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USCCB Chairmen Issue Statement on Supreme Court Cases Upholding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program

WASHINGTON— Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, of Austin and Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Migration, commented on three cases argued before the Supreme Court today – Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of University of California; McAleenan, Secretary of Homeland Security v. Vidal; Trump, President of U.S. v. NAACP. These cases challenge whether decisions in the lower court to repeal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) were lawful.

On October 4, the USCCB, with other Catholic and evangelical partners, filed an amicus curiae brief in the cases. The brief argues that rescinding DACA without considering crucial facts underlying the program irreparably harms hundreds of thousands of families by placing them at imminent risk of separation, which violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and is thus unlawful.

Bishop Joe S. Vásquez offered the following statement on the hearing:

“DACA youth are leaders in our parishes and significant contributors to our economy and communities. They are hard-working young people who know the United States as their only home. We continue to urge Congress and the President to work together to find a permanent legislative solution to the plight of all DREAMers, including DACA beneficiaries. In the meantime, ending DACA would disrupt DACA recipients’ continued contributions and integration to our country and could needlessly separate them from their families. Not allowing these young people to continue to utilize DACA to reach their God-given potential is against the common good and our nation’s history of welcoming the immigrant.”

USCCB’s amicus curiae brief in these consolidated cases is available at: http://www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/amicus-briefs/upload/2019-10-04-FINAL-DACA-brief.pdf.

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Keywords: USCCB, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA, Dreamers, President Trump, Department of Homeland Security.

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Chieko Noguchi and Miguel Guilarte
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Pro Life Committee Chairman Invites Bishops to Join Initiative Serving Pregnant and Parenting Mothers in Need

BALTIMORE - Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, of Kansas City in Kansas, and Chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, addressed the body of bishops at the annual November plenary meeting of bishops about the need for improved pastoral responses to women facing unexpected or challenging pregnancies.  

“The challenges can be immense for women in difficult or unplanned pregnancies. 75% of women who choose abortion are low income,” said Archbishop Naumann. “Pregnant and parenting moms in need are in our parishes and our neighborhoods. Women facing challenging pregnancies should see the Church as a place where they can find help, especially with its myriad of social services and organizations dedicated to meeting the needs of people in crisis,” he continued.

In his invitation to the bishops, Archbishop Naumann shared that well over 150,000 low-income mothers deliver their babies at Catholic hospitals each year, and many tens of thousands of pregnant and parenting moms are helped each year through Catholic Charities programs and other help agencies. In addition, thousands of pregnancy care centers staffed by many Catholic volunteers.
Nevertheless, the archbishop noted that there are “gaps,” and “while many pregnancy help resources are appropriately coordinated at the diocesan or regional level, moms in need are best reached at the local level.”

“We have well over 17,000 parishes in the United States. Each parish is best able to identify the local pregnancy help resources that are currently available and to identify potential gaps that need to be addressed. The parish community is uniquely positioned to encourage a collaboration of resources at the local level and to increase awareness of help available to mothers and families in need,” Archbishop Naumann explained.

To this end, Archbishop Naumann asked the bishops present to invite their parishes to join a nationwide effort from March 25, 2020 to March 25, 2021 entitled: “Walking with Moms in Need: A Year of Service.”

This Year of Service will coincide with the 25th anniversary of Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), a landmark encyclical by Pope John Paul II. The Pro-Life Committee is developing educational, pastoral, and action-oriented resources for parish use, including reflections on the teachings of Evangelium Vitae, Evangelii Gaudium, and Laudato Si; prayers for building a culture of life; tools for documenting an inventory of local resources for pregnant mothers in need; and ideas and support for improving parish responses.

More information about the initiative can be found at www.usccb.org/moms-in-need

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Keywords: Pro-Life, Secretariat of Pro-Life, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Walking with Moms in Need

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

U.S. Bishops Convene for Annual General Assembly in Baltimore

BALTIMORE - The Catholic bishops of the United States convened their Fall General Assembly in Baltimore this morning. The meeting began with remarks by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States. Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops delivered his last address as president of the Conference.

