The pope is getting impatient

The pope is getting impatient

The fall plenary meeting of the U.S. bishops in Baltimore will also see a change in the presidency. In parting, Cardinal DiNardo recalled challenges for the Church. There were also words of caution from another.

Pope's ambassador to U.S. has urged U.S. bishops to make greater efforts to implement pope's priorities. "The pastoral thrust of this pontificate must reach the American people," Archbishop Christophe Pierre said at the start of the fall meeting of the U.S. bishops' conference Monday (local time) in Baltimore. Observers rate the speech as unusually clear.

"Our communion with the Holy Father can be expressed in concrete actions we can take to make his teaching authority better known among the people," the nuncio explained. Pierre explicitly referred to the 2015 environmental encyclical "Laudato si". Some of the pope's positions would need "greater efforts on our part to reach the hearts of political and civil leaders," the archbishop said.

Pierre also addressed the apostolic letters "Amoris Laetitia" on the family and "Evangelii Gaudium" on evangelization as two other areas that deserved greater commitment. The papal envoy to the U.S. explicitly urged the bishops' conference to welcome migrants and fight racism.

Cardinal Blase Cupich, considered a close ally of the pope in the U.S. church, said Pierre recalled "what the church teaches about the important role of our communion with the Holy Father".

Cardinal DiNardo relinquishes presidency

The outgoing president of the conference, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, focused in his farewell address on "the continuing struggle to defend unborn children". DiNardo also mentioned the abuse crisis, which had challenged him personally strongly.

He said his encounters with the victims had "changed his life forever". Their testimony had given the church "the knowledge we need to make a difference". This includes moving away from the prevailing clericalism; church leaders must be servants, says DiNardo.

In response to questions from the floor, Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley ared that the Vatican would soon present the announced investigative report on Theodore McCarrick, who was removed from the priesthood and cardinalate for sexual abuse. The report could be ready before Christmas, or in the new year at the latest.

On the first day of the fall meeting, the U.S. bishops approved a slight three percent increase in the budget for the coming year, to $22.69 million. They also heard reports from relevant committee chairs on priest shortages, gun violence, pastoral care for young people and women with unplanned pregnancies.

The U.S. bishops' plenary meeting, which runs through Wednesday, also has important personnel decisions to make. Widely expected is the election of DiNardo's previous deputy, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, of Los Angeles, to succeed to head body. Mexican native would be first Latino to lead U.S. bishops.

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