By Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON – Discussion and voting on concrete measures to address the abuse crisis and a day of spiritual discernment and prayer will top the agenda for the U.S. bishops when they meet Nov. 12-14 for their fall general assembly in Baltimore.
Public sessions of the assembly also will be livestreamed, live tweeted and carried via satellite, according to a news release from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The assembly will begin Nov. 12 with an address by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, who is USCCB president, as well as remarks by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, papal nuncio to the United States. The body of bishops will then adjourn to an on-site chapel for a full day of spiritual discernment and prayer. This will be followed by a Mass celebrated at the site of the assembly that evening.
Watch the livestream
During their business sessions, the U.S. bishops will discuss and vote on a series of concrete measures to respond to the abuse, including those approved for their agenda at the September meeting of the Admin-istrativeCommittee. Among them are the establishment of a third-party confidential reporting system for claims of any abuse by bishops, developing policies on restrictions for bishops who are the subject of allegations and the developing a code of conduct for bishops.
The Administrative Committee consists of the officers, chairmen and regional representatives of the USCCB. The committee, which meets in March and September, is the highest authority of the USCCB outside of the full body of bishops when they meet for their fall and spring general assemblies.
In Baltimore the bishops also will hear reports from the National Advisory Council and National Review Board.They also will vote on a proposed pastoral on racism titled “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love – A Pastoral Letter Against Racism.”
“Despite many promising strides made in our country, the ugly cancer of racism still infects our nation,” the proposed document says. “Racist acts are sinful because they violate justice.”
They also will hear a report on the now-concluded Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment, will vote on a 2019 budget as well as vote for a USCCB treasurer-elect and a couple of committee chairmen and five chairman-elect.
Also on the agenda will be a voice vote to endorse the sainthood cause of Sister Thea Bowman, the granddaughter of slaves and the only African-American member of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. The request comes from Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz of Jackson, Mississippi – where Sister Bowman grew up and also where she ministered in her last years while taking care of her aging parents and subsequently fighting cancer herself.
Public sessions of the discussions and votes during the general assembly as well as portions of the day of spiritual discernment will be available via livestream.
News updates, vote totals, texts of addresses and presentations and other materials will be posted online as soon as possible. Those wishing to follow the meeting on social media can use the hashtag #USCCB18 and follow on Twitter (@USCCB) as well as on Facebook, www.facebook.com/usccb