USCCB elects new General Secretary, committee heads

CNA Staff, Nov 16, 2020 / 04:10 pm (CNA).- The US Conference of Catholic Bishops at their annual Fall General Assembly on Monday announced election results for several positions at the conference, including chairman positions for several committees.

Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill, STL, who had served as Associate General Secretary for the USCCB since 2016, was selected for a five year term as the conference’s General Secretary Nov. 16.

A priest of the Diocese of La Crosse, Burrill succeeds Monsignor Brian Bransfield, who has served as general secretary since 2016. Burrill earned a licentiate in theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, has served as a formator at the Pontifical North American College.

The conference’s general secretary, who must be a priest, is responsible for overseeing staff, committees, and projects of the USCCB, and for facilitating dialogue between the U.S. bishops and offices of the Vatican’s curial offices. Some priests who have served in the position have subsequently become bishops themselves, including Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati and Bishop David Malloy of Rockford.

The USCCB has 18 standing committees that each focus on a specific topic related to the bishops’ mission. Each committee is made up of both bishops and lay consultants, with one bishop serving as chairman.

For the chairmanship of the Committee for Religious Liberty, which seeks to promote and defend religious freedom in law and policy, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York succeeded Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami.

Bishop Thomas Daly of Spokane succeeded Bishop Michael Barber, SJ of Oakland as chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education, which provides guidance to the nation’s Catholic elementary and secondary schools, Catholic colleges and universities, and college campus ministries.

The chairmanship of the Committee for Communications will pass to Bishop Robert Reed, auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Boston and president of the CatholicTV Network. That committee oversees the USCCB’s public affairs and media relations as well as Catholic News Service.

Bishop Arturo Cepeda Escobedo, auxiliary bishop of Detroit, will succeed Archbishop Nelson Perez of Philadelphia as chairman of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church. Bishop Cepeda had previously served as chairman of the Hispanic Affairs Subcommittee.

Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville was elected chairman of the Committee on Doctrine. This committee seeks to provide expertise and guidance on theological and moral issues confronting the Church in the United States.

Bishop James Wall of Gallup was elected to chair the National Collections Committee, succeeding Archbishop Paul Etienne of Seattle. The National Collections Committee oversees and facilitates national monetary collections, and includes subcommittees that raise funds to support the Church in Africa, Latin America, and other places.

The Committee on Pro-life Activities, which had been chaired by Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas will now pass to Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore.

Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services was re-elected for a second three-year term as Secretary of the USCCB.

The U.S. bishops normally meet twice a year, but the spring 2020 assembly was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The current meeting is being conducted virtually.

The USCCB meeting comes less than a week after the Vatican’s release of the highly anticipated McCarrick report, which chronicles the Church’s institutional knowledge and decision-making regarding Theodore McCarrick, the former American cardinal who was dismissed from the clerical state in 2019.

The bishops discussed the McCarrick report following the announcement of the election results Nov. 16. This year’s meeting will conclude Nov. 17.

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  1. I think that just disbanding the USCCB would be a good idea. I don’t know why they have it in the first place; it’s not anywhere in the hierarchy.

    • The USCCB keeps the bishops busy with, well, busy work. The bishops can therefore fool themselves into believing they are doing the job Christ appointed them to to do–as oppose to the job they were actually ordained to do.
      Preaching, teaching, and sanctifying are very dangerous tasks. Just ask Sts. Peter and Paul.

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