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The USCCB meeting starts today: 5 items the bishops will consider

By Alejandro Bermudez for CNA

A bishop's pectoral cross. (Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA)

Denver Newsroom, Jun 16, 2021 / 13:12 pm (CNA).

From June 16-18, 2021, the bishops of the United States will gather for their annual spring meeting, held virtually this year, to debate and vote on several action items. Here is an introduction to the five most important items on the agenda.

1. Plans for a Eucharistic Revival

While the possibility of a document on the Eucharist has grabbed headlines for months, the most significant move of the bishops may be their bold plans for a national Eucharistic Revival. The multi-year plan involves partnership with ministries across the nation and culminates in a national Eucharistic Congress in 2024. Given its impact on the lives of everyday Catholics, this initiative may be the most important action item approved at the meeting.

2. Vote on whether to draft a document on the Eucharist

Likely to garner the most attention is the vote on whether to begin drafting a teaching document on the Eucharist. The discussion about this document has received growing attention since the November election, though the bishops’ interest in questions related to eucharistic coherence and belief in the real presence date back to 2004.

Contrary to reports among activist groups and some media outlets, the vote is not a referendum on whether President Joe Biden, a Catholic whose public positions on abortion, euthanasia, transgenderism, and the death penalty contradict Church teaching, but on the creation of a document to catechize American Catholics.

An outline of the document obtained by CNA shows that the three-part document will focus on the mystery of the real presence and its reality as a sacrifice that heals; the sacramental celebration of the Eucharist, its beauty and ability to unify and forge an identity among the faithful as a people of God; and the moral and missionary transformation that occurs after partaking in the Eucharist, with a subsection on Eucharistic consistency and the problem on serious sin.

That subsection has overshadowed the bishops’ evangelistic attempt to catechize the faithful on the central mystery of the faith—a mystery that Pew Research shows more than 2/3 of Catholics do not believe.

3. Vote to advance the cause of two servants of God

The vote to advance the cause of canonization for a diocesan priest named Joseph Verbis Lafluer and Benedictine Brother Marinus LaRue may give greater recognition of two heroically virtuous men to the Church. Both men have military backgrounds and incredible stories.

Father Lafluer, a Louisiana native, was a military chaplain and prisoner of war who died sacrificing his life to help others out of the hull of a Japanese warship he and hundreds of other POWS were trapped in. When American forces unknowingly torpedoed the ship carrying their compatriots, Lafluer stayed behind to help his fellow men out of the hull. Prior to his death, he spent 2 ½ years under starving conditions in a camp in the Philippines where his generosity with rations and charity in such extreme conditions moved around 200 men to convert to Catholicism, including men who did nothing other than see his example.

Leonard LaRue, a Merchant Marine captain, was responsible for the execution of a courageous rescue operation during the Korean War. After traveling to Korea on a weapons transport ship whose capacity held 50-60 men, he saw thousands of Koreans on the shore attempting to flee communist powers. Grasping the eternal significance of the people before him, LaRue gave orders that nearly all weapons and cargo be dispatched and filled his ship with some 14,005 refugees. After winning accolades for his heroic and decisive action, LaRue decided to dedicate his life to God as a religious, joining the Benedictines as Brother Marinus and living the rest of his life in humility, obscurity, and penance.

4. Votes on evangelization efforts for various groups and updates on cultural diversity

A vote to approve a “National Pastoral Framework for Marriage and Family Life Ministry in the United States: Called to the Joy of Love;” a vote to develop a formal statement and comprehensive vision on Native American/Alaska Native ministry; and a vote to create a national pastoral framework on youth and young adults are action items at the spring meeting.

Friday afternoon will also see presentations on the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) study on pastoral care for migrants, refugees and travelers as well as an overview of the June 1-2, 2021 meeting on immigration matters held at Mundelein Seminary.

5. Approval of New Liturgical Texts

While the full new translation of the Breviary will most likely not be completed until 2024, the bishops will be voting on translations and insertions that will impact the prayers of Liturgy of the Hours. They will also be voting on a new book for the Order of Penance, and formally ratifying readings and prayers for the newly instituted feast of Mary, Mother of the Church.

The bishops conference meeting will begin with public remarks from the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, as well as a presidential address by Archbishop José Gomez, current USCCB president. The public sessions of the meetings will be livestreamed on the USCCB website.

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  1. “Contrary to reports among activist groups and some media outlets, the vote is not a referendum on whether President Joe Biden, a Catholic whose public positions on abortion, euthanasia, transgenderism, and the death penalty contradict Church teaching, but on the creation of a document to catechize American Catholics.”

    Really! Then I guess then pope was just as confused as many of us were in that regard inasmuch as the Vatican essentially warned the bishops not to take it up.

    It sounds to me like his warnignwas headed.

