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Highlights of 2007 bishops’ fall general meeting
Source: Catholic News Service
Published: Friday, December 5, 2008
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BALTIMORE (CNS)—At the U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops' Nov. 12-15 fall general meeting in Baltimore, the bishops:
- Received details of Pope Benedict XVI's April 15-20 visit to the United States.
- Authorized a new statement on Iraq that says some U.S. policymakers "seem to fail to recognize sufficiently the reality and failures in Iraq and the imperative for new directions." The statement was issued in the name of the outgoing USCCB president, Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane, Wash.
- Elected Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago as their new president, and Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., as vice president. They had been USCCB vice president and secretary, respectively.
- Heard a briefing from staff of the New York-based John Jay College of Criminal Justice on an ongoing study of the "causes and context" of clerical sexual abuse, with the early research suggesting that patterns of sexual abuse within the church are consistent with the experience of society as a whole.
- Voted to draft a brief policy statement on embryonic stem-cell research and a pastoral document on reproductive technologies.
- Approved a $147.7 million budget for 2008 and a 16 percent reduction in the diocesan assessment to fund the USCCB.
- Issued the 2008 version of their quadrennial "Faithful Citizenship" election statement, which rejects politics based on "powerful interests, partisan attacks, sound bites and media hype" and calls instead for "a different kind of political engagement," and approved a bulletin-ready insert summarizing its main points.
- Gave their approval by a 221-7 margin to legislation specifying when a bishop must get the consent of his diocesan finance council and college of consultors before making certain financial transactions or commitments. The legislation now awaits Vatican approval.
- Approved several liturgical agenda items: a document on liturgical music, 183-22, with three abstentions; an English-language version of a document on weekday celebrations of the Liturgy of the Word, 190-18, and a Spanish-language version, 188-16, with five abstentions; and revised readings during Lent, 199-6, with five abstentions.
- Unanimously OK'd a curriculum framework for developing catechetical materials for high school students, 220-0.
- Approved an English-language version of a document on stewardship and teenagers, 198-6, and a Spanish-language version, 202-5.
- Approved a 21-page set of guidelines on catechetical instruction on chaste living for students from kindergarten through 12th grade, 212-3 with one abstention.

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