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President of U.S. Bishops' Conference Announces Effort That Will Involve Laity, Experts, and the Vatican as U.S. Bishops Resolve to Address "Moral Catastrophe"

WASHINGTON— Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has issued the following statement after a series of meetings with members of the USCCB's Executive Committee and other bishops. The following statement includes three goals and three principles, along with initial steps of a plan that will involve laity, experts, and the Vatican. A more developed plan will be presented to the full body of bishops at their general assembly meeting in Baltimore in November.

Cardinal DiNardo's full statement follows:

"Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Two weeks ago, I shared with you my sadness, anger, and shame over the recent revelations concerning Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. Those sentiments continue and are deepened in light of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report. We are faced with a spiritual crisis that requires not only spiritual conversion, but practical changes to avoid repeating the sins and failures of the past that are so evident in the recent report. Earlier this week, the USCCB Executive Committee met again and established an outline of these necessary changes.

The Executive Committee has established three goals: (1) an investigation into the questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick; (2) an opening of new and confidential channels for reporting complaints against bishops; and (3) advocacy for more effective resolution of future complaints. These goals will be pursued according to three criteria: proper independence, sufficient authority, and substantial leadership by laity.

We have already begun to develop a concrete plan for accomplishing these goals, relying upon consultation with experts, laity, and clergy, as well as the Vatican. We will present this plan to the full body of bishops in our November meeting.  In addition, I will travel to Rome to present these goals and criteria to the Holy See, and to urge further concrete steps based on them.

The overarching goal in all of this is stronger protections against predators in the Church and anyone who would conceal them, protections that will hold bishops to the highest standards of transparency and accountability.

Allow me to briefly elaborate on the goals and criteria that we have identified.

The first goal is a full investigation of questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick. These answers are necessary to prevent a recurrence, and so help to protect minors, seminarians, and others who are vulnerable in the future. We will therefore invite the Vatican to conduct an Apostolic Visitation to address these questions, in concert with a group of predominantly lay people identified for their expertise by members of the National Review Board and empowered to act.

The second goal is to make reporting of abuse and misconduct by bishops easier. Our 2002 "Statement of Episcopal Commitment" does not make clear what avenue victims themselves should follow in reporting abuse or other sexual misconduct by bishops. We need to update this document.  We also need to develop and widely promote reliable third-party reporting mechanisms. Such tools already exist in many dioceses and in the public sector and we are already examining specific options.

The third goal is to advocate for better procedures to resolve complaints against bishops. For example, the canonical procedures that follow a complaint will be studied with an eye toward concrete proposals to make them more prompt, fair, and transparent and to specify what constraints may be imposed on bishops at each stage of that process. 

We will pursue these goals according to three criteria.

The first criterion is genuine independence. Any mechanism for addressing any complaint against a bishop must be free from bias or undue influence by a bishop. Our structures must preclude bishops from deterring complaints against them, from hampering their investigation, or from skewing their resolution.

The second criterion relates to authority in the Church. Because only the Pope has authority to discipline or remove bishops, we will assure that our measures will both respect that authority and protect the vulnerable from the abuse of ecclesial power.

Our third criterion is substantial involvement of the laity. Lay people bring expertise in areas of investigation, law enforcement, psychology, and other relevant disciplines, and their presence reinforces our commitment to the first criterion of independence.

Finally, I apologize and humbly ask your forgiveness for what my brother bishops and I have done and failed to do. Whatever the details may turn out to be regarding Archbishop McCarrick or the many abuses in Pennsylvania (or anywhere else), we already know that one root cause is the failure of episcopal leadership. The result was that scores of beloved children of God were abandoned to face an abuse of power alone. This is a moral catastrophe. It is also part of this catastrophe that so many faithful priests who are pursuing holiness and serving with integrity are tainted by this failure. 

We firmly resolve, with the help of God's grace, never to repeat it. I have no illusions about the degree to which trust in the bishops has been damaged by these past sins and failures. It will take work to rebuild that trust. What I have outlined here is only the beginning; other steps will follow. I will keep you informed of our progress toward these goals.

Let me ask you to hold us to all of these resolutions. Let me also ask you to pray for us, that we will take this time to reflect, repent, and recommit ourselves to holiness of life and to conform our lives even more to Christ, the Good Shepherd."

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. Dinardo, Executive Committee, clergy sex abuse, Pennsylvania, grand jury report, Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, laity, experts, Vatican, transparency, accountability.

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


President of U.S. Bishops' Conference and Committee Chairman Response to Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report
WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is hosting a series of meetings this week responding to the broader issue of safe environments within the Church. An update will be offered upon their conclusion.

In response to today's Pennsylvania grand jury report, Cardinal DiNardo joins Bishop Timothy L. Doherty of Lafayette in Indiana, in issuing the following joint statement. Bishop Doherty is Chairman for the USCCB's Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The full statement follows:

"The report of the Pennsylvania grand jury again illustrates the pain of those who have been victims of the crime of sexual abuse by individual members of our clergy, and by those who shielded abusers and so facilitated an evil that continued for years or even decades. We are grateful for the courage of the people who aided the investigation by sharing their personal stories of abuse. As a body of bishops, we are shamed by and sorry for the sins and omissions by Catholic priests and Catholic bishops.

