Friday, June 17, 2005

Chicago Update

As predicted, the USCCB passed the renewed norms by a wide margin (229-3) this afternoon.

But, as expected:

The modifications drawing the loudest protests concern the National Review Board, a lay watchdog panel the bishops created that reformers consider critical to monitoring the church.

Some former board members angered Catholic leaders by openly challenging bishops. Now, the revised policy emphasizes that the panel remains under the bishops' authority and could someday include clergy.

Church leaders say the language is meant only to clarify the relationship between the board and bishops. But Illinois Justice Anne Burke, a former chairwoman of the board, contended the prelates were trying to undermine the panel.

"What they're really saying here is they don't like the way the board functioned, and they didn't like the independence of people on the board," she said.

In other news from the floor, the bishops elected Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson as the new chair of their Committee on Doctrine and Pastoral Practices by a "convincing margin." Serratelli fills the vacancy left by Levada's transfer to that Big Doctrinal Office across the pond.

Cons will be happy to know that Serratelli is a McCarrick protege. (I can see the seething faces.) But the venom will be tempered by knowing that he was up against Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, a former LA auxiliary.

Of course, as both cardinal-mentors are the daily targets of conhate, some will see no winners here. But those who know Serratelli's cred and qualities are very happy. And Montalvo is just thrilled.

I'm not touching the "Memorial Acclamation" debate except to say that Egan's intervention was eminently well-received and the biggest surprise of the meeting.



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