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.
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.