We are profoundly saddened each time we hear about the harm caused as a result of abuse, at the hands of a clergyman of any rank. The USCCB Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People and the office of the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection will continue to offer avenues to healing for those who have been abused. We are committed to work in determined ways so that such abuse cannot happen.

The Pennsylvania grand jury report covers a span of more than 70 years. In 2002 the U.S. Catholic bishops adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which commits us to respond promptly and compassionately to victims, report the abuse of minors, remove offenders and take ongoing action to prevent abuse. This Charter was revised and updated in 2011 and again in 2018. We pledge to maintain transparency and to provide for the permanent removal of offenders from ministry and to maintain safe environments for everyone.  All policies and procedures regarding training and background check requirements are made publicly available by dioceses and eparchies. 

We pray that all survivors of sexual abuse find healing, comfort and strength in God's loving presence as the Church pledges to continue to restore trust through accompaniment, communion, accountability and justice."             

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Bishop Timothy L. Doherty, Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection, Pennsylvania, Grand Jury Report, sexual abuse, clergyman, U.S. bishops, Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, prevention, accompaniment, accountability, justice.

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


Domestic Justice Chairman Welcomes Change in Catechism Calling for Abolition of the Death Penalty

WASHINGTON—Following the publication of the revised section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding the death penalty, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, welcomed the change and echoed the call to end the death penalty in the United States.

The full statement follows:

"Today, we welcome the Holy Father's decision to revise the Catechism and its explanation of the Church's teaching on the death penalty. All human beings are created in the image and likeness of God, and the dignity bestowed on them by the Creator cannot be extinguished, even by grave sin, such that all persons, from conception until natural death possess inalienable dignity and value that points to their origin as sons and daughters of God. The new section in the Catechism is consistent with the statements of Pope Francis' teaching on the death penalty, including his 2015 address to the U.S. Congress, as well as the statements of his predecessors.  Pope Benedict the XVI urged 'the attention of society's leaders to the need to make every effort to eliminate the death penalty,' and Pope St. John Paul II observed that 'Not even a murderer loses his personal dignity, and God himself pledges to guarantee this."

"For decades the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has called for the end of the death penalty in the United States.  As the revised Catechism states, 'more effective systems of detention…which ensure the due protection of citizens' exist, ones that also maintain the human dignity of all. It is our hope that today's announcement will bring new attention to this critical issue, and speed along the end of this practice, which, as Pope Francis has said in the light of the Gospel, is 'inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.'"

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Pope Francis, Catechism, death penalty, inalienable dignity, U.S. Congress, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope St. John Paul II

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


President of U.S. Bishops Conference Issues Statement on Course of Action Responding to Moral Failures on Part of Church Leaders

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued the following statement noting the steps the U.S. Bishops Conference will take in addressing the failures of the Church in protecting the people of God.   

Cardinal DiNardo's full statement follows:

"The accusations against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick reveal a grievous moral failure within the Church. They cause bishops anger, sadness, and shame; I know they do in me. They compel bishops to ask, as I do, what more could have been done to protect the People of God. Both the abuses themselves, and the fact that they have remained undisclosed for decades, have caused great harm to people's lives and represent grave moral failures of judgement on the part of Church leaders.

These failures raise serious questions. Why weren't these allegations of sins against chastity and human dignity disclosed when they were first brought to Church officials? Why wasn't this egregious situation addressed decades sooner and with justice? What must our seminaries do to protect the freedom to discern a priestly vocation without being subject to misuse of power?

Archbishop McCarrick will rightly face the judgement of a canonical process at the Holy See regarding the allegations against him, but there are also steps we should be taking as the Church here in the United States. Having prayed about this, I have convened the USCCB Executive Committee.  This meeting was the first of many among bishops that will extend into our Administrative Committee meeting in September and our General Assembly in November. All of these discussions will be oriented toward discerning the right course of action for the USCCB. This work will take some time but allow me to stress these four points immediately.

First, I encourage my brother bishops as they stand ready in our local dioceses to respond with compassion and justice to anyone who has been sexually abused or harassed by anyone in the Church. We should do whatever we can to accompany them.

Second, I would urge anyone who has experienced sexual assault or harassment by anyone in the Church to come forward. Where the incident may rise to the level of a crime, please also contact local law enforcement.

Third, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will pursue the many questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick's conduct to the full extent of its authority; and where that authority finds its limits, the Conference will advocate with those who do have the authority. One way or the other, we are determined to find the truth in this matter.

Finally, we bishops recognize that a spiritual conversion is needed as we seek to restore the right relationship among us and with the Lord. Our Church is suffering from a crisis of sexual morality. The way forward must involve learning from past sins.

Let us pray for God's wisdom and strength for renewal as we follow St. Paul's instruction: 'Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect' (Romans 12:2)."

