When Pope John Paul II meets today with his American bishops, the following will be among the most prominent:

CARDINAL JOSEPH BERNARDIN--Named in 1982 as archbishop of Chicago, Bernardin, 59, chaired the committee that wrote the 1983 U.S. bishops' pastoral letter condemning the arms race as immoral. Personable and popular, Bernardin was elected president of the U.S. bishops' conference for 1974-76 during the early part of his 10-year tenure as archbishop of Cincinnati. As chairman of the bishops' "pro-life" committee, Bernardin has claimed that the church's opposition to war, capital punishment and abortion are woven together in a "seamless garment," an even-handed position that has upset some hard-line activists who want more focus on prohibiting abortions.

CARDINAL JOHN J. O'CONNOR--A one-time chief of Navy chaplains who retired with the rank of rear admiral in 1979, O'Connor has had a combative and colorful reign since he was installed as the archbishop of New York in early 1984. He stirred political debate when he criticized the public stances on abortion of Democratic vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro and Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo of New York, both of whom are Catholic. O'Connor, 67, made a cardinal in 1985, fought New York City Mayor Edward Koch--and won--over a city order barring job discrimination against homosexuals in charity groups receiving city funds. Nevertheless, the two agreed last month to collaborate on a book.

ARCHBISHOP JOHN QUINN--Since being named the archbishop of San Francisco in 1977, Quinn has been chosen for a number of important roles. He was elected to a three-year term in 1977 as president of the U.S. bishops conference. The Pope selected him in 1983 to head a study of the decline in numbers of priests and nuns. Born 58 years ago in Riverside, Quinn became a priest in the San Diego diocese where he taught 12 years in diocesan seminaries and was named an auxiliary bishop by Pope Paul VI. He was moved to Oklahoma City in 1972 and appointed archbishop there the next year. In 1981, Quinn was among the first U.S. bishops to publicly oppose the nuclear arms race.

ARCHBISHOP REMBERT G. WEAKLAND-- Archbishop of Milwaukee for the last 10 years, Weakland headed the worldwide Benedictine monks for the previous decade and as such is the most prominent U.S. bishop from a religious order. Weakland, 60, chaired the writing committee for the 1986 bishops' economic pastoral letter, a wide-ranging study that ranked with the earlier arms race and peace pastoral as an important step in the U.S. hierarchy's attempt to speak to moral issues in public life.

ARCHBISHOP JOHN MAY--The 65-year-old archbishop of St. Louis was elected last November as president of the U.S. bishops' conference after serving three years as its vice president. As president, the low-key prelate acts as spokesman for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops until late 1989. May was named archbishop of St. Louis in 1980, after previously receiving appointments as an auxiliary bishop in Chicago in 1967 and as bishop of Mobile, Ala., in 1969.

ARCHBISHOP DANIEL E. PILARCZYK--The 53-year-old archbishop of Cincinnati was elected vice president of the U.S. bishops conference last November and, if tradition is followed, will be elected president in 1989. Pilarczyk was an auxiliary bishop in Cincinnati for eight years under then-Archbishop Joseph Bernardin, whom he succeeded in 1982. Pilarczyk, considered middle-of-the-road, impressed fellow bishops at a June gathering with an address on the ordained ministry. He also chaired a committee that summer that recommended confirmation of Berkeley theologian Father Michael Buckley as the bishops' chief adviser on theology despite objections from some conservative bishops.


Cardinal Bernard F. Law of Boston, who lost the U.S. bishops' vice president post by a 159-116 vote to Pilarczyk but is a leading theological conservative in the hierarchy

Archbishop Anthony J. Bevilacqua of Pittsburgh, who has been mentioned often as a possible successor in Philadelphia to Cardinal John Krol, who has submitted his retirement-age resignation

Archbishop Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles, the active leader of the nation's most populous archdiocese for two years and added by the Pope, along with Bevilacqua, to the four-man American delegation to the October Synod of Bishops

Archbishop James A. Hickey, who heads the important Washington archdiocese

Bishop James W. Malone of Youngstown, Ohio, the immediate past president of the bishops' conference.

Archbishop Raymond G. Hunthausen of Seattle, who has withheld part of his income tax payments and engaged in protest demonstrations to reinforce his stances against the nuclear arms race

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