U.S. Bishops to take up documents on Communion, contraception, homosexuals in November meeting
By Jerry Filteau, Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 2006 (www.catholicnews.com) -- When the U.S. bishops meet in November, they will debate and vote on statements about Catholic teaching on marriage and family planning, who is worthy to receive Communion and the pastoral care of those who are homosexually oriented.
They also will decide on a directory on liturgical music.
Also on the agenda are the texts of liturgical readings for Advent, proposals for restructuring and downsizing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and a funding proposal for research on the causes and context of clergy sexual abuse of minors.
For the first time since 1989, the USCCB will hold its fall general assembly outside Washington. The bishops will meet Nov. 13-16 at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel overlooking that city's Inner Harbor.
They will gather in Baltimore Nov. 12 to celebrate Sunday evening Mass together at the newly restored Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The concelebrated Mass will cap a week of events marking the reopening of the shrine following its two-year restoration and celebrating the 200th anniversary of the church's 1806 dedication as the first Catholic cathedral in the United States.
The proposed statement "Married Love and the Gift of Life" marks the first time since "Human Life in Our Day" in 1968 that the U.S. bishops have prepared a statement devoted specifically to the church's teaching that every conjugal act must be open to new human life. Several statements the bishops have issued in intervening years have reaffirmed that teaching, but none of those were devoted primarily to that question.
The 11-page statement, proposed by the Committee for Pro-Life Activities, affirms the joy and importance of married love and the blessing of children, and it supports the notion of responsible family planning when it is done by natural means.
"Some argue that if a husband and wife remain open to children throughout their marriage, they need not worry about using contraception occasionally," the statement says. "But practicing what is good most of the time does not justify doing what is wrong some of the time."