  2. Item 2 if correctly interpreted by CNA as an instruction on the Eucharist rather than a referendum on coherence is a contrived betrayal, a dereliction of the bishop’s Apostolic duty to defend the faith. “Sixty-nine percent of Catholics that Pew surveyed reported their belief that the bread and wine used during the Eucharist are symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Most Catholics do not know the Church teaches that transubstantiation occurs” (CNA citing Pew 8.5.19). Archbishop Cordileone lamented we’re far behind in catechizing the faithful. The term faithful has lost its meaning because of lost faith. Bishops took doctrine for granted, priests simply declined to be pedagogical from the pulpit, turning to endless assurance that God loves us. Moral dissolution the logical outcome when priests rarely if ever spoke of serious sin, requirement to confess, the possibility of Hell. Surely the Church at large is doctrinally bereft. But the Vatican had warned of discord if the bishops sanctioned recalcitrant politicians. That is what’s behind the change of agenda, the literal betrayal of their Apostolic commission. As if ruffled feathers has any relevance. As if exercise of the faith in sanctioning the unrepentant is not teaching, is not guidance, witness to the truth. The shock of a formal sanction withholding the Eucharist from recalcitrant politicians is exactly the needed disciplinary therapy for both recalcitrant and uninformed.

    • Avoidance of defining Eucharistic cohesion, and the refusal to prohibit communion to recalcitrant politicians, especially Biden sends the message to the Church, that whatever the bishops may say regarding the Real Presence it makes no difference for anyone within the Church if they choose to support and even practice abortion, transgenderism, all the variants of homosexual depravity – because politicians including Biden may continue to receive the Eucharist. It’s a self defeating policy that will further compromise, discourage practice of the faith. A veritable Judas like betrayal of Christ.

  3. I hope the bishops boldly stand up and teach “eucharistic coherence” and deny communion to politicians who scandalously and publicly oppose Catholic teaching. They must be consistent too in its application of this to all Catholics, not just politicians. There must be side by side an “application coherence.” To be coherent, this teaching if ever proclaimed must be applied not only to politicians but to all Catholics, even clerics and religious. And the public sins considered for this communion ban must include not only abortion but also same-sex marriage, not caring for and helping the poor and immigrants, white supremacist racism, climate change denialism (against Laudato Si), promoting and perpetuating Trump’s Big Lie about the 2020 election as well as Q-anon conspiracy theories (against the 8th commandment) as the most notable ones.

  4. For a half century, most American Catholic bishops have been hunkered down in a “see no evil, hear no evil” crouch. And the faithful have had to wage the culture war unsupported.

    Now, our children have rejected the faith, our grandchildren have barely heard of it, and most of the few who are in the pews don’t believe that they are receiving the living Jesus in the Eucharist.

    The family has been undermined, young people are not getting married, and the birth rate over a cliff.

    And the bishops think maybe now they’ll say something? Really?


    Why bother, bishops? What’s your hurry?

    “…when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

    Doesn’t look like it.

  5. The USCCB will publish a “three-part document will focus on the mystery of the real presence and its reality as a sacrifice that heals…”?


    Is it the case that the apostate Bishops of Germany are world-wide represntatives of all Bishops everywhere, even in the United States? Is it the case that the Bishops of the Catholic Church NO LONGER BELIEVE THAT JESUS DIED TO REDEEM US FROM OUR SINS?

    Is this USCCB now simply the American branch of the apostasizing post-Christian global episcopal cult?

    Do they now profess nothing more than the apostate German Bishop Robert Zollitsch, who declared on Holy Saturday 2009, in a deliberately orchestrated TV interview, that Christ “did not die for the sins of the people as if God had provided a sacrificial offering….” Would they answer, if asked, as the TV interviewer asked Zollitsch, “You would now no longer describe it in such a way that God gave his own son, because we humans were so sinful? You would no longer describe it like this?” Would they answer as Zollitsch responded, “No.” ???

    Their answer seems to be patently YES…we share the cult of apostasy…we no longer profess that Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins.

  6. Recent information I saw suggests that the new breviary translation could actually hit the shelves by 2024, not that the translation wouldn’t be done until then.

  7. This is catch-up work orchestrated under pressure to finally address concerns in the Catholic Church which should have had primary attention beginning at least 50 years ago. It is meant to show the world that the bishops are busy getting things done, without making a firm statement on the matter of public official’s who support and promote grave evil—those flaunting their intent to continue to receive Holy Communion.

    These prelates estimate the work will stretch into 2024. How convenient to, all of a sudden, work on 50 year old issues of importance, so as to side-step taking definitive action on those who publicly pluck the Lord’s beard, buffet him, and spit upon him.

    Now these church officials talk about two military men who sacrificed their lives to serve others. Have church leaders been inspired by their heroic example? Judging from these prelates(lacking spiritual testosterone) I would say they have been busy with busyness these past fifty years. Were they willing to to lay their lives down taking the salvation of souls seriously? As Monsignor Mangan stated:

    ” Regarding the authority of a local ordinary in his diocese, Mangan emphasized the duty of a bishop “to teach, to proclaim, to sanctify, and to safeguard.”

    “Safeguarding has a place. To safeguard the faith, to safeguard the dignity of human life, and the reverence due to the sacraments, I think that has a real definite place,” he said. See: Bishops must address Biden’s policies that contradict Church teaching, theologians say – Catholic World Report

    I think not, or they wouldn’t be playing distraction with unfinished work, so that, the Biden/Pelosi’s of this world won’t be noticed. This is criminal.

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