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COMMENTARY: Baltimore provided a new USCCB executive. But who speaks for bishops is not determined by official office.
By Father Raymond J. de Souza, EWTN News, 11/14/19
“Who speaks for the American bishops?”
That question was put to me by a senior member of the inner circle of Pope Francis when I was in Rome in October. The plenary meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops this week in Baltimore did not clarify that, and in fact, may have made the question more obscure.
The U.S. bishops elected their president and vice president: Archbishops José Gomez of Los Angeles and Allen Vigneron of Detroit. But who speaks for bishops is not determined by official office.
In January 1984, St. John Paul II made clear who he wanted to speak for the Church in the United States when he appointed Bernard Law to Boston and then John O’Connor to New York two weeks later. At the time, the joke was that the Pope wanted a little more “Law and Order” in the United States. He created them cardinals together the following year. (Cardinal Law was the first U.S. cardinal born in Mexico; his father was in the military and posted outside the U.S. If Archbishop Gomez is ever created a cardinal, he would be the second.) ….