Bishops at CELAM conference yet to decide on issuance of final document


The president of the Department of Communications of the Latin American Bishops’ Council (CELAM), Archbishop Baltasar Porras, said this week the bishops meeting at CELAM’s general conference in Brazil have the authority to decide whether or not to issue a final document.

During a press conference on Monday, Archbishop Porras also said the CELAM conference “is not a secret meeting.  If a document is approved, it will be sent to the Pope for recognition as is normally done.” The approval from the Holy Father will then take “less than one month” while he reviews it.

The president of CELAM, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz, told reporters CELAM leaders would meet with Pope Benedict XVI on June 11 in order to review the document, if one is approved.  He noted that a document would be “the teaching of the bishops and not the Pope,” although it would be subject to the Pope’s review.

“The Pope came and gave his discourse, but he still remains involved by reviewing the work of the bishops,” he said.

Cardinal Errazuriz also discussed the voting system that the bishops will use during the meeting.  “First a draft document will be presented. Then it will be reviewed and improved in committee.  Then it will be brought back to the main body and will be subjected to a vote paragraph by paragraph.  I approve, I don’t approve, or I approve with these modifications.”

“If it is not approved and somebody is interested in submitting a new issue to vote, he will need the support of some of the presidents of the bishops’ conferences in order for it to be discussed again.  Many of these votes will be done electronically,” he explained.

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