Thursday, November 18, 2010

Compare and contrast Bishop's Conferences

I agree with Mark Greaves who in the Catholic Herald compares and contrasts the Bishops Conferences of the USA and England and Wales. In the US there is openness; agendas, speeches, voting are public, here everything is behind closed doors, except for the close of session press conference. A committment to openness by the US Bishops helped to repair the loss of trust following their abuse crisis.

It is not just the Cathosphere that is critical of the Bishop Conference, the Catholic press is too, even when it existed the National Conference of Priests. Today we are rightly suspicious of closed shops and groups who meet in secret, men exercising power without scrutiny. People expect transparency, openness and honesty, especially from the clergy, with the net the technology is possible.

12 comments:

Physiocrat said...

The difference is a matter of national characteristics,surely?

TH2 said...

The recent Canadian bishops conference was also "behind closed doors". Perhaps it is a Commonwealth thing, but I think the secretiveness involves much more than that.

EFpastor emeritus said...

Yes, indeed. Well said, Father Ray,

Xavier Finchman said...

You don't seem to be in favour of greater transparency by Rome in regard to the new missal tanslation controversy though Father?

pelerin said...

By coincidence I happened to watch on the internet yesterday the opening address of the French Bishops Conference earlier this month. I wondered at the time whether we in England had similar access!

The website of the French Bishops Conference is overflowing with information! The section 'Textes et declarations' goes back to 1987. It would be impossible to read them all.. This year's conference was summed up by Cardinal 23 on KTO - I have not seen it but it is probably there somewhere on video.

It looks as if the clergy in France can follow all that goes on at the two Bishops' conferences each year. Are our clergy kept informed of the British Bishops' conference or is it only the laity who do not know what is discussed?

There are numerous relevant links including one to a Bioethical Blog which is edited by a working party of bishops on bioethics. This was one of the subjects discussed this month.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Clergy are equally ignorant.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Xavier,
For forty years some of us have been complaing about the old translations, they are transparently ghastly.

I want something done about them, I am in favour of transparency but not endles talk designed to bog down their reform.

Xavier Finchman said...

We're all in favour of an improved english translation for the missal. It was always the case that the 1973 translation which was done rather quickly would need revisiting. ICEL worked for nearly ten years on formulating a dignified translation. It was ready in 1998 and the only thing that has delayed the implementation was Rome's actions. Now we have an anonymous person or persons in Rome making over 10,000 last minute changes to the approved Vox Clara text. Yet who made the changes, or instructed them to be made, is a secret which not even the relevant Bishops Conferences are allowed to know. We now have the incredulous situation whereby the 1998 ICEL texts are more faithful to LA than the the 2010 recieved text, and the possibility that the text which has will be implemented is not the one given approval by the CDW or the Holy Father.

Mike said...

Does anyone know which of these two Conferences is more like that of the Scottish Bishops? At a guess, that of the England and Wales?

Father, you may wish to change Bishop’s to Bishops’ as each Conference consists of more than one Bishop.

On the side of the angels said...

More than One Bishop ?
...news to me Mike!

Catholic pragmatist said...

The Bishops Conferences were mandated by Vatican II and necessary to dampen down overly political and/or loose canons (like Bishop Burke - Rome must think so too or he wouldn't have been reassigned as he was).

Richard said...

Trouble is, it's about culture rather than procedure.

Even if the England & Wales Bishops' Conference went 'public', it would just mean that the real discussions and decisions would be made elsewhere, even more behind closed doors.

This is well-known behaviour in organisations.