The bishops meet November 11-13 for their annual plenary in Baltimore. Public sessions of general assembly discussions and votes will be available via livestream at: http://www.usccb.org/live.  

News updates, vote totals, texts of addresses and presentations and other materials will be posted to www.usccb.org/meetings as soon as possible.

Those wishing to follow the meeting on social media can use the hashtag #USCCB19 and follow on Twitter (@USCCB) as well as on Facebook (www.facebook.com/usccb) and Instagram (https://instagram.com/usccb).

Live stream and satellite feed will run Monday, November 11, Tuesday, November 12, and Wednesday, November 13, while the assembly is in session.

Broadcast media outlets interested in taking the meeting's satellite feed should contact the public affairs office to request coordinates.

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Keywords: USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Fall General Assembly, November meeting, Baltimore, #USCCB19.

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte  
202-541-3200

 

USCCB Statement on Wounded Shepherd, Recently-Published Book

WASHINGTON - James Rogers, Chief Communications Officer for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued the following statement today in response to Wounded Shepherd.

“Austen Ivereigh’s new book, Wounded Shepherd, perpetuates an unfortunate and inaccurate myth that the Holy Father finds resistance among the leadership and staff of the U.S. Bishops Conference. The author disparages the General Secretary and a consultant to the Committee on Canonical Affairs particularly by suggesting they drew up documents in October that were then deliberately excluded from Rome. This is false and misleading.

In August, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo began convening bishops for consultations on measures to strengthen the already effective protection program enacted through the Dallas Charter. By early September, those consultations had crystalized in the form of drafts emerging under the direction of the Executive Committee and with the collaboration of the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, and the Committee on Child and Youth Protection, supported by the Secretariat of Doctrine and the Office of General Counsel.

It was intended that the proposals stop short of where the authority of the Holy See began. For example, like the Charter before it, the lay commission was based on the voluntary participation of bishops, compiling substantial reports of abuse to be delivered directly to the Apostolic Nuncio in the United States with due regard to civilly mandated reporting laws. While informal consultations with the Holy See took place in October, it was envisioned that the Holy See would have an opportunity to review and offer adjustments only on those drafts benefiting from the input of the full body of U.S. bishops, recognizing that substantial amendments could yet take place.

Cardinal DiNardo’s decision to delay the vote on these proposals in November of 2018 is a clear sign of his and his brother bishops’ collaboration with and obedience to the Holy Father. When Pope Francis announced the new universal Church law establishing a worldwide program of protection, Cardinal DiNardo strongly supported the measures and moved quickly to ensure the Conference’s proposals would be both ready for votes in June of this year and would be complementary to the Holy Father’s own program. The June agenda moved forward without the objection of the Holy See. Because of the decisive actions of Pope Francis and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Church is a safer place for children and adults in vulnerable situations.”

 

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

 

Ana Chavarin Is Winner of 2019 CCHD Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award

WASHINGTON— The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) is the anti-poverty program of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Each year, CCHD honors an individual between the age of 18 and 40 who demonstrates leadership in fighting poverty and injustice in the United States through community-based solutions with the Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award.

Ana Chavarin has been named as the recipient of the 2019 Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award; she will be honored at a reception Monday, November 11, during the bishops’ annual General Assembly in Baltimore. Ana is a young immigrant mother who experienced a deepening of faith and discovery of her leadership abilities to help transform her community through work with CCHD-funded group Pima County Interfaith. Now interim lead organizer with that same group, she has spent the last several years mobilizing migrant families and faith communities to impact the issues that affect them. Ana played a lead role in a campaign to increase community safety and address drug abuse. Recently, Ana led numerous sessions with immigration attorneys on the issue of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), rights of the undocumented, and how to become a citizen. She has helped hundreds of undocumented immigrants obtain power of attorney letters to protect their children and property in case they are detained or deported.

“Ana's Catholic faith motivates and inspires her role as a parent, faith community member, and leader in the wide range of social outreach initiatives in which she participates,” said Sister Leonette Kochan, OSF, the former director of the Office of Human Life and Dignity in the Diocese of Tucson. “Her courageous determination and the support of others found expression in her life of service to others, especially in programs that empower the lives of others. As a person who faces economic struggles as a single parent of four children, Ana also leads by example in balancing family life with work, while pursuing a college degree.”

