US Catholic bishops announce candidates for committee chairs

CNA 5dcb9d0ced04b 171313 1 Members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops gather for their Fall Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland on Nov. 11, 2019. | Christine Rousselle/CNA

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has announced the slate of candidates to fill the eight vacancies for committee chairs.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. bishops' 2020 Fall General Assembly will be held virtually. Unlike in past assemblies, where elections were done onsite via electronic ballots, bishops will instead vote by mail with a paper ballot. The winners of the elections will be announced during the meeting. 

The bishops will be voting for the chairmen-elect of seven committees: Priorities and Plans, Catholic Education, Communications, Cultural Diversity in the Church, Doctrine, National Collections, and Pro-Life Activities. 

The winners of these elections will serve one year as "chairman-elect" before they take over as chairman at the 2021 Fall General Assembly. Once elevated to chairman, the bishop will serve in that role for a three-year term. 

The bishops will also vote for a chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, which is currently being led by acting chairman Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami. 

At the Fall 2019 General Assembly, Wenski tied a vote with Bishop George Murry, S.J. of Youngstown following the resignation of Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville due to medical reasons. Murry was older than Wenski, and was declared the victor of that election. 

The position of chairman became vacant once again following Murray's death on June 5 after a relapse of leukemia. Wenski agreed to assume the role on an acting basis. 

Wenski is running against Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York for a full three-year term as chairman of the committee.

Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese of the Military Services, USA, the current secretary of the USCCB, has been nominated along with Bishop Daniel Thomas of Toledo for the position of chairman-elect of the Committee on Priorities and Plans. 

Bishop Thomas Daly of Spokane and Archbishop Gregory Hartmayer, OFM Conv. of Atlanta were both nominated to lead the Committee on Catholic Education.

Bishop Christopher Coyne of Burlington and Bishop Robert Reed, an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Boston--were nominated to lead the Committee on Communications. 

Bishop Arturo Cepada, an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit, and Bishop Jorge Rodriguez-Novelo, an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Denver, have offered themselves to lead the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church. 

Bishop Brendan Cahill of Victoria (TX) and Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville were both nominated to lead the Committee on Doctrine. 

The Committee on National Collections will be led by either Bishop W. Shawn McKnight of Jefferson City or Bishop James Wall of Gallup.

Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore were both nominated to lead the Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

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