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Keywords: Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, USCCB Executive Committee, Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, moral failure, seminaries, human dignity, canonical process, Holy See, General Assembly

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


Mary Pat Donoghue Named as Executive Director of the Secretariat of Catholic Education for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

WASHINGTON—Mary Pat Donoghue has been appointed as Executive Director of the Secretariat of Catholic Education for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Monsignor Brian Bransfield, USCCB Secretary General, made the appointment, which will take effect August 13, 2018.

Over her 28 years of service to Catholic education, Ms. Donoghue is perhaps best known for her tenure as Principal of St. Jerome Academy in Hyattsville, Maryland, where she led the effort to move the parish school from near failure to a now-thriving and growing institution.  Before then, she served as a Vice Principal and as a teacher in the classroom; since then, she has consulted nationwide with superintendents, pastors, and principals, sharing her experience in teacher formation and supervision, curriculum implementation, and financial stability, in conjunction with the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education.

"In all of her endeavors, Mary Pat has brought a strong enthusiasm for the special role of Catholic education in the evangelical mission of the Church," said Msgr. Bransfield. "I am grateful to her for accepting this important position in service to the bishops and to the Conference."

"I am humbled and honored to support the vital work of our bishops in the area of Catholic education," said Ms. Donoghue, "and to support diocesan leaders in fulfilling the Church's beautiful vision for the formation of our young people."

Mary Pat holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Maryland, and a Master's in Education Administration from Trinity University, Washington, D.C. A native of the Washington, DC area, Mary Pat currently resides in Silver Spring, MD.

For more information on the USCCB Secretariat of Catholic Education, please visit: http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/catholic-education/index.cfm.

If you would like a photo image of Ms. Donoghue, please contact media-relations@usccb.org. 

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Secretariat of Catholic Education, Mary Pat Donoghue, Monsignor Brian Bransfield, Catholic education

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


Pope Francis Names Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted As Apostolic Administrator of the Byzantine Eparchy of Phoenix

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has appointed the Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, as the Apostolic Administrator Sede Plena of the Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Catholic eparchy of Phoenix. Bishop Olmsted will also retain his current Office as Bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix.

The announcement was publicized in Washington on August 1, 2018 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.  

Bishop Olmsted has served as the fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix since December 20, 2003.

Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, Bishop Olmsted served as Bishop of Wichita, Kansas from 2001-2003, after being ordained Coadjutor Bishop on April 20, 1999. Before serving in Wichita, he served as the Rector and President of the Pontifical College Josephinum, a Catholic Seminary in Columbus, Ohio. Since 1974, Bishop Olmsted has been a member of the Jesus Caritas ­fraternity of priests. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb., July 2, 1973.

For 16 years, Bishop Olmsted lived in Rome, Italy, where he obtained a master's degree in theology and a doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontifical Gregorian University (1981) and worked more than nine years as an official in the Vatican Secretariat of State from 1979 to 1988.  During his time in Rome, he was also an assistant spiritual director at the Pontifical North American College.

Bishop Olmsted is currently a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

The Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Phoenix (formerly known as the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Van Nuys) is the Catholic eparchy (diocese) governing most Byzantine Ruthenian Catholics in the Western United States. The Eparchy's territorial jurisdiction consists of thirteen Western States. Currently, Holy Protection Eparchy of Phoenix has 19 parishes and one mission under its canonical jurisdiction.

The diocese of Phoenix, Arizona comprises 43,967 square miles. It has a total population of 4,734,036 people of which 1,188,243 or 25 percent, are Catholic.

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Keywords: Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, Holy Protection of Mary, Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Phoenix, Diocese of Phoenix, Byzantine Ruthenian Catholics.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200


President of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Statement on Cardinal Theodore McCarrick Resignation from College of Cardinals

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued the following statement upon Pope Francis's acceptance of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick's resignation from the College of Cardinals. Pope Francis has also imposed on Cardinal McCarrick, suspension a divinis and has directed him to observe a life of prayer and penance in seclusion until the completion of the canonical process.

Cardinal DiNardo's full statement follows:

"I thank the Holy Father for his leadership in taking this important step. It reflects the priority the Holy Father places on the need for protection and care for all our people and the way failures in this area affect the life of the Church in the United States."

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick from College of Cardinals

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, from the College of Cardinals.


Pope Francis has also imposed on Cardinal McCarrick suspension a divinis and directs him to observe a life of prayer and penance in seclusion until the completion of the canonical process.

 

The statement of this resignation and these stipulations was publicized in Rome on July 28, 2018.

 

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Keywords: Pope Francis, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archdiocese of Washington

 

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

 


National Religious Retirement Office Distributes $25 Million for Care of Elderly Catholic Sisters, Brothers, and Priests in Religious Orders

 WASHINGTON—In June, the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) distributed $25 million to 360 religious communities to aid in the care of senior members. The funds were made possible by the annual Retirement Fund for Religious collection, which benefits elderly Catholic sisters, brothers, and priests in religious orders. The most recent appeal raised just over $28 million and was held in a majority of U.S. Catholic parishes in December 2017.

