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The Walk Humbly Podcast – Episode 21

U.S. Bishops Meet to Discuss Sexual Abuse Crisis, Bishop Burbidge Appointed USCCB Communications Chair and more

November 16, 2018


This week's episode of the Walk Humbly Podcast focuses on the Meeting of U.S. Bishops this past week:

The U.S. Bishops gathered for their annual Fall General Assembly and focused their attention almost exclusively on the sexual abuse crisis and stronger accountability for bishops. Bishop Burbidge discusses his reaction to a surprising Monday announcement from the Holy See, what the Bishops discussed, and why he is hopeful that needed reforms are forthcoming.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approved the publication of a document on racism, titled “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love, a Pastoral Letter Against Racism.” Bishop Burbidge discusses this document and what it communicates.   

Bishop Burbidge also answers these questions from the faithful:

How does the Bishop manage the sexual abuse crisis of the Church on a daily basis?

What are some of Bishop Burbidge’s responsibilities as the new Communications Chair for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops?

Bishop Burbidge also answers questions from the faithful. If you are interested in submitting a question, please email info@arlingtondiocese.org and include your first name and parish.

Topics discussed:

  • 2:16 – Bishop Burbidge describes the surprise the bishops felt in hearing Cardinal DiNardo’s announcement that the vote on action items related to the sex abuse crisis had been delayed by the Vatican, as well as his reaction to that news.
    • 3:17 – “Right, I mean it caught all of us completely by surprise. We turned to each other and it was like what did he just say? Because none of us heard or anticipated that announcement. In fact, Cardinal DiNardo said that he did not receive it from the Congregation for Bishops until Sunday evening. So, we were very disappointed because, as I told the faithful going into the meeting, we knew very, very clearly that we had to come out of this meeting with concrete steps and actions. So, we were very disappointed and surprised.”
    • 3:54 – “Fortunately, maybe it's divine providence, we went from that announcement to begin our day of prayer, and I really think that probably was a good thing, because I think it did help us to regroup a little bit, put things in perspective, gain wisdom of what we needed to move forward.”
  • 5:49 – Bishop affirms that, despite the vote, the bishops’ stance is firm that action must be taken.
    • 6:28 – “I've watched a lot of interviews of bishops coming out of the assembly, and speaking with you, it was clear that while a vote didn't happen, the resolve of the bishops is the same as if they had voted on it. So, there wasn't this clear vote, but there is this strong resolve that this is the direction that we need to go, and I think it's probably very helpful for cardinal DiNardo going to this meeting of the heads of episcopal conferences from throughout the world to meet with the Holy Father, that he has that full support. There isn't a split vote, or a split mind of the bishops; it's clear what the mandate is for him going into that.”
  • 11:02 – Bishop reflects on the bishops challenging each other to fraternal accountability.
    • 12:52 – “Even though the action items were not voted upon, the standard of conduct for bishops is a daily promise he owes anyway in faithfulness to his ordination promises.”
  • 19:06 – In response to questions from the faithful, Bishop speaks about his commitment regarding allegations against bishops and clergy.
  • 20:40 – Bishop speaks about the USCCB’s publication approval of “Open Wide Our Hearts, the Enduring Call to Love,” a pastoral letter against racism.
  • 22:57 – Bishop answers: “How does the bishop manage the sexual abuse crisis in the Church on a daily basis?”
  • 23:41 – Bishop answers: “What are some of Bishop Burbidge's responsibilities as a communications chair for the USCCB?”
  • 25:25 – Bishop expresses he is happy to see that so many parishioners begin Thanksgiving Day with Mass, and he wishes all listeners a blessed Thanksgiving.