- Aug 9, 2020
For some Catholics it may seem that the USCCB has always existed in its current form. However, it was created under challenging circumstances and has changed dramatically over the years. It also became a model for bishops’ conferences in other nations after Vatican II.
Given Pope Francis’s usual disinclination to answer his critics, it may seem a little puzzling as to why he quickly and publicly responded to Cardinal Robert Sarah about the implications of the pontiff’s recent decisions on liturgical translation. The nature of Sarah’s position, the pope’s readiness to be precise, and his personal investment in the issue may all help explain why Francis appears so ready to reply this time.
In general, the president of a national bishops’ conference may be an important post domestically, but it doesn’t have great international interest. The one exception tends to be Italy, where the president of the conference is presumed to be a role model for bishops trying to reflect the current pope’s vision, and now the Italians have a new prelate at the helm.
Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti has been named the new president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference. The cardinal is seen as being in the mold of Pope Francis, including a commitment to simplicity and service to the poor, but is difficult to pigeonhole as a liberal or conservative.
Recently Pope Francis’s “C9” council of cardinal advisers issued a statement supporting the pope in light of recent attacks, and the intent was clearly noble. It’s worth pondering, however, if it could have unintended consequences, including pressuring other bishops to follow suit.
ROME — As the Synod of Bishops on the family nears its close, consensus on the issue of access to the sacraments for the divorced and civilly remarried remains elusive. Some who support the proposal are trying a new strategy, suggesting that rather than making a decision in Rome, it