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Head Of U.S. Catholic Bishops: Church Is Not Fading

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Archbishop Timothy Dolan, of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, speaks at the conference's annual fall assembly in Baltimore, Monday, Nov. 14, 2011. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) | AP

BALTIMORE -- The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says the church should not be dismissed as an outmoded bureaucracy.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan says the church is a spiritual family that has much to teach the world.

Dolan is the archbishop of New York. He spoke Monday in Baltimore at the start of the national meeting of American Roman Catholic bishops.

Catholics are the largest religious group in the United States, with about 65 million members. Still, Dolan noted that studies have found significant numbers of Catholics are leaving as the country becomes less religious. The archbishop acknowledged the ideological divisions among Catholics, and he said bishops repent daily for their missteps.

But he says the church should not be defined by its problems.

The public meeting runs through Tuesday.

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