In 1988, Catholic bishops of the United States launched the Retirement Fund for Religious to address the significant lack of retirement funding among religious communities. The NRRO coordinates the annual appeal and distributes the proceeds to eligible religious communities.

"Traditionally, women and men religious served for little to no pay," said Presentation Sister Stephanie Still, the NRRO's executive director. "Today, hundreds of religious communities lack sufficient retirement savings. Proceeds from the annual collection enable our office to distribute financial assistance that helps communities provide for aging members."

The funding disbursed in June is known as Direct Care Assistance and represents the bulk of financial support distributed by the NRRO. Religious communities combine this assistance with their own income and savings to help meet a wide range of expenses, including prescription medications and nursing care. Throughout the year, additional funding is allocated for religious communities with the greatest needs and for ongoing education in retirement planning and eldercare delivery. Roughly 94 percent of donations directly aid senior religious and their communities. The remainder are used for administration and promotion of the annual appeal.

"Our mission is to provide financial support and educational assistance that enable religious communities to meet eldercare needs while developing long-range retirement strategies," said Sister Still. "We are profoundly grateful to the donors across the nation whose generosity and prayers sustain these efforts."

The NRRO is sponsored by the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM), the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR), the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Visit https://retiredreligious.org to learn more.

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Keywords: National Religious Retirement Office, NRRO, retirement, eldercare, U.S. bishops, Sister Stephanie Still, USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Collection

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


President of U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Statement on 50th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae

WASHINGTON— In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Blessed Paul VI's papal encyclical, Humanae Vitae, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has issued the following statement. Originally published in 1968, Blessed Paul VI's letter promotes the whole human person in the context of marital love that respects both the spiritual and physical dimensions of man and woman, which is faithful, generous, and life-giving.

Cardinal DiNardo's full statement follows:

"Fifty years ago, today, Blessed Paul VI issued the Encyclical Humanae Vitae. In it, he reaffirmed the beautiful truth that a husband and wife are called to give themselves completely to each other. Marriage reflects the love of God, which is faithful, generous, and life-giving. Through their vocation, spouses cooperate with God by being open to new human life.

Blessed Paul VI, who bore the criticism of Humanae Vitae with charity and patience, courageously affirmed that when we love as God designed, we experience true freedom and joy. He has also been proven correct in his warnings about the consequences of ignoring the true meaning of married love.

On this anniversary, I encourage all to read and prayerfully reflect upon this Encyclical, and be open to the gift of its timeless truths.

We wait in joyful anticipation for the canonization of Paul VI in October."

For more information and resources on Humanae Vitae, please visit www.usccb.org/HV50.

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Blessed Paul VI, Humane Vitae, papal encyclical, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, 50th Anniversary, marriage, family, life-giving, canonization, human life, #HV50

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


Upcoming 2018 People of Life Awards to Recognize Extraordinary Lifetime Achievements

 WASHINGTON—The upcoming 2018 People of Life awards will recognize the extraordinary lifetime achievements of three inspiring individuals: an advocate for persons with disabilities, a diocesan priest involved in abortion healing ministry, and a leader in the effort to oppose assisted suicide.

The awards will be presented during the annual Diocesan Pro-Life Leadership Conference taking place July 29 to August 1 in Phoenix, Arizona. This year's award winners are Janice Benton, Monsignor Joseph Ranieri, and James J. Hanson (who will be recognized posthumously). Over 125 diocesan, state, and national Catholic pro-life leaders and guests from across the country will attend the event with the Most Reverend Thomas Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix, the Most Reverend Brendan Cahill, Bishop of Victoria, and the Most Reverend Eduardo Nevares, Auxiliary Bishop of Phoenix. Bishop Olmsted and Bishop Cahill serve on the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The People of Life award recognizes Catholics who have answered the call outlined by Pope Saint John Paul II in The Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae, 1995) by dedicating themselves to pro-life activities and promoting respect for the dignity of the human person. It is bestowed in honor of their significant and longtime contributions to the culture of life.

Even before beginning her nearly 15 years as the executive director of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD), Janice Benton had already spent 25 years in ministry and advocacy for and with persons with disabilities. Jan has been a prophetic voice in upholding the dignity of every human life, especially the marginalized and those at risk of neglect or assisted suicide.

Msgr. Joseph A. Ranieri is the Coordinator of Pastoral Care of Priests in the Archdiocese of Washington, where he has also served as parish priest, pastor, and in countless other roles throughout his 60 years of priesthood. Monsignor Ranieri assists his diocesan Project Rachel Ministry in many capacities. He is also an active member of the Project Rachel Ministry National Training Team for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Finally, the secretariat will honor James J. Hanson posthumously for his tireless efforts to oppose assisted suicide and for his own personal witness to the dignity of every human person, especially those facing a terminal illness. J.J. Hanson served as president of the Patients' Rights Action Fund, promoting measures that protect patients' civil rights and working against efforts to legalize assisted suicide.

The awardees join 31 other People of Life award recipients since the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities established the award in 2007. More information on previous recipients and on the People of Life campaign is available at www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/people-of-life/people-of-life-award.cfm

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, abortion, assisted suicide, People of Life, terminal illness, Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


U.S. Bishop Delegates Approved for Upcoming Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment
WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has ratified the members elected by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to represent the United States at the upcoming XV Ordinary General Assembly: Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment. The Synod will take place October 3-28.

