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How to Cover the Catholic Church

Administrative Committee members attend those meetings unless they have

a special interest in or responsibility for a particular item on the agenda. For

example, a bishop heading a subcommittee or task force that has an action

item before the Administrative Committee might attend as a resource or advo-

cate for that item, even though he is not on the Administrative Committee.

The Administrative Committee’s work is mainly internal to the work of

the conference. For example, it oversees the work of the USCCB General

Secretariat, reviews and approves the agenda for each general assembly, makes

recommendations on proposals for that assembly, reviews actions of the

Executive Committee, and manages USCCB corporate affairs and property.

Its main public activity consists of occasionally issuing statements, reflect-

ing policy positions previously adopted by the full body of bishops, on urgent

new public developments or other matters between meetings of the general

assembly. For example, for decades before 2007, the quadrennial USCCB state-

ment to U.S. Catholics on political responsibility (more recently described as

“faithful citizenship”) during the year before presidential elections was issued

by the Administrative Committee. It addressed a variety of public policy issues

then current in the approaching national elections and reflected relevant state-

ments the bishops had made in recent years on those issues, such as abor-

tion, agriculture, capital punishment, crime, defense spending, employment,

environment, family life, foreign aid, health care, housing, immigration, mini-

mum wage, peace, poverty, urban renewal, and war and peace. In 2007 the

bishops promoted their faithful citizenship statement from an Administrative

Committee statement to one issued by the entire body of bishops.

Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, USCCB general secretary, is the chief staff officer for

the Administrative Committee.

Executive Committee

Composed of the four conference officers (president, vice president, trea-

surer and secretary) and one Administrative Committee member elected by

that committee, the Executive Committee can be convened at any time by

the USCCB president to “carry on urgent business of the conference between

meetings of the Administrative Committee or the plenary assembly,” to over-

see staff personnel matters, or to make recommendations to the president or

to committee chairmen about USCCB business. At the public level, it rarely

issues a statement on its own; most of its work is internal and rarely of direct

media interest. Msgr. Jenkins is chief staff officer.