Church observers say they will be watching to see if any of the votes or liturgical decisions reflect a change in tone within the USCCB.
Faith & Parish
In a U.S. visit, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told officials at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops not to lose sight "that the voice of the Catholic church must be heard in the public square."
"Otherwise we risk that our democracies are reduced to a vocabulary of truth, which is exclusively pragmatic and positivist," he said Tuesday at the USCCB headquarters in Washington.
Lawyers for the man, identified only as John Doe, said the archdiocese had provided false information in getting the man to agree to an $80,000 settlement in 2007.
Is a schism within the Catholic church a realistic possibility? And can an independent church be successful in the modern world?
Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael Driscoll of Boise, Idaho, and appointed Bishop Peter Christensen of Superior, Wis., to succeed him.
Driscoll, who has headed the statewide diocese since 1999, is 75, the age at which bishops are required by canon law to turn in their resignation to the pope.
Christensen, 61, has headed the Superior diocese since 2007.
The changes were announced Tuesday in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
The New York archdiocese, with the second-largest Catholic population in the country and an unparalleled place in U.S. church history, is shrinking: Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Sunday announced that nearly a third of the archdiocese's 368 parishes would be merging, and some would close.
Pope Francis has worked to keep in the public discourse the issue of poverty understood in its widest possible sense, said the prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
"Going well beyond a merely economic conception of poverty, Pope Francis has tried to indicate to the world the true poverty of the human condition in our times: the poverty of body and soul, pointing out all the forces at work in the world further impoverishing mankind," said Cardinal Gerhard Müller.
"I hope that this resolution will bring some measure of closure and healing to anyone harmed by these priests," Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati said.
In a major restructuring, the Chicago archdiocese announced Wednesday that 14 elementary schools would be closed or merged at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year.
"This restructuring is the result of our ongoing efforts to strengthen and support sustainable Catholic schools over the long term," said Thomas McGrath, chief operating officer for Catholic schools. "Although difficult in the immediate term, we know taking these steps will increase access for families and students to excellent Catholic school education, now and in the future."
A pastoral approach that doesn't renounce the indissolubility of the sacrament, yet doesn't automatically exclude the faithful is needed, a canon lawyer said.