November 16, 2005

Catholic Bishops Approve Proposals on Lay Workers

The New York Times

Published: November 16, 2005
WASHINGTON, Nov. 15 - The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approved a set of recommendations for lay workers in the church on Tuesday but did not publicly address a number of contentious issues at its meeting here this week.

Many church experts said they expected issues of personal morality and sexuality, of urgent concern, to be discussed by the bishops at closed-door sessions over the next two days.

Among the questions facing the church are these: Should Roman Catholic politicians who support abortion rights be given Communion? How will the Vatican rule on gay men in the priesthood? And how are the large financial settlements being paid to victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests affecting dioceses?

The conference, which meets twice yearly, does not reveal its agenda for private sessions. But the public session underscored some problems in the Catholic Church, including the chronic shortage of priests. On Tuesday, as the public session ended, the bishops approved a set of recommendations to guide dioceses in dealing with the rise of lay workers in the church. The lay people do much of what priests did a generation ago, like running youth ministries and organizing prayer services.

Posted by kshaw at November 16, 2005 07:51 AM