"The bishops realize that they themselves are going to have to change their tone if they are to become more inclusive and complement the new tone coming from Pope Francis and the Vatican," Schmalz said. "There is definitely something going on here: The American hierarchy is going to have to change its style or be left behind."
The bishops had early in the meeting prayed for the thousands of victims of Friday's typhoon in the Philippines and also discussed the response to the disaster by Catholic Relief Services, the bishops' international relief agency.
But after a presentation on overall priorities of the U.S. bishops, Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza, a former president of the conference, rose to say it was "missing this essential element" of a focus on the poor.
"It would help our conference be on record as trying to achieve what Pope Francis has put before us," said Fiorenza, who retired as archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Texas.
Bishops also discussed how they would collect the information the Vatican is seeking ahead of a major meeting, or synod, on the family in Rome next year.
Last month, Vatican officials sent a survey to the national bishops conferences that took the unusual step of seeking broad input on how parishes deal with sensitive issues such as birth control, divorce and gay marriage. Bishops in England have put the questionnaire on the web for parishioners to respond. Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput said he planned to post the survey online within days.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Well, this should be interesting. Guess he's more than just a pretty face.