The award, bestowed annually, is named for the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who served as archbishop of Chicago from 1982 till his death in 1996. Cardinal Bernardin served as the first general secretary of the U.S. bishops’ conference from 1968-1972, and as the conference’s third president from 1974-1977. More information about the award is available online: www.usccb.org/about/catholic-campaign-for-human-development/cardinal-bernardin-new-leadership-award.cfm.

Ana’s remarks will be available at www.togoforth.org on November 11, following the award reception.

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Keywords: USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award, 2019 General Assembly, Baltimore, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, CCHD

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

National Collection to Help Break the Cycle of Poverty to Take Place on November 23-24

WASHINGTON— For nearly 50 years, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) has been the official domestic anti-poverty program of the Catholic bishops in the United States. Raising public awareness about poverty, its causes, and working to break the cycle in the U.S., the annual collection is coordinated nationally by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to be held in parishes the weekend of November 23-24.

More than 38 million people live in poverty in the United States. This collection assists community leaders who work to expand access to affordable housing, health care, and education. The collection also supports the development of worker-owned businesses, and advocates for changes to structures that keep people in poverty.

In his statement for this year’s commemoration of the World Day of the Poor, Pope Francis said, “The situation of the poor obliges us not to keep our distance from the body of the Lord, who suffers in them. Instead, we are called to touch his flesh and to be personally committed in offering a service that is an authentic form of evangelization.”

“The Catholic Campaign for Human Development draws us close to our brothers and sisters in Christ and works to address the root causes of poverty in the United States,” said Bishop David P. Talley of Memphis and chairman of the CCHD Subcommittee of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. “In doing so, we uphold the dignity of those who live in poverty and empower them through dialogue and solidarity.”  

This national collection is the primary source of funding for CCHD’s community and economic development grants, as well as its education programs aimed at raising awareness of poverty and fostering hope in communities across the nation. Twenty-five percent of funds collected remain in each diocese to support local anti-poverty projects. Facts about poverty and success stories from groups supported through the annual CCHD collection may be found by visiting: https://povertyusa.org.

CCHD’s annual report provides a presentation of the use of collection funds and the scope of its reach and impact along with the CCHD newsletter “Helping People Help Themselves”. Parish resources for the collection may be accessed on the CCHD’s resource webpage.

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, CCHD, Bishop David P. Talley, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, poverty

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

Bishop Chairmen Commend Administration Action to Prevent Government Discrimination Against Faith-based Adoption, Foster Care, and Social Service Providers

WASHINGTON—Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, Chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, and Bishop Robert J. McManus of Worcester, Chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, have issued a statement commending a proposed rule change that will help ensure faith-based social service providers will not be excluded from certain federally-funded programs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Their joint statement follows:

“We commend the Administration for acting to change a 2016 regulation that threatened to shut out faith-based social service providers, namely adoption and foster care agencies that respect a child’s right to a mother and a father. To restrict faith-based organizations’ work by infringing on religious freedom – as the 2016 rule threatened to do - is unfair and serves no one, especially the children in need of these services. We are alarmed and saddened that state and local government agencies in multiple jurisdictions have already succeeded in shutting down Catholic adoption and foster care agencies as a result of their Catholic beliefs. At a time when over 400,000 children are in foster care, we need to take steps to increase – not decrease – their opportunities to be placed with safe and loving families. We welcome today’s proposed rule modifications and look forward to reviewing and commenting on them further.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Bishop James D. Conley, Bishop Robert J. McManus, Department of Health and Human Services, Trump Administration, civil rights laws, White House, discrimination, convictions, religious liberty, marriage, adoption, foster care

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

USCCB Launches National Civility Effort through 2020 Election

WASHINGTON - One year ahead of the 2020 national elections, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is launching a year-long initiative that invites Catholics to model civility, love for neighbor, and respectful dialogue. Civilize It: Dignity Beyond the Debate will ask Catholics to pledge civility, clarity, and compassion in their families, communities, and parishes, and call on others to do the same.  

