization and faith formation through media relations, publishing and other areas.
Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio was chosen as the next head of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, which works to encourage the full participation of racially and culturally diverse communities in the Church’s faith, life and evangelizing mission.
The Committee on Pro-Life Activities, which works to educate and promote respect for human life from conception to natural death, will be led by Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York.
Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit was elected to head the Committee on Doctrine. The committee offers guidance and assistance to the bishops’ conference on issues of faith and morals, especially in the areas of science, health care, human values and scriptural translations.
The bishops chose Archbishop Thomas Rodi of Mobile, Ala., as chairman-elect of the Committee on National Collections, which encourages stewardship by coordinating and supporting national collections throughout the year to aid the Church in evangelizing, social justice and development both domestically and abroad.
Bishop M. da Cunha of Fall River, Mass., and Auxiliary Bishop Martin Holley of Washington were elected to the board of directors for Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC).
Five bishops were elected to the Catholic Relief Services board of directors: Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, Bishop Edward Burns of Juneau, Alaska, Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind., Bishop Felipe Estévez of St. Augustine, Fla., and Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha, Neb. Archbishop Lucas will be serving his second term on the board; the other elected members are new.
Furthermore, the bishops voted to move forward with drafting revisions of one section of "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services," dealing with forming partnerships in health care.
The modification will incorporate guidance received in February from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
In light of complicated new developments in health care, the modification will seek to offer principles to help ensure that Catholic health-care institutions do not create scandal or cooperate immorally with unacceptable procedures conducted by connected health-care groups.
The conference’s doctrine committee will now draft a revision to the document, which will be considered by the full body of bishops at a future meeting.
At their meeting, the U.S. bishops also authorized a budget and considered several liturgical items. They approved the first-ever English translation for the ritual book Exorcisms and Related Supplications, originally promulgated in Latin.
They also approved a measure to start revising the "Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments With Persons With Disabilities," taking into consideration medical developments such as the prevalence of autism, celiac disease and other conditions that can affect preparation for and reception of sacraments.
In addition, the bishops voted to advance the local level of the canonization cause for Father Paul Wattson, a former Episcopalian priest in New York in the late 1800s. Moved by great compassion for the poor and a desire to repair the divisions in Christianity, Father Wattson founded the Society of the Atonement before converting to the Catholic faith.