Photo: Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston addresses a news conference Nov. 12. Cardinal DiNardo was elected vice president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  At left is the newly elected president  Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky. (CNS photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)


 BALTIMORE—Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, was elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) during the bishops’ annual fall General Assembly, November 12, in Baltimore. Archbishop Kurtz has served as vice president of USCCB since 2010. Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston was elected USCCB vice president.


Archbishop Kurtz and Cardinal DiNardo are elected to three-year terms and succeed Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York and Archbishop Kurtz, respectively. The new president and vice president’s terms begin at the conclusion of the General Assembly, November 14.


Bishops Approve Use of Mexican Translation of Roman Missal,  Order of Celebrating Marriage, Options for Marriage Ceremony


During the General Assembly the bishops also approved five liturgical items presented by the Committee on Divine Worship.  The approved items include the use of the Mexican missal to draft the U.S. Spanish-language missal with appropriate adaptations, adding adaptations to the marriage ceremony and on proposed English-language translations of the Order of Celebrating Marriage and the Order of Confirmation.


With 193 votes in favor, 11 opposed and 4 abstained, the U.S. Bishops approved the use of the Spanish-language translation of the Misal Romano from Mexico as the base text for the U.S. version of the Spanish-language Missal, which will include additional texts and adaptations.


Those approved adaptations include replacing the Mexican calendar with the liturgical calendar for the United States; translation of the U.S. Norms for Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds; adding translations of liturgical texts and prayers for U.S. saints, including Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos; adding 20 Latin American patronal feasts for use by immigrant groups from those respective countries; and adding the U.S. adaptations for the General Instructions of the Roman Missal. 


The bishops also approved the Order of Celebrating Marriage by 212 votes in favor, 5 votes against and 1 abstaining. The final translation from the International Committee on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), includes some prayers and rites not previously included in the first edition, for example, an additional text that may be used after the exchange of vows, and a rite for the renewal of marital commitment on anniversaries. Upon approval, the book will be sent to Rome for recognitio and later published as the English-language ritual for marriage.


Also approved by a 218-5-2 vote, were four adaptations to the Order of Celebrating Marriage. Those include the option of an alternative forms of vows (already an option in the current Rite), the option of moving the Nuptial Blessing to follow the Prayer of the Faithful during Mass, the option to include a Litany of the Saints (including the invocation of many married saints) at the beginning of the Marriage Rite, and translating into English the Hispanic cultural adaptations of the Exchange of Coins and the Blessing and Placing of the Lazo or Veil over the couple during the nuptial blessing.


 Bishops Call for Pastoral Statement on Pornography


The bishops also  approved the drafting of a formal statement on pornography to be issued from the entire body of bishops. Following a presentation by Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, New York, chair-elect of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, the bishops, who are gathered in Baltimore for their annual fall General Assembly, voted 226-5 to approve the drafting of the statement.


 “As pastors, we’re aware that many people are consuming or are exploited by pornography, and many also are struggling with pornography addiction,” Bishop Malone said in his report. “The number of men, women, and children who have been harmed by pornography use is not negligible, and we have an opportunity to offer healing and hope to those who have been wounded.”


The statement will be pastoral in nature and will emphasize the effects of pornography on marriages and families, while attending to all those harmed by pornography use and addiction. The Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth will lead the drafting process, and the statement will come before the body of bishops for approval. The tentative timeline is to have a finalized statement by the end of 2015.