Catholic Social Science Review

Volume 18, 2013

Bishop William Francis Murphy
Pages 45-61

The Social Initiatives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

From its beginning, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has been concerned with promoting Catholic social teaching (CST) in the American context. A review of the recent history and trajectory of the conference’s statements suggests that the bishops are likely moving away from an approach that stresses the bishops’ role as collectors and promoters of expert opinion on specific economic policy, and toward a more restrained role as teachers of the principles of CST—a move that is based theologically in the teachings of Vatican II on the respective roles of clergy and laity. [The following is a revised version of an address delivered to the Society of Catholic Social Scientists Annual Conference, New York, October 27, 2012. Updates have been added within the endnotes.]