United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

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United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.svg
Abbreviation USCCB
Formation 1966
Type NGO
Legal status
Civil nonprofit
Purpose To support the ministry of bishops
Headquarters Washington, D.C.
Region served
United States
Membership Active and retired Catholic bishops of the United States
President
Archbishop Joseph Edward Kurtz
Main organ
Conference
Affiliations National Council of
Catholic Women
National Catholic Office for Persons with Disabilities
Catholic Legal Immigration Network
Catholic Relief Services
National Right to Life Committee (1968-1973)
Budget US$180 million
Staff 300
Website usccb.org

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is the episcopal conference of the Catholic Church in the United States. Founded in 1966 as the joint National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) and United States Catholic Conference (USCC), it is composed of all active and retired members of the Catholic hierarchy (i.e., diocesan, coadjutor, and auxiliary bishops and the ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter) in the United States and the Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands. In the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the bishops in the six dioceses form their own episcopal conference, the Puerto Rican Episcopal Conference (Spanish, Conferencia Episcopal Puertorriqueña). The bishops in U.S. insular areas in the Pacific Ocean — the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Territory of American Samoa, and the Territory of Guam — are members of the Episcopal Conference of the Pacific (Latin, Conferentia Episcopalis Pacifici).[1]

The USCCB adopted its current name in July 2001. The organization is a registered corporation based in Washington, D.C. As with all bishops' conferences, certain[which?] decisions and acts of the USCCB must receive the recognitio, or approval of the Roman dicasteries, which are subject to the immediate and absolute authority of the Pope.

History[edit]

National Catholic War Council[edit]

Further information: National Catholic Welfare Council#National Catholic War Council

The first national organization of Catholic bishops in the United States was founded in 1917 as the National Catholic War Council (NCWC), formed to enable U.S. Catholics to contribute funds for the spiritual care of Catholic servicemen during World War I.

National Catholic Welfare Council[edit]

In 1919 Pope Benedict XV urged the college of bishops around the world to assist him in promoting the labor reforms first articulated by Pope Leo XIII in Rerum Novarum. In response, the U.S. Catholic episcopate organized the National Catholic Welfare Council in 1919. They also created the first Administrative Committee of seven members to manage daily affairs between plenary meetings, with archbishop Edward Joseph Hanna of San Francisco as the first chairman. Headquarters were established in Washington, D.C.

After a threatened suppression of the National Catholic Welfare Council, the administrative board decided to rename the organization to be the National Catholic Welfare Conference, with the purpose of advocating reforms in education, immigration, and social action.

National Right to Life Committee (1968-1973)[edit]

The National Conference of Catholic Bishops had appointed Fr. James T. McHugh during April, 1967 to lead the early formation of what was later to become the National Right to Life Committee. The NRLC was itself formed in 1968 under the auspices of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops to coordinate information and strategy between developing local and state Catholic pro-life groups and is the oldest and the largest national organization against legal abortion in the United States with NRLC affiliates in all 50 states and over 3,000 local chapters nationwide.[2] These NRLC affiliate groups were forming in response to efforts to change abortion laws based on model legislation proposed by the American Law Institute (ALI). New Jersey attorney Juan Ryan served as the organization's first president. NRLC held a nationwide meeting of pro-life leaders in Chicago in 1970 at Barat College. The following year, NRLC held its first convention at Macalestar College in St. Paul, Minnesota.

NCCB/USCC[edit]

Episcopal conferences were first established as formal bodies by the Second Vatican Council (Christus Dominus, 38), and implemented by Pope Paul VI's 1966 motu proprio Ecclesiae sanctae. In order to fulfill the new requirements for national conferences of bishops, the American bishops established — in 1966 — the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) and its secular arm, the United States Catholic Conference (USCC).

As separate organizations with distinct responsibilities, the NCCB focused on internal ecclesiastical concerns while the USCC carried forward work in society at large. The NCCB enabled the bishops to deliberate and respond collectively on a broad range of issues, with work being carried out through various secretariats, standing committees, and ad hoc committees.