The delegates are:

·         Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

·         Archbishop José H. Gomez, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Vice President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

·         Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth

·         Bishop Frank J. Caggiano, Diocese of Bridgeport, member of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.

·         Auxiliary Bishop Robert E. Barron, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis

·        Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, Archdiocese of Newark, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations

The XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops has been convened by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, along with the Vatican Synod Office. In preparation for this Synod, the USCCB and other episcopal conferences, as well as ecclesial movements, associations, and experts in the field, were consulted throughout 2017 on the topic of "young people, the faith, and vocational discernment." In addition, the Vatican collected responses from an online questionnaire aimed at youth and young adults conducted last year. In March 2018, over 300 young adult delegates gathered in Rome, where Pope Francis convened a pre-synod gathering to listen directly to the voice of young people from around the world. The gathering produced a Final Pre-Synodal document.

The Working Document ("Instrumentum Laboris") for the October Synod was released in late June 2018 and includes a summary of all the Synod consultations to date. It describes the purpose of the 2018 Synod of Bishops as an opportunity for the Church "to accompany all young people, without exception, towards the joy of love," realizing that "taking care of young people is not an optional task for the Church, but an integral part of her vocation and mission is history."

Cardinal Joseph Tobin, C.Ss.R., of Newark, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, and Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., of Philadelphia, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, welcomed the recent release of the Synod Working Document, saying:

"After a lively discussion with our brother bishops at the Spring 2018 General Assembly on the topic of the Synod, we are happy to receive this Instrumentum Laboris, and look forward to exploring how it sheds light on the pastoral challenges of United States. The 2018 Synod will powerfully renew the Catholic Church's engagement with youth and young adults, and provide a deeper understanding of vocational discernment."

The official Vatican website for the Synod, which is inclusive of the Pre-Synod gathering, is

http://www.synod2018.va/content/synod2018/en.html.

The official USCCB webpage for the Synod is www.usccb.org/synod-2018.

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, XV Ordinary General Assembly, Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment, 2018 Synod, Office for the Synod of Bishops, delegates, youth, young adults, pre-synod gathering, Instrumentum Laboris

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Announces New Book on Pope Francis’s Vision for the Permanent Diaconate

 WASHINGTON—  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is making available a new book titled, Pope Francis, Deacons: Servants of Charity.

Written through the eyes of a deacon, this study of the permanent diaconate discerns who deacons are in relation to the Church and the service that flows from their interior character as ordained ministers, preachers of the Word, and models of Christ. As deacons move along the path of charity, they herald the Good News of Jesus Christ in the world.

The narrative takes the reader through Pope Francis's vision for the permanent diaconate as ministers to the community of believers, in the service of Christ, their bishop, the poor, and the Body of Christ. This story additionally reviews the renewal of the permanent diaconate and significant magisterial teachings on the office of the diaconate. It looks at Pope Francis's words as bishop of Buenos Aires and his papal teachings, including his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium.

This beautiful narrative draws the reader into the sacred ministry of the diaconate and will inspire deacons, those thinking of becoming deacons, and all those drawn to the service of charity in the Church.

The USCCB has made the book available for order online at: https://store.usccb.org/deacons-servants-of-charity-p/7-583.htm

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, deacons, diaconate, Servants of Charity, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Evangelii Gaudium., Jesus Christ, Holy Father, Body of Christ

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

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Chairman of U.S Bishops’ Conference Committee on Pro-Life Activities Calls for National Prayer Effort That Every Human Being is Protected In Law And Welcomed in Life

 WASHINGTON— Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan, Archbishop of New York and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued a statement today inviting all people of good will to join in a prayer campaign that the change in the U.S. Supreme Court will move our nation closer to the day when every human being is protected in law and welcomed in life.

Cardinal Dolan's full statement follows:

"As soon as Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, pro-abortion groups began lobbying the U.S. Senate to reject any nominee who does not promise to endorse Roe v. Wade. While the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops does not support or oppose the confirmation of any presidential nominee, we can and should raise grave concerns about a confirmation process which is being grossly distorted by efforts to subject judicial nominees to a litmus test of support for Roe v. Wade. And we must pray.

Each Friday, from August 3 - September 28, 2018, I urge all people of good will to join me in prayer that this change in the U.S. Supreme Court will move our nation closer to the day when every human being is protected in law and welcomed in life. The USCCB Call to Prayer network will share prayers and educational resources and an invitation to fast on Fridays for this intention.

May Our Lady of Guadalupe intercede for the healing of our nation and our people from decades of abortion on demand."

Call to Prayer materials will be accessible at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/take-action-now/call-to-prayer/legal-protection-of-human-life.cfm. Those wishing to join this nine-week prayer effort can sign up at www.usccb.org/pray to participate in this and subsequent Call to Prayer initiatives via email or text message.

