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How do the bishops choose which issues related to Catholic social teaching to address officially?

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Nationally – The Bishops of the United States develop a strategic plan on a regular basis (typically every four years), facilitated by the USCCB’s Office of Strategic Planning. This plan attempts to review the “signs of the times” in light of the Church’s mandate from Christ to proclaim the Good News of salvation. The plan for 2013-2016 is themed “Faith | Worship | Witness” and is defined as follows:

  • Faith: Inviting Catholics to a deeper relationship with Christ, and a deeper understanding of and relationship with his Church, and knowledge of the faith.
  • Worship: Inspiring confidence in the Gospel and the teachings of the faith expressed in a vibrant community and sacramental life, most intensively in the Eucharist and Penance, but also through Marriage and greater appreciation of the family as the domestic church.
  • Witness:  Strengthening of our understanding of the Christian vocation lived through a public witness to Jesus Christ and to the life and dignity of the human person where believers, living out their vocation to be witnesses, affirm the freedom of religion and work to transform society through living and sharing their faith in Jesus Christ and giving recognition to the life and dignity of the human person

See also - 2013-2016 USCCB Strategic Plan: The New Evangelization Journey with Christ: Faith | Worship | Witness

California – The California Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in California. The Conference advocates with policy makers and the public to advance the Catholic vision of human life and dignity, the good society, and concern for those who are poor and vulnerable. It also educates Catholics and the general public and empowers Catholics to put their faith into action consistent with Catholic teaching.

All Bishops in California are members of the Conference. They meet regularly to discuss priorities and provide direction to a small staff in Sacramento. The Conference has several standing committees, including ones devoted to Education, Public Policy, Restorative Justice and Institutional Concerns. Ad hoc committees are organized as needed. Finally, the Conference maintains an on-going partnership with the Alliance of Catholic Health Care, Catholic Charities of California and various ministries in California dioceses.

The Conference’s website – - has extensive resources on all facets of civic life, including extensive coverage of policy debates in the State. The discussions are grouped in the following areas:

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