In what some wits might be tempted to call a minor miracle, this morning’s session of the U.S. bishops’ meeting in San Antonio produced a small blow for transparency, engineered by an unlikely pair of prelates.
Today's agenda called for the bishops to vote on several proposed new translations of liturgical texts, and under the rules of the conference a two-thirds vote of all bishops of the Latin Rite is required for approval. After brief floor debate, the vote on the first text ended up falling short, and so Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, president of the USCCB, announced that the measure would have to be settled by main-ballots from bishops not present in San Antonio. In keeping with the conference’s long-standing practice, George did not announce the results of the inconclusive vote.
At that stage, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska, widely seen as one of the most conservative voices in the conference, rose to complain. He argued it’s “silly” that the results of an inconclusive vote are known by the USCCB staff, since they have to compile the results, but not shared with the bishops themselves.