Episcopal Conferences: A Question of Purpose
W. H. Marshner
Episcopal conferences grew up with little or no theory behind them. Invented here and there for local reasons, they were marked off from synods and councils by expensive traits: the bishops had to meet on an annual schedule, with by-laws and elected officers, and with the interim support of a permanent staff. Everything seemed affordable in the golden years of Pius XII and John XXIII, and so the creation of more conferences was strongly recommended at Vatican II (especially in the decree Christus Dominus). Before long about a hundred of them had come into existence throughout the world.
By WILLIAM H. MARSHNER
December 5, 1974
Part II (Continued from last week)
WASHINGTON. D.C. – Monday afternoon. Nov. 18th, was devoted to departmental reports from the U.S. Catholic Conference (USCC), which is the civil corporation and social action arm of the U.S. Bishops. The most important of these reports was from the Education Department, presented by Archbishop William D. Borders of Baltimore. Borders is chairman of the Bishops’ committee which is supposed to oversee the operation of the Department, but very little overseeing, in any useful sense of the word, has been done for some years. Borders is the hand-picked successor in this job of Auxiliary Bishop William McManus of Chicago, a man who achieved national notoriety in 1971 by publicly identifying himself with the bitter resentment of the USCC educationalists against the General Catechetical Directory issued by Rome.
The Bishops’ Agenda …
Who Makes It
And What Is It Like?
November 23, 1972
(Special to The Wanderer)
WASHINGTON — For the benefit of readers who have never attended the annual meeting of the American Bishops, it may be useful to say a word about the fat mass of documents, which, taken together, represent the Bishops’ “agenda documentation.” This contains the texts of reports to be approved (each committee of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) makes a report, as does each office in the United States Catholic Conference (USCC) — though, of course, every one of them does not necessarily report at every meeting) and of statements to be issued by the conference.