A Meeting with the Bishops

Crisis Magazine - e-Letter
August 18, 2003

Dear Friend,

I know I often email you bad news. But this time, I've got some good news to share. Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the USCCB, has agreed to meet with a group of about 40 Catholic leaders on September 8th in Washington, DC. Cardinal McCarrick and other members of the USCCB Executive Committee will also attend.

Let me give you some background: About a month ago, I started contacting a good number of like-minded lay Catholics, and a few religious, to see if there would be any interest in holding a meeting to discuss the future of the Church in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal. I got lots of positive feedback... there's a real desire for faithful Catholics to have our voices heard.

Russell Shaw, a Catholic writer living in DC and a good friend of ours, agreed to co-host the meeting with me, and we got right to work figuring out what the meeting should cover.

First of all, we knew a meeting about the scandal needed to go deeper and explore some of the underlying causes -- topics that many people have been skirting... sexuality, leadership, moral authority, and dissent... all of these are on the agenda.

But most importantly, we decided that the theme for this meeting should how the leadership of John Paul II points the way toward the future. We don't need any creative theologies of structural change to solve the problems that have been exposed by the abuse crisis.

We're making this public announcement of the meeting with the support of the leadership at the Bishop's Conference. In addition, everyone attending the meeting will feel free to share those ideas outside of the meeting so others could benefit from the discussion.

This really is great news -- with the leader of the bishops' conference on board, we now have a forum for key Catholic leaders to share their ideas with those in authority. In other words, the voices of the Catholic faithful will be heard.

I'm personally very grateful to Bishop Gregory and Cardinal McCarrick for agreeing to meet with us.

As the meeting approaches, I'll share with you a list of the attendees. It's a pretty diverse list of names, but they all have one thing in common: a love for the Church and a genuine desire to see change brought about in line with the Magisterium. Being able to share their ideas and concerns with the bishops -- and vice versa -- will go a long way towards healing some of those rifts that have formed since the scandal.

And of course, I'll be sure to give you a full rundown after the meeting. If you have specific ideas or suggestions, please email them to me. I'm rushing around right now, so I may not be able to answer you, but I promise that I will read your letter.

Talk to you in a couple days,



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