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Episcopal conference must not obscure individual bishop's authority: Bishop Vasa

Catholic World News - September 20, 2010

At the InsideCaholic Partnership Award dinner last week, Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, Oregon, spoke about the US bishops’ conference, and particularly “the tendency of the conference to take on a life of its own and to begin to replace or displace the proper role of individual bishops, even in their own dioceses.”

The growing influence of the conference may inhibit some bishops from fulfilling their own proper role as teachers in their own dioceses, Bishop Vasa warned. He praised the American bishops who have exercised their own teaching authority boldly, citing as examples Archbishop Burke and Bishops Bruskewitz, Martino, Olmsted, and Tobin. “What is notable about each of these courageous men,” Bishop Vasa said, “is that they are acting not as members of a congress of bishops, but as individual bishops in their own dioceses.”

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  • Posted by: Bernadette - Sep. 20, 2010 10:39 PM ET USA

    Hooray for Bishop Vasa! I have had the same thoughts over the past few years and have felt that the USCCB is not really fulfilling what was meant at Vat.II by "collegiality." As he said, it is becoming more and morphing into something of a political entity of its own. To me, collegiality means more like fellowship. A fellowship of bishops coming together to support, pray, worship and assist one another. Now that would be something, wouldn't it? An annual spiritual retreat!

  • Posted by: Jim.K - Sep. 20, 2010 8:44 PM ET USA

    Amen! Bishop Olmsted of AZ is my Bishop and he is a strong Catholic leader in the highest category. He is outwardly Pro-Life and orthodox in every sense. Praise God that we still have good bishops such as all of those mentioned above.

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Sep. 20, 2010 7:08 PM ET USA

    I spend my summers in Bend, OR which is in the Diocese of Baker. Bishop Vasa is a wonderful bishop, and I love going to Mass at St. Francis of Assisi. If only we had hundreds of bishops like Bishop Vasa and the bishops he mentioned!

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