the vote to watch
The US bishops hold their annual meeting in Baltimore this coming week, with a few interesting items on the agenda. There will be an open discussion about the bishop's role in political debates; that promises to be lively and revealing. There will be a new report from John Jay researchers on the causes of the sex-abuse crisis. (In preparing this report, the researchers asked members of Voice of the Faithful to answer an opinion survey. Did they ask for your opinion, too? No, I didn't think so. Do you see where this is going?) And then there are the elections.
Cardinal George will become president of the USCCB. That's a foregone conclusion; the vice-president is always tapped to succeed a president ending his 3-year term. More interesting is the choice of a new vice-president, who will step into the limelight in 2010. Still more interesting will be the vote for chairman of the relatively obscure Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance.
The candidates are Archbishop Raymond L. Burke of St. Louis and a Chicago auxiliary, Bishop Thomas Paprocki.
Yes, you have seen those two names before-- in this column, in fact. In the last few weeks, each prelate has taken a strong public stance Archbishop Burke took controversial disciplinary action, and then explained that he was morally obligated to do so-- implicitly suggesting that other bishops are obligated to take the same sort of action. Bishop Paprocki argued that legal attacks on the American hierarchy are unjust and perhaps diabolical. If everyone listened to Burke, life would be more difficult for a typical American bishop. If everyone listened to Paprocki, life would be much easier. It's a very interesting contrast, making for a very interesting vote.
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