(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]