In just one generation, Latin America has seen the number of people who identify themselves as Catholic plummet, with more people becoming Protestant or dropping religion altogether.
Faith & Parish
The 18 U.S. bishops who conducted a 12-day prayer pilgrimage for peace in the Holy Land in September came away with new perspectives on the ongoing tensions in the Middle East, according to Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M.
He was one of the bishops who visited many of the sacred sites of Judaism, Christianity and Islam during the trip.
Though there were no actions on the U.S. bishops' agenda in Baltimore dealing with immigration, poverty and other public policy issues, the president of their conference said Tuesday he hopes to meet with President Barack Obama and the leaders of the House and Senate soon on several topics.
A proposed 3 percent hike in diocesan assessments for 2016 to fund the U.S. bishops' national operations fell three votes short of approval in electronic balloting Tuesday during the second day of the bishops' annual fall general assembly in Baltimore.
Under the electronic balloting system, votes are kept secret, but the system knows which bishops vote, so the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will send mail ballots to complete the vote.
"The priority ... has to be to proclaim the joy, the mercy and the love of Jesus Christ at all times and in all places and to all people."
The church needs to do a better job of encouraging Latino families and underserved populations to send their children to Catholic schools, the bishops were told Monday during their annual fall assembly in Baltimore.
"If efforts are not made to reach out to them, they won't think it's a viable option," said Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, Texas, chairman of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church.
A Vatican court has "definitively determined and ruled" that no allegations of sexual misconduct of any kind alleged against Msgr. Richard Loomis, a Los Angeles priest, have been proved.
The ruling was announced in a statement issued Saturday by Office of the Vicar for Clergy of the Los Angeles archdiocese.
The ruling came "after 10 years of exhaustive investigation and canonical trial," it said, adding that Loomis "has always professed his innocence."
With up to 15,000 attendees expected for the gathering of families, organizers are planning hotel and other accommodations plus a full slate of top speakers and activities
"We are committed to transparency with the people we serve. We cannot change the past but we hope we can rebuild trust through honest and open dialogue."
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.