US bishops extend mandate of committees on religious liberty, immigration reform

US bishops extend mandate of committees on religious liberty, immigration reform

[“Political log-rolling” at the USCCCP: To overcome some bishops’ objections to make the ad-hoc committee on religious liberty permanent (“It gives the impression that religious liberty has a higher priority than immigration” and “What about its source of funding?”), the others had to balance it off by agreeing to extend the life of working group on immigration]

Catholic World News – June 15, 2017

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has chosen to extend the life of two committees: an ad hoc committee on religious liberty and a working group on immigration.

The was formed in 2011 for a 3-year period and then extended for another 3-year term. The motion to make the committee permanent, recommended by its chairman, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, passed by a 132- 53 vote after a lively debate. Archbishop Lori had argued that “religious liberty remains under challenge,” and predicted that the Church will face tougher challenges in coming years.

Bishop Christopher Coyne of Burlington, Vermont, objected to the proposal, saying that the “optics” of an extension were not good, because it might give the impression that religious liberty was a higher priority for the USCCB than immigration. Cardinal Joseph Tobin agreed. Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago and Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego questioned the source of funding for the committee’s work. But the motion passed despite the reservations of the liberal prelates.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston, the president of the USCCB, resolved concerns about the bishops’ stance on immigration by announcing that he would extend the mandate of the working group on immigration. That group, chaired by Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, is leading the bishops’ fight for immigration reform.

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