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200



U.S. Bishops Approved $1.4 million in Funding for Church in Africa for Pastoral Projects

WASHINGTON— The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Church in Africa has approved 54 grants totaling $1.4 million in funding to support dioceses and pastoral projects across the African continent.

Projects slated to receive funding through the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa include the following:

● In Lesotho, Radio Maria offers Christian educational programs designed to enrich the faith and improve the lives of its listeners. This grant will help Radio Maria to install three new transmitting stations, which will allow their programs to reach the entire Lesotho population.

● In Ghana, the Diocese of Wa's newly established Child Protection Office seeks to create a new culture where safeguarding children is the responsibility of all. This grant will support the diocese to organize training for the Diocesan and School Child Protection Teams, clergy, religious and pastoral agents. The workshops will convey information and create sensitivity on protection of children and vulnerable adults, promote creation of safe environments for children, offer skill development, and help the diocese develop policies, as well as liaise with government and civil society on child protection.

● In Rwanda, the Episcopal Conference continues to promote reconciliation and peace education following the genocide. This grant will allow the Conference to translate conflict prevention materials into the local language of Kinyarwanda to be used within Catholic schools across the country.

"Through the generous support of the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa, the Catholics of the United States show that we stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Africa and recognize their courageous commitment to peace, justice, reconciliation, and Christian hope throughout the continent," said Cardinal Joseph Tobin, CSsR, of Newark, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Church in Africa.

Additional areas of funding include seminarian and religious formation, evangelization, family ministries, and lay leadership training.

The Subcommittee on the Church in Africa oversees the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. It allocates revenue received from the Solidarity Fund, which is a voluntary collection, as pastoral grants to episcopal conferences and their regional associations in Africa. To learn more about the work of the Subcommittee visit www.usccb.org/africa.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Subcommittee on the Church in Africa, grants, training, pastoral care, Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


U.S. Bishops Provide Aid for Housing; Vulnerable People and Expanding Youth Ministries in Eastern Europe

 WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe approved $4.9 million in funding for 209 projects in 22 countries in Central and Eastern Europe at its meeting on June 12 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Projects approved for funding include:

● Refurbishment of St. Luke Social and Rehabilitation Center for children with cancer in Belarus. This Caritas-run facility in Minsk, Belarus, offers free lodging and psychological support to more than 50 poor families annually as their children undergo examination, treatment, and rehabilitation. This center is an important expression of how the Church, whose activities were previously forbidden, today continues to renew its capacity for social ministry and outreach to the poor.

● Expansion of a center for the homeless and the marginalized run by the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in Rijeka, Croatia. For many years the Sisters of Charity have worked on a voluntary basis to help the immediate needs of people experiencing homelessness in Rijeka, where many live among abandoned buildings in the city. This grant will help the Sisters of Charity continue their ministry to aid the homeless and marginalized at a full-day center, engaging volunteers and social workers in managing individual cases and so mobilizing the local church to address underlying issues of homelessness.

● Development of a leadership course for youth ministers in Romania. Since independence, the Archdiocese of Alba Iulia in Romania has been in the process of renewing pastoral work in more than 250 parishes. However, ministry to youth is still developing and, to date, only one-third of those parishes have youth activities. This grant will support a seven-week youth formation program to develop leadership skills and further develop youth programs for the Church in Romania.

● Support of summer camps for children and youth from families internally displaced by war in Ukraine. Since war broke in 2014 in the East of Ukraine, children of internally displaced persons and children of soldiers have been among those most affected psychologically by the events. This grant will allow Caritas Donetsk to conduct two summer camps for 100 affected children and youth, where they will have the opportunity to interact with each other and receive rehabilitation and spiritual care with the assistance of mental health professionals, priests, and volunteers.

"As the people of Central and Eastern Europe continue to build a new future after decades of repression, we are all inspired by the example of great hope they give to the world that it is possible to bring healing to the wounds of the past. We can take pride that our steadfast support makes a significant contribution to all their efforts in renewing their communities and passing on the faith of their ancestors to the next generation," said Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe.

Other projects approved by the Subcommittee include scholarships and formation for church leadership, church and pastoral center construction, Catholic education renewal and development, and evangelization programs. Grants approved by the Subcommittee support the Church in countries previously oppressed by communism.

Grants are funded by the annual Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe. The national date for this collection is Ash Wednesday, although dioceses may take it up on different dates. The Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe oversees the collection and an annual grant program as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. More information about the collection and who it supports can be found at www.usccb.org/ccee.

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Keywords: Central and Eastern Europe, youth, lay formation, Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, catechesis, grants, Cardinal Blasé Cupich.

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


Migration and Refugee Services of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Charities USA Lend Their Support to Catholic Charities Agencies Reuniting Families

 WASHINGTON—The Migration and Refugee Services of USCCB and Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) today issued the following statement on the ongoing efforts to reunite children separated from their families at the border.

"As we have long done, CCUSA and Migration and Refugee Services of USCCB are lending our experience and expertise to support Catholic Charities agencies in their efforts to reunite families and care for immigrant children during this sensitive time. While we strongly oppose the policies that led to these families being separated, we remain committed to working to ensure their safe reunification. Protection of families is a foundational element of Catholic Social Teaching and this moment calls on all people of good will to lend a hand to reunite these children with their parents."

