DAILY CATHOLIC MONDAY November 22, 1999 vol. 10, no. 221
NEWS & VIEWS
US BISHOPS ADDRESS WELFARE, ARCHITECTURE, NEW OFFICERS
WASHINGTON, DC (CWNews.com) - The National Conference of Catholic Bishops continued their biennial meeting on Thursday, addressing the role of government in social welfare, church architecture, and the election of new officers.
The day after overwhelmingly approving guidelines for US Catholic colleges and universities, the bishops unanimously approved a pastoral letter on charity which included a statement on the government's responsibility in welfare. The document said a lesson of the Great Depression was that only government can "ensure regular income support for aged, disabled or otherwise needy families."
The bishops also noted that "those principles have come under attack during the latter part of the 20th century as a negative attitude developed with regard to the responsibility of government."
The bishops also debated an upcoming document on church architecture, noting in particular the effect of the design and decoration of church buildings on the beliefs of individual Catholics. Bishop Sean O'Malley of Fall River, Massachusetts, commented: "You hear comments: This place does not look like a church," referring to the trend as the "suburbanization of the heavenly Jerusalem." Among the recommendations of many bishops was that the tabernacle must be central and visible to all and that images of the Virgin Mary and saints should be brought into the main body of the church again.
The bishops also streamlined their episcopal conference,
dissolving the National Conference of Catholic Bishops,
which deals with church matters, and the separate US
Catholic Conference, which deals with civil matters, and
forming one body to be called the US Conference of Catholic
Bishops. Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston was elected chairman
of the committee on foreign policy issues and Bishop Donald
Trautman of Erie, Pennsylvania, was elected chairman of the
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NEWS & VIEWS