On July 1, 2001, the NCCB and the USCC were combined to form the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The merger resulted in the continuation of all of the work formerly done by the NCCB and the USCC, with the same staff.

The operation, authority, and responsibilities of episcopal conferences are currently governed by the 1983 Code of Canon Law (see especially canons 447–459). The nature of episcopal conferences, and their magisterial authority in particular, was subsequently clarified by Pope John Paul II's 1998 motu proprio Apostolos suos.

Current structure and membership[edit]

USCCB offices in Washington, D.C.

The structure of the conference (USCCB) consists of 16 standing committees (whose members are bishops) and the departments, secretariats, and offices that carry out the work of the committees. The leaders of these departments, secretariats, and offices report to the general secretariat of the conference.

The membership of the USCCB consists of all active and retired Latin-rite Catholic and Eastern Catholic bishops (i.e., diocesan, coadjutor, and auxiliary bishops) of the United States and the Territory of the Virgin Islands — and the ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter — but not the bishops of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Territory of American Samoa, and the Territory of Guam. The bishops of the latter four U.S. overseas dependencies belong to other episcopal conferences. In the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the bishops in the six dioceses form their own episcopal conference, the Puerto Rican Episcopal Conference (Spanish, Conferencia Episcopal Puertorriqueña). The bishops in U.S. insular areas in the Pacific Ocean — the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Territory of American Samoa, and the Territory of Guam — are members of the Episcopal Conference of the Pacific (Latin, Conferentia Episcopalis Pacifici).[1]

The USCCB has two semiannual meetings, in November and June. Between these meetings, the conference is governed by the Administrative Committee. There is also an Executive Committee, whose members include the conference president, vice-president, and secretary (all of whom are bishops). The officers of the conference are elected for three-year terms. The conference also elects chairmen and chairmen-elect of the standing committees.

Regions[edit]

The USCCB divides the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States into fourteen geographical regions and a fifteenth region that consists of the Eastern Catholic eparchies and exarchate.
For the list of regions, see: List of Roman Catholic dioceses (structured view)#Episcopal Conference of the United States of America

The dioceses of the United States are grouped into fifteen regions. Fourteen of the regions (numbered I through XIV) are geographically based, for the Latin Catholic dioceses. The Eastern Catholic eparchies (dioceses) and exarchate constitute Region XV.

Organizational structure[edit]

Programmatic Committees and Related Subcommittees[edit]

Executive Level and Management Committees (Officers)[edit]

USCCB departments and programs[edit]

Office of the General Secretary

  • General Secretary
  • Associate General Secretary — Pastoral Ministry and Planning
  • Associate General Secretary and Secretary of Policy and Advocacy
  • Associate General Secretary and Secretary of Administration
  • Assistant General Secretary for Planning

Office of the General Counsel

Pastoral Ministry

  • Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations
  • Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church
  • Secretariat of Divine Worship
  • Secretariat of Doctrine
  • Secretariat of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs
  • Secretariat of Evangelization and Catechesis
  • Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth
  • Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection

Policy and Advocacy

  • Secretary of Policy and Advocacy
  • Government Relations

Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development

  • Executive Director
  • Office of International Justice and Peace
  • Office of Domestic Social Development
  • Catholic Campaign for Human Development
  • Education and Outreach

Department of Migration and Refugee Services

  • Executive Director
  • Office of Migration and Refugee Policy
  • Office of Refugee Programs

Secretariat of Catholic Education

Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities

Communications

Administration and National Collections

  • Secretary of Administration
  • Office of Finance
  • Office of Accounting and Business Services
  • Office of General Services
  • Office of Human Resources

Office of National Collections

Other Collections: National Religious Retirement Office

Office for Film and Broadcasting

Office of Information Technology

Initiatives[edit]

In November 2004, the USCCB kicked off the National Pastoral Initiative for Marriage, a multi-year effort to promote traditional marriage values.[citation needed]

In March 2012, regarding the Federal requirement that employers who do not support contraception but are not religious institutions per se must cover contraception via health insurance, USCCB decided to "continue its 'vigorous opposition to this unjust and illegal mandate'”.[3]

In June and July 2012, the USCCB promoted a campaign of events called the Fortnight for Freedom to protest government activities that in their view impinged on their religious liberty.

