Our Organizational Structure
Catholic Dioceses in Nebraska
The Nebraska Catholic Conference is a federation. A written constitution is its organizational document. The members of the federation are the Archdiocese of Omaha, the Diocese of Lincoln, and the Diocese of Grand Island. Each diocese is under the authority of a Diocesan Bishop. The Bishops serve as the officers of the Conference.
In addition to its officers, the Conference is composed of one representative from each of the three dioceses in each of the following categories: Education, Social Services, Health, Public Affairs and Pastoral Ministry. Also, each diocese may have two representatives of the laity. All positions are appointed by the respective Diocesan Bishop. The appointees include priests, women religious and laity.
Policies and positions of the Nebraska Catholic Conference are determined, after study and discussion, by a majority vote of the members. However, no policy or position is adopted unless it has an affirmative vote from each Diocesan Bishop. Thus, the Conference, as a state-level agency, acts from a position of unity and coordination. When the Nebraska Catholic Conference does not hold or act upon a position on a certain issue, each Diocesan Bishop is free to speak out publicly or act upon that issue as he sees fit, either on his own behalf or on behalf of his diocese.
Our Activities and Responsibilities
I. The Nebraska Catholic Conference serves as an accessible channel of information between government and the institutional Church, interacting with all three branches:
- Legislative: NCC monitors the actions of the Nebraska Legislature, commenting, when appropriate, on bills and amendments and advocating positions on various proposals. The Conference is registered as a principal with the Clerk of the Legislature and is represented in that capacity by staff members who are registered lobbyists. The Conference is an information resource for legislative committees, individual legislators, and legislative staff.
- Executive: NCC monitors the administrative activities of the Governor’s office and state agencies, giving special attention to rules, regulations and administrative decisions that impact upon the Conference’s areas of interest and concern.
- Judicial: NCC monitors court rulings and other legal advisories (e.g. Attorney General’s opinions). The Conference may on occasion facilitate intervention in court cases or act as a friend-of-the-court by filing legal briefs on behalf of the positions and constituencies it represents.
II. The Nebraska Catholic Conference informs and advises the dioceses, parishes, other Church organizations and interested individuals concerning the public-policy processes, activities of the political community and the moral and social dimensions and implications of public issues.
III. The Nebraska Catholic Conference promotes public understanding of the Church’s teachings and concerns about morality, justice, health, welfare, education, and human rights.
IV. The Nebraska Catholic Conference is active on public-policy issues at the federal level. NCC often communicates with members of the Nebraska delegation in the U.S. Congress, either on behalf of its own particular interest or as a “grassroots” representative of its national counterpart, the United States Catholic Conference.
V. The Nebraska Catholic Conference also operates the state office of the Bishops’ Pastoral Plan for Pro Life Activities.