Revised Pro-life Plan on U.S. Bishops´ Agenda

Also: Africa, Asia Immigrants, and Liturgiam Authenticam

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WASHINGTON, D.C., NOV. 8, 2001 ( A revised pastoral plan for pro-life activities that puts more on attention on prayer is among the items on the agenda of the U.S. bishops at their fall meeting

At their semiannual meeting, the bishops will elect a new president and vice president to three-year terms which begin immediately after the meeting. A treasurer-elect and 22 committee chairmen and chairmen-elect will also be chosen.

The bishops will also deal with matters pertaining to the Liturgy of the Church and the approval of complementary norms for certain canons in the Code of Canon Law.

About 285 bishops are expected to attend the fall meeting, the first since the creation of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. USCCB, established in July, is the successor to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference. The meeting will be held Nov. 12-15 at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill.

Among the items on the agenda:

–A pastoral statement «Asian Pacific Presence: Harmony in Faith» is the work of the Committee on Migration. It underlines the challenges that growing Asian and Pacific communities face in integrating into the Church in the United States.

–A statement «A Call to Solidarity with Africa» will be presented by the Committee on International Policy. It responds to the desire of a number of U.S. bishops, the Holy Father, the Synod on Africa, and the Church in Africa that greater attention be given to the peoples and nations of Africa.

Topics addressed in the statement include poverty, disease, the burden of debt, conflict and insecurity on the continent, and refugees and displaced persons.

–The «Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities: A Campaign in Support of Life» is the work of the Committee for Pro-Life Activities. It is meant to serve as a pattern for the Church at every level to promote increased respect for human life. The first plan was issued in 1975 and revised in 1985.

This second revision takes account of two documents issued in the interim: John Paul II´s 1995 encyclical «The Gospel of Life» and the U.S. bishops´ 1998 statement «Living the Gospel of Life.»

The revised pastoral plan reaffirms the three core areas of the previous plans: an educational campaign, a public policy effort, and pastoral services. In addition, the role of prayer, undergirding all activities in support of life, is highlighted as a separate, fourth category.

–The Committee on the Liturgy will ask the bishops to remand the translation of the «Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani» (General Instruction of the Roman Missal) to the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) for further revision in light of «Liturgiam Authenticam,» a 2001 instruction from the Holy See concerning liturgical translations.

–The Committee on the Liturgy will also ask the bishops to designate Jan. 1, 2002, as a National Day of Prayer for Peace in the light of the war on terrorism.

–The bishops will hold a discussion of the implementation of «Liturgiam Authenticam.» There will be presentations by Cardinal Avery Dulles, Cardinal Francis George, Bishop Tod D. Brown and Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli.

–The Committee on Canonical Affairs will ask the body of bishops to approve complementary norms for canons 766 (lay preaching) and 772 and 831 (Catholic teaching on radio and television) in the revised Code of Canon Law. The norms were approved by the bishops in 1999 and 2000 and subsequently modified to accommodate observations made by the Congregation for Bishops.

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