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Highlights of 2008 USCCB fall general assembly
By
Chaz Muth
Source: Catholic News Service
Published: Thursday, November 13, 2008
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BALTIMORE (CNS)—At the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Nov. 10-12 fall general assembly in Baltimore, the bishops:
 
- Heard their president, Chicago Cardinal Francis E. George, acknowledge the historic significance of the election of President-elect Barack Obama and pray that the incoming president will be able to succeed in his task for the good of all.
 
- Warned the new administration and new Congress that lifting existing federal abortion restrictions would permanently alienate tens of millions of Americans and could be seen as an attack on religious freedom.
 
- Said the Church will continue in a time of economic crisis to reach out to those in need, stand with those who are hurt, and work for more just and compassionate policies.
 
- Approved another lengthy section of the English translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal, which must now be confirmed by the Vatican.
 
- Chose the Revised Grail Psalter produced by the monks of Conception Abbey in Missouri over the Revised New American Bible translation of the Book of Psalms for liturgical use in the United States.
 
- Overwhelmingly approved a liturgical service in English and Spanish for blessing children in the womb.
 
- Elected Bishop George V. Murry of Youngstown, Ohio, as USCCB secretary-elect and chose chairmen-elect for five USCCB committees.
 
- Approved a $144 million budget and a lengthy list of plans and programs for the USCCB in 2009.
 
- Set a host of goals for five task forces on issues ranging from strengthening marriage to addressing cultural diversity in the church as priority initiatives through 2011.
 
- Heard a report from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development that it cut off funding earlier this year to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, known as ACORN, for reasons unrelated to the organization's current troubles over voter registration and partisan politics.
 
- Voted in favor of a revised process for submitting "varia"--new issues that an individual bishop or group of bishops would like to see considered by the full body.
 
- Explored how domestic and international charitable organizations have found encouragement and helpful guidance in Pope Benedict XVI's first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love).

- Learned The Catholic University of America in Washington has had a record-breaking year for freshman enrollment and for national fundraising, but lost millions in investments in the 2008 economic meltdown.


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