Background Image
Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  36 / 79 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 36 / 79 Next Page
Page Background



How to Cover the Catholic Church

circumstances might pressure bishops, without opportunity for due deliberation,

into a conference statement that would have to stand the test of time for years or

decades. The presidential statement alternative allows the bishops to address such

issues and express a consensus but have their collective views articulated only by

the authority of the conference president and not the entire body.

The USCCB Office of Media Relations will typically make the texts of a

general assembly’s proposed action items available to the media upon request

within a few days after the bishops have had a chance to review the materials

via the Internet, e-mail or postal mail. For example, if the fall meeting is Nov.

12-15, the materials will have been sent to the bishops by Oct. 12 and will

typically be made available to media on request by Oct. 16 or so—allowing

time first for those bishops who still receive hard copies of the documentation,

instead of electronic versions, to receive the materials and review them.

The Office of Media Relations requires all journalists seeking to cover a

bishops’ meeting to apply in advance for credentials. The application form,

which must be signed by a journalist’s editor or other executive officer, is typi-

cally available online a month or so before the start of any meeting open to

media coverage.

For those who have not requested advance copies of agenda documenta-

tion, at the start of each general assembly that documentation is available in

the media center, along with media packets including the meeting agenda,

press releases and other background materials. Reporters can pick up the doc-

umentation and all related materials when they register at the meeting site.

Depending on the nature and extent of a meeting’s documentation, the Office

of Media Relations may also make it available on CD.

Because of space limitations in the meeting room, journalists working for

outlets that only occasionally cover the bishops’ meeting or for outlets of lim-

ited or infrequent circulation may be allowed access to the meeting room itself

for only one or two sessions. The on-site media center, however, provides a

live television feed of the entire proceedings, and all accredited journalists

have access there throughout the meeting.

The bishops begin each morning and afternoon session with about 20

minutes of prayer based on the Liturgy of the Hours, the church’s official daily

prayer cycle that all Catholic bishops, priests and deacons are expected to

observe to sanctify the entire day with devotion to God. Morning sessions end

with the


, the traditional noontime prayer of the church.

Usually there is a news conference after every major public session of

a fall or spring meeting of the USCCB. All accredited journalists, photogra-

phers and TV camera crews have full access to such news conferences. The

panelists at a news conference are typically the current chairman of the bish-