By Dennis Sadowski
Catholic News Service

Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron listens to a speaker Nov. 14 during the fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

BALTIMORE (CNS) — Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit will be the next secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, taking office next November.

Bishops voted 96-88 to elect Archbishop Vigneron Nov. 14 during their fall general assembly.

Votes also were cast for a new chairman of the bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty and chairmen-elect for the committees on Communications, Cultural Diversity in the Church, Doctrine, National Collections and Pro-Life Activities.

Archbishop Vigneron will succeed New Orleans Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond, who is starting his third and final year of his three-year term. The Detroit prelate will serve one year as secretary-elect and then start a three-year term in office at the conclusion of the 2018 fall general assembly.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, was elected as chairman of the Committee on Religious Liberty. He was to assume his duties at the conclusion of the assembly.

At their spring meeting in June, the bishops voted to make what was an ad hoc religious liberty body a permanent standing committee. Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori served as chairman of the committee since its creation in 2011.

Bishops also voted for chairmen-elect of five committees. Those elected will serve for one year before beginning three-year terms at the conclusion of the bishops’ 2018 fall general assembly.

Those elected include:

  • Committee on Pro-Life Activities: Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas.
  • Committee on Communications: Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington.
  • Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church: Bishop Nelson J. Perez of Cleveland.
  • Committee on Doctrine: Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana.
  • Committee on National Collections: Bishop Joseph R. Cistone of Saginaw, Michigan.

Bishops also chose six members from among eight nominees for the Catholic Relief Services board of directors. Re-elected were Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, Bishop Edward J. Burns of Dallas, Bishop Felipe J. Estevez of St. Augustine, Florida, and Bishop Rhoades. New members are Archbishop Bernard J. Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis and Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana.

Not elected were Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, California, and Bishop Oscar A. Solis of Salt Lake City.