Virtual bishops’ meeting: More efficient, less personal

In a year when most meetings have switched to an online format, the fall assembly of the U.S. bishops was no exception.

The Nov. 16-17 virtual meeting involved about 300 bishops on Zoom and many viewers watching the livestreamed public portions.

The two days of discussions went off without a hitch, save for the occasional bishop either on mute or repeating: “Can you hear me?” while Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, gave the thumbs-up sign from the USCCB studio that was the command center for these sessions.

The archbishop, led the meeting along with Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit, USCCB vice president and Msgr. J. Brian Bransfield, outgoing USCCB general secretary. The three sat at a desk behind plexiglass separators, quite different from the dais on the hotel ballroom stage at typical bishops’ meetings.

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