Loading
U.S. Catholic bishops issue guidelines for lay workers

.- The U.S. Catholic bishops covered a lot of ground in the two first days of their fall meeting. The bishops talked about Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, the role of the Catholic laity in public ministry, a reaffirmation of the church's opposition to the death penalty, changes to the order and language of the Mass, financial and spiritual support for the church in Africa, a new religious alliance against pornography and a report by the Catholic Near East Welfare Association.

The president of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops, Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane, Wash., reported that priests' morale was high in the wake of the sexual abuse crisis.Of 415 U.S. bishops, about 300 attended the meeting this week.

The bishops meet twice a year, but the fall meeting is better attended, and the news media are typically given more access to the bishops in the fall and can observe many session.

The nation's Roman Catholic bishops took a big step Tuesday to acknowledge and deal with one of the church's nagging problems: the growing shortage of priests.The bishops approved new rules and expectations for the American church's 30,632 "lay ecclesial ministers," many of whom are filling tasks that used to be exclusively assigned to clergy. In some parishes, for instance, they conduct weddings and baptisms.The debate showed that a number of bishops worry that the term "minister" undercuts the status of priests. But it has come into common use for lay professionals who are certified and authorized by bishops.

Addressing that issue, the final text emphasizes the gap in status between lay workers and the clergy.Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., who chaired the drafting committee on lay ministers, told a news conference that the church has long had lay religious educators but what's new is the laity handling pastoral and administrative work."That role has evolved because of the shortage of priests," he said.In their final public session, the bishops also approved a statement reaffirming their opposition to the death penalty and heard from New Orleans Archbishop Alfred Hughes about the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina.

The number of active Catholic priests has dropped from 57,317 to 42,528 since 1985. The church has 30,632 salaried lay ministers who work at least 20 hours a week, a 53 percent increase since 1990. The priesthood shortage is also alleviated by the 15,027 men ordained as permanent deacons to assist priests.

On Tuesday afternoon, the bishops began a day or two of closed-door executive sessions, provoking complaints from lay activists who champion open meetings.Among the issues likely to be discussed behind closed doors are ongoing problems and programs in the wake of the priestly sex-abuse scandal.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
16

Liturgical Calendar

April 16, 2014

Wednesday of Holy Week

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 26:14-25

Gospel
Date
04/16/14
04/14/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Is 50:4-9a
Gospel:: Mt 26:14-25

Homily of the Day

Mt 26:14-25

Homily
Date
04/16/14
04/14/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: