"A lack of passion and leadership marked the meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops this week in Baltimore. was stale and did not reflect the excitement that Pope Francis' papacy has generated.
The pope has caught the imagination of the world with his emphasis on God's love, compassion, and mercy toward us and our ne ed to respond by loving one another, especially the poor. But most of the bishops' meeting was devoted to mind-numbing housekeeping actions and reports.
The action items dealt with minor liturgical translations, which got some of the bishops excited, but no one else. Should it be "children of Adam," as the committee recommended, or "children of men," or "sons of men"? The committee won. And does the bishop really have to preach while seated with a miter on his head and crosier in hand at the dedication of a church as required by the rubrics?
Meanwhile, nothing was said about the , gridlock in Washington, or the wars in which America is engaged. They practically ignored immigration and only gave a few minutes to the topic because the media kept asking why the bishops were silent on the hottest political issue of the day.
There is a significant faction among the bishops and the who do not want these issues emphasized lest they distract from their core agenda -- opposition to gay marriage, abortion, and the contraceptive mandate...
...The final gem at the meeting was the Mass on Monday evening celebrating the 225th anniversary of the founding of the Baltimore archdiocese. The choir was spectacular, even if the music would have been more appropriate in the 1950s. The bishops concelebrating took up almost half of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which has been beautifully restored.
But the high point of the Mass was the first reading from the letter to Titus (1:1-9), which told the assembled bishops to "appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed you, on condition that a man be blameless, married only once, with believing children, who are not accused of licentiousness or rebellious."
Now there is an agenda item for the next meeting.
[Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese is a senior analyst for . Follow him on Twitter: .]and author of . His email address is