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Thomas Reese: Pastoral priorities from Pope Francis for the US bishops


bishops2(NCR Online) When the U.S. bishops meet Nov. 11-14 in Baltimore, people expect them to discuss the pastoral priorities facing the church in the United States. Instead, they are dealing with minor liturgical translations, a statement on pornography, and political conflicts over contraception and gay marriage. It is as if they have not heard anything Pope Francis said in the last eight months.

If Pope Francis dropped in on their meeting, what would he say to them? I doubt he would waste much time talking about their agenda. Instead, he would challenge them, as he did the Latin American bishops when he talked to them in Brazil.

In his July 27 address to the Brazilian bishops and his address the next day to the episcopal council of CELAM, Pope Francis set forth his ecclesiology, his pastoral priorities for the church. In his address to the Brazilian bishops, he spoke of the church as a reconciler that restores what was broken and unites what was divided. He also spoke of a church of the heart that presents the beauty of God in a way that attracts and entices. He also called for the church to use simple language and avoid “an intellectualism foreign to our people.” [More]


NCR Online



  1. Ann (WOC) says:

    No worries; US bishops have little credibility and they’re not taken seriously anyway. They are talking to themselves and wasting no one’s time but their own.

  2. Tony says:

    Concerned I totally agree with you.

  3. CriticalThinker says:

    So, what is it specifically that you – anyone- would like the US bishops to do ? (Not generalities or references to what Francis may have said off hand. Not vague references to what you think the ‘Holy Spirit’ is saying ). What do you want ? I have a general idea of where some people may be coming from based on what topics you post on and how strongly you come out on them. But will you dare say exactly what you want ?
    Generalities can be a smoke screen to hide behind.

    • Deacon Bernie says:

      Good question Critical. Of course you know as well as I that you’ll not get an answer here. Can you imagine what the six days of creation would have been like if many of our fellow listers were present to offer their free advice to God?

  4. Recovering Catholic says:

    Sounds like just another routine meeting of the “Old Boys Club.” It’s hard to believe that a group of such supposedly enlightened, learned bishops just don’t get it! I agree with “Concerned;” have they heard anything at all Pope Francis has said since he’s been elected?

  5. Concerned says:

    Unfortunately the USCCB member have become poster children for stagnation and ineffectual leadership. They have absolutely no inclination to be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. They are stuck in their own private world of pomp, self-glorification, and the mundane. They have chosen to talk about revisions to the rites of marriage and confirmation and the spanish translation of the Roman Missal for use in the U.S. They have chosen to ignore Pope Francis’ attempts to bring reconciliation and instead do everything in their power to divide people. I wish Pope Francis would drop in on their meeting – I would love to see the looks on their faces as pope Francis dismissed their agenda and pointed them toward more important work. Some of them might need medical attention. The Bishops have achieved a level of irrelevance that is disgraceful. The only thing that will come out of their high and mighty meeting is that the rest of us can have a deeper appreciation for the Holy Spirit because the Church continues on in spite of this group of irrelevant, pompous fools.


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