The initiative, which many dioceses are launching in parishes this weekend (November 2-3), is built on the recognition that every person—even those with whom we disagree—is a beloved child of God who possesses inherent dignity. Supporting materials for the initiative include ideas to help Catholics and others of good will to engage in and model respect and compassion, as well as resource materials to assist in the effort. Civilize It is the invitation to imitate the example of Jesus in our daily lives, including in our encounters with one another through civil dialogue.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane, of Venice, and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development emphasized the importance of Civilize It in the context of the current divisive climate:

“Conversation in the public square is all too often filled with personal attacks and words that assume the worst about those with whom we disagree. We are in need of healing in our families, communities, and country. Civilize It: Dignity Beyond the Debate is a call for Catholics to honor the human dignity of each person they encounter, whether it is online, at the dinner table, or in the pews next to them. I invite all Catholics to participate in Civilize It. In doing so, they can bear witness to a better way, approach conversations with civility, clarity, and compassion, and invite others to do the same.”

Civilize It builds on a similar effort implemented in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in previous election years. It is being offered in concert with a wider ecumenical effort, Golden Rule 2020, which invites all Christians to model our shared values of dignity and civility and pursue dialogue instead of division.

Together with the USCCB, dioceses around the country are being called to utilize Civilize It to help Catholics put our faith in action by honoring human dignity through civil conversation this upcoming election year. Resource materials supporting the initiative include: a pledge to civility that can be taken by individuals and communities; resources for prayer and reflection including a pastoral aid and prayer for civility; tips for civil dialogue; and more. More information on the initiative as well as promotional materials, resources, and other tools may be found on CivilizeIt.org.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Civilize It: Dignity Beyond the Debate,

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

USCCB Pro-Life Chairman Urges Congress to Support Dignity for Aborted Children Act Legislation calls for dignified treatment of human remains

WASHINGTON - On October 31, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities sent a letter to Members of Congress supporting S. 2590 and HR 4934, the Dignity for Aborted Children Act. In the letter, Archbishop Naumann cited the recent discovery of careless retention of fetal remains in the state of Illinois by a recently deceased abortion doctor, as well as other instances of shameful and disrespectful disposal of bodies discarded in toilets or cardboard medical waste boxes.

Such actions make “people on both sides of the abortion debate uncomfortable, sad, angry,” he said, and that this is not surprising, given every culture and religious tradition has customs and practices surrounding how to care for and dispose of the dead. “For Catholics, the Church has long taught that 'the human body shares in the dignity of ‘the image of God’,’ that our bodies are a reminder of the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and of that resurrection, which we too will experience after death, and burying the dead is taught as one of the seven corporal works of mercy.”

“Other faiths and belief systems likewise promote dignified treatment of the deceased and respectful disposal of their remains,” he continued, and health regulations, ethical guidance for medicine and science, trauma and emergency response, and religious and moral belief all point towards the need for a society to respectfully dispose of each human body. He urged Members of Congress to support the Dignity for Aborted Children Act, saying, “Whether you support or oppose legalized abortion, I hope you will agree that these human bodies should not be wantonly discarded as medical waste or preserved at the whim of the abortion doctor. Such basic courtesy is in keeping with society’s treatment of all other deceased persons including cadavers, donated organs and tissues, remains that are recovered after traumatic incidents, and so on. As a nation, we can at least come together to ensure all human remains are treated with basic human dignity.”

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Committee for Pro-Life Activities, Pro-Life, Dignity for Aborted Children Act  

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

USCCB Chairman of Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development Issues Statement of Concern Regarding the Fires in California

WASHINGTON- Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, issued the following statement regarding the wildfires in California:

“I join in the heartfelt prayers offered by the bishops in the state of California in response to the terrible wildfires that have affected approximately thirty counties in that state. The faithful of our nation are urged to support, through their petitions and concern, the efforts at extinguishment and recovery taking place throughout California in response to these fires. It is in solidarity with our brother bishops in California, who have voiced their desire for prompt relief, that I encourage all appropriate public parties and the faithful to be generous in their financial support of these recovery efforts. Let us all pray for the safety of those affected and their property.”

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, California fires
 
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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200