The US bishops are gathered for their annual fall meeting. Held in Baltimore, the meeting brings together members of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to discuss world events and Church issues. This season, it was also time to elect a new head of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
As the US is entering an election year in 2024, the bishops discussed plans to amend their voter guide. The 2024 US presidential election will be the first to take place since Dobbs v Jackson was decided by the Supreme Court, at which time decisions on abortion laws were sent back to individual states. Abortion is expected to be a driving factor at the polls next November.
The bishops held a vote in which they elected Bishop Daniel Thomas of the Catholic Diocese of Toledo, Ohio, as chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities. Bishop Thomas presides over a diocese of Ohio, a state that recently enshrined rights to abortion into the state constitution. He was selected over Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco.
Upon the election of the new committee head, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Archbishop of US Military Services and President of the USCCB, renewed the bishops’ pledge to continue to work towards an end to abortion. He commented:
“Ending innocent human life is simply not acceptable,” the archbishop said. “We’ll continue to do whatever we can to influence those who go to the polls to vote.”
2-State solution in Holy Land
According to CBS News, Archbishop Broglio also discussed the conflict between Israel and Hamas. He began by reiterating the Catholic Church’s stance that Israel and Palestinians both have the right to exist. He said:
“We recognize and defend the right of Israel to exist and to enjoy a place among the nations. At the same time, we know that the Palestinians … have a right to a land that is their own. The Holy See has long advocated for that right.”
The archbishop’s remarks, provided by CNA, acknowledged the atrocities committed by Palestinian invaders on October 7, when more than 1,200 Isralis were killed in an assault that also saw more than 200 hostages taken back to Gaza. However, Archbishop Broglio lamented the loss of innocent civilian life in the counter offensive that has been continuing in the month since the initial invasion.
He went on to suggest that Israel should consider opening the door to negotiation, noting that the presence of hostages does not justify attacking areas in which civilians are known to be sheltering.
“I would certainly always be one who would advocate for negotiation before entering into conflict,” Archbishop Broglio said.
Read more about the 2023 USCCB Fall Conference at the USCCB’s website.