To learn more about how you can help visit: Justice for Immigrants and Catholic Charities USA

About USCCB Migration and Refugee Services

Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) fulfills the commitment of the U.S. Catholic bishops to protect the life and dignity of the human person. For more than 50 years, MRS has served and advocated for refugees, asylees, migrants, unaccompanied children, and victims of human trafficking. To learn more about MRS, please visit www.usccb.org/mrs.

About Catholic Charities USA             

Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) is the national office for the Catholic Charities ministry nationwide. CCUSA's members provide help and create hope to more than 8 million people a year regardless of religious, social, or economic backgrounds. To learn more about CCUSA, please visit our website at www.catholiccharitiesusa.org.


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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Migration and Refugee Services, MRS, Catholic Charities USA, CCUSA, Justice for Inmigrants.

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Media Contacts:

USCCB Contact: Mark Priceman            CCUSA Contact: Patricia Cole 

MPriceman@usccb.org                              pcole@catholiccharitiesusa.org

202-541-3064                                               703-236-6218


Lucas Koach Named as Director of the Office of International Justice and Peace for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

 WASHINGTON—Lucas Koach has been appointed as Director of the Office of International Justice and Peace for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Monsignor Brian Bransfield, USCCB Secretary General, made the appointment, which will take effect July 30, 2018.

Mr. Koach brings over 20 years of experience in Christian ministry and global humanitarian public policy. Since 2011, he has served as the Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for Food for the Hungry. Along with extensive interaction with the US Congress and administrative branch, he has participated in multilateral agency policy forums at the UN and the World Bank and has gained a reputation as a respected coalition builder. He serves on the Board of the Accord network, an association of 90 US-based Christian relief and development organizations and also the board of the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities, which elevates the relief and development capacities of international faith-based organizations among multilateral institutions.

Mr. Koach is a convert to Catholicism, having served many years prior as an associate pastor in the Anglican Church in Florida and Arkansas.

"Mr. Koach brings the kind of experience, relationships, knowledge and managerial acumen necessary for a position of such breadth," said Msgr. Bransfield. "We look forward to working with him on the major international issues that are so important to the Church and the world."

Lucas Koach graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1992. He earned his Master of Arts in Counseling Ministries from the Denver Seminary in 2002. 

For more information on the USCCB Office of International Justice and Peace, please visit: http://www.usccb.org/about/international-justice-and-peace/ 

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Office of International Justice and Peace, Lucas Koach, Msgr. Brian Bransfield

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


Pope Francis Names Bishop Oscar Cantú as Coadjutor Bishop of San Jose

 WASHINGTON— Pope Francis has appointed the Most Reverend Oscar Cantú as Coadjutor Bishop of San Jose, California. Bishop Cantú was up until now Bishop of Las Cruces, New Mexico.

The appointment was publicized in Washington on July 11, 2018, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.

Bishop Cantú was born in Houston on December 5, 1966. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Dallas, and received his Masters in Divinity and Masters in Theological Studies from the University of St. Thomas, also in Houston. He also attended the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he earned his Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) as well as his Doctorate in Sacred Theology (S.T.D.). Bishop Cantú was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Houston in 1994.

He spent his priestly career working in parishes throughout the Houston metropolitan area. His first assignment was as parochial vicar at St. Christopher Parish. He also taught at the University of St. Thomas and at St. Mary's Seminary. He served as pastor at Holy Name Parish. He was involved in the Christian Family movement; conducted retreats and worked with the Engaged Encounter ministry. Bishop Cantú was also involved in The Metropolitan Organization (TMO) that addresses social issues in the community.

Bishop Cantú was appointed and then ordained Auxiliary Bishop of San Antonio and Titular Bishop of Dardano in 2008. In 2013, Bishop Cantú was appointed as bishop of the Diocese of Las Cruces, NM. He was installed as bishop on February 28, 2013.

Bishop Oscar Cantú is the former Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace. He is currently a member of the USCCB Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America and Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs.

Most Rev. Cantú was one of two delegates chosen by the Bishops' Conference to represent the USCCB at Pope Francis' visit to Mexico in 2016.

The Diocese of San Jose is comprised of 1,300 square miles in the state of California and has a total population of 1,918,044 of which 620,000 or 32.32 percent are Catholic.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio, Bishop Oscar Cantú, Diocese of San Jose, Las Cruces.

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

 


U.S. Bishops Conference Chairman of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs Statement on the Death of Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, Vatican Diplomat and Expert in Interfaith Relations

 WASHINGTON— The Cardinal who announced the election of Pope Francis to the world in 2013 with the famous phrase "habemus papam (we have a pope)," has died. Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, has issued the following statement on behalf of the bishops of the United States who mourn the loss of Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran. Cardinal Tauran passed away on July 5th at the age of 75.  He had been suffering from Parkinson's disease. 