Immigration[edit]

The USCCB platform on immigration reform includes:[4][5]

  • Earned legalization for immigrants who are of good moral character to adjust their status to obtain lawful permanent residence after a background check and payment of fines.
  • A legal path for foreign born workers to enter the U.S. for work in order to alleviate border crossing deaths.
  • More visas to promote family reunification as well as a reduction in waiting times.
  • Elimination of some of the penalties in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 such as the three year and ten year bans on deported illegal immigrants (depending on the length of their illegal stay in the U.S.)
  • The root cause of illegal immigrations such as poverty and inequality in sending countries needs to be addressed.
  • Enforcement should focus on illegal immigrants who pose risks to public safety rather than on families seeking employment.

Presidents[edit]

  1. John F. Dearden, Cardinal Archbishop of Detroit (1966–1971; was created a cardinal on April 28, 1969)
  2. John J. Krol, Cardinal Archbishop of Philadelphia (1971–1974)
  3. Joseph L. Bernardin, Archbishop of Cincinnati (1974–1977; later became Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago)
  4. John R. Quinn, Archbishop of San Francisco (1977–1980)
  5. John R. Roach, Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis (1980–1983)
  6. James W. Malone, Bishop of Youngstown (1983–1986)
  7. John L. May, Archbishop of Saint Louis (1986–1989)
  8. Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of Cincinnati (1989–1992)
  9. William H. Keeler, Cardinal Archbishop of Baltimore (1992–1995)
  10. Anthony M. Pilla, Bishop of Cleveland (1995–1998)
  11. Joseph A. Fiorenza, Bishop of Galveston-Houston (1998–2001; last NCCB/USCC President and first USCCB President; became an archbishop in December 2004, when the then-Diocese of Galveston-Houston was elevated to a metropolitan archdiocese)
  12. Wilton D. Gregory, Bishop of Belleville (2001–2004; later became Archbishop of Atlanta)
  13. William S. Skylstad, Bishop of Spokane (2004–2007)
  14. Francis E. George, O.M.I., Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago (2007–2010)
  15. Timothy M. Dolan, Cardinal Archbishop of New York (2010–2013)
  16. Joseph E. Kurtz, Archbishop of Louisville (2013–present)

† = deceased

2010 election

At the November 2010 General Meeting in Baltimore, elections were held for President and Vice President. For the first time in the history of the USCCB, and in a break from long-standing tradition, a Vice President standing for the presidency was denied the top post. In those elections, Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York, was elected President — defeating Gerald Kicanas, Bishop of Tucson, 128-111 (54% to 46%) — and Joseph Kurtz, Archbishop of Louisville, was elected Vice President in a runoff against Charles Chaput, Archbishop of Denver, 147-91 (62% to 38%).

Funding[edit]

The budget for 2011 is $180 million. Money is raised by assessing the individual dioceses.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b See Oceania.
  2. ^ http://www.christianlifeandliberty.net/RTL.bmp K.M. Cassidy. "Right to Life." In Dictionary of Christianity in America, Coordinating Editor, Daniel G. Reid. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVaristy Press, 1990. pp. 1017,1018.
  3. ^ Meehan, Seth, "Catholics and Contraception: Boston, 1965", The New York Times, March 15, 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
  4. ^ United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: "Catholic Church's Position on Immigration Reform" August 2013
  5. ^ Pittsburgh Tribune: "Catholic Bishop Zubik prays for immigration reform" By Matthew Santoni November 24, 2013
  6. ^ "Highlights of 2010 USCCB fall general assembly". Orlando, Florida: Florida Catholic. Nov 26 – Dec 9, 2010. pp. A10. 

External links[edit]