November 15, 2005

Priests, death penalty, lay ministers on agenda on bishops' first day

Catholic News Service

By Nancy Frazier O'Brien
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The U.S. Catholic bishops opened their annual fall meeting Nov. 14 with encouragement for the nation's priests and preliminary discussion of topics ranging from the death penalty to children's Masses, from lay ecclesial ministers to budget matters.

In his presidential address, Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane, Wash., called priests "the treasures who safeguard the church as a eucharistic community" and said they deserve the gratitude, support, esteem and collaborative respect of the bishops.

Attention stemming from publicity about sexual abuse cases and how the church has handled them was not about the "wonder, commitment, dedication and perseverance" of priests, but about "the darkness and sin which overwhelmed some," he said. "It has been a personally painful time for the vast majority of priests who did nothing to deserve that pain."

Posted by kshaw at November 15, 2005 09:14 AM