The role of the bishops' conference
As the American hierarchy gathers in Chicago, for another meeting of the US bishops' conference, here a few non-original thoughts:
We must not forget that the episcopal conferences have no theological basis, they do not belong to the structure of the Church, as willed by Christ, that cannot be eliminated; they have only a practical, concrete function.
No episcopal conference, as such, has a teaching mission; its documents have no weight of their own save that of the consent given to them by the individual bishops.
It happens that with some bishops there is a certain lack of a sense of individual responsibility, and the delegation of his inalienable powers as shepherd and teacher to the structures of the local conference leads to letting what should remain very personal lapse into anonymity.
I know bishops who privately confess that they would have decided differently than they did at a conference if they had had to decide by themselves.Who is this critic, who dares to speak ill of the bishops' conference?
His name is Benedict.
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