U.S. bishops vote on conference priorities, liturgy of the hours and more at General Assembly

Fri, Jun 12th 2015 12:55 pm

ST. LOUIS - The U.S. bishops, gathered for their annual Spring General Assembly, voted on and approved a draft of their priorities for the 2017-2020 strategic plan and the "Program of Priestly Formation, 5th edition." They also voted on English translations of the Old and New Testament Canticles. 

In a 165-14-3 vote, the bishops approved a working draft of the Conference's strategic priorities for their 2017-2020 planning cycle. Input shared by the bishops from the floor will be provided to the various committees as they write the final version. The resulting draft will be presented for approval by the full body of bishops at the November 2015 General Assembly. The priorities are:
• Family and marriage
• Evangelization
• Religious Freedom
• Human Life and Dignity
• Vocations and ongoing formation

The USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations sought the approval of the renewal of the recognitio granted to the "Program of Priestly Formation, Fifth Edition," for an additional five-year period without any changes to the norms. The item was approved in a 179-1-1 vote.

The "Program of Priestly Formation, Fifth Edition," is the set of national norms issued by the USCCB and confirmed by the Vatican that govern the education and formation of seminarians as priests in the United States. These national norms are based upon the universal norms for priestly formation that come from the Holy See. The accreditation of each U.S. Catholic seminary is based upon these national norms.  Approval of this item requires the majority vote of the members present and voting.

Also presented for a vote was the inclusion of the revised Canticles for the Liturgy of the Hours for use in U.S. dioceses. The Committee on Divine Worship submitted this item which was short of approval by 1 vote in a 165-5-3 vote. Bishops able to vote but not present will be canvassed for votes.

The revised English translations of the Old and New Testament Canticles would be used in the revision of the Liturgy of the Hours. This proposed revision has been prepared by Conception Abbey. The new translation renders the texts of the Old and New Testament Canticles in a style similar to the Revised Grail Psalms, with emphasis on sprung rhythms and faithful translation. The Canticles will help establish a unified style and meter among the tests included in the future revision of the Liturgy of the Hours.

Approval of this text requires an affirmative vote by two-thirds of the Latin Church USCCB members, with subsequent Vatican recognitio by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

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