Bishop Bambera's statement follows:

"Ordained a priest in 1969, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran led a distinguished life in service to the Church. In 1975, he entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See and served as Vatican ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Lebanon.  In 1988, he was named undersecretary for the Section for Relations with States in the Secretariat of State and in 1991 Pope John Paul II appointed him an archbishop. In the years that followed, he represented the Holy See in numerous international conferences. In 2007, he was named President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. 

In this new role, Cardinal Tauran made a great impact on Catholic relations with non-Christian religions, most especially in convening interreligious coalitions to address the pressing questions of culture and society. He was especially tireless in his work to build relations with the Muslim community.   

For those involved in interreligious dialogue, his death is a great loss. An important part of his legacy remains his commitment to interfaith understanding and cooperation in service to Christ and the Church. May he rest in peace." 

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera,  Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Announces Encountering Christ in Harmony: A Pastoral Response to Our Asian and Pacific Island Brothers and Sisters

 WASHINGTON—The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is publishing a new document, Encountering Christ in Harmony: A Pastoral Response to Our Asian and Pacific Island Brothers and Sisters. The full text is available on the USCCB website at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/cultural-diversity/asian-pacific-islander/upload/asian-and-pacific-island-pastoral-response-encountering-christ-in-harmony-2018.pdf .

Approved by the U.S. bishops during their Spring 2018 General Assembly, the pastoral response will guide the Catholic Church in the United States in addressing the pastoral needs of Asian and Pacific Island communities and provide a framework for dioceses and parishes for creating their pastoral plans or actions specific to their circumstances.

The Asian and Pacific Island population in the United States is the fastest growing minority population according to research referenced in the document. Yet, this population "tends to go unrecognized in the wider US society, and there remains a need to bring more attention and support to the Asian and Pacific Island communities," the bishops say in the pastoral response.

Encountering Christ in Harmony aims to: (a) advance the Church's mission of evangelization to specific cultural groups; (b) assist dioceses, parish leaders, other Catholic entities, and the faithful in pastoral outreach to Asian and Pacific Island Catholics; and (c) provide resources and information about Asian and Pacific Island Catholic communities.

The printed version of the document will be available at the USCCB online store (https://store.usccb.org/) at a later date.

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Keywords:  United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, pastoral response, Encountering Christ in Harmony: A Pastoral Response to Our Asian and Pacific Island Brothers and Sisters, Asian and Pacific Island communities. evangelization.

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Judy Keane

O: 202-541-3200


President of U.S. Bishops’ Conference to Senate: Support for Roe v. Wade Should Not Be Used as a Litmus Test for Judicial Nominees

 WASHINGTON— Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), wrote to the members of the Senate on July 6, urging them not to use support for Roe v. Wade as a litmus test for judicial nominees in their deliberations about the upcoming vacancy on the Supreme Court of the United States.

The letter makes clear that the USCCB "does not support or oppose confirmation of particular presidential nominees." Instead, the letter expresses "grave concerns about the confirmation process…being grossly distorted by efforts to subject judicial nominees to a litmus test in support of Roe, as though nominees who oppose the purposeful taking of innocent human life are somehow unfit for judicial office in the United States."

"By any measure," the Cardinal says, "support for Roe is an impoverished standard for assessing judicial ability. For forty-five years, Roe has sparked more informed criticism and public resistance than any other court decision of the late 20th century."

The letter points to decades of polling showing that most Americans oppose Roe's policy of unlimited abortion, to a growing number of state legislatures passing pro-life laws, to mainstream medicine rejecting abortion, and to many legal scholars who support abortion who have criticized Roe for not being grounded in the U.S. Constitution.

"If a Supreme Court ruling was wrongly decided, is widely rejected as morally flawed and socially harmful, and is seen even by many supporters as having little basis in the Constitution, these are very good reasons not to use it as a litmus test for future judges. Further, a nominees' faith should not be used as a proxy for their views on Roe. Any religious test for public office is both unjust and unconstitutional."

The full text of Cardinal DiNardo's letter to the Senate is posted at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/abortion/upload/usccb-president-letter-to-senate-on-judicial-nominees-070618.pdf

For more on the U.S. Bishops' pro-life efforts, including information on Roe v. Wade, visit: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/abortion/roe-v-wade.cfm 

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Pope Francis Appoints Reverends Ronald Hicks, Robert Casey and Mark Bartosic as Auxiliary Bishops of Archdiocese of Chicago; Accepts Resignation of Auxiliary Bishops George Rassas and Francis Kane
WASHINGTON— Pope Francis has appointed Reverends Ronald Hicks, Robert Casey and Mark Bartosic as auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Chicago and has accepted the resignations of the Most Reverends George Rassas and Francis Kane from the Office of Auxiliary Bishops of the same archdiocese. Bishops Rassas and Kane have reached the retirement age for bishops of 75.

The resignations and appointments were publicized in Washington on July 3, 2018, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Reverend Ronald Hicks was born in Chicago, IL, on August 4, 1967. He is a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago and is currently serving as Vicar General.

Father Hicks graduated from Quigley Seminary South in 1985 and four years later received his B.A. in philosophy from Niles College of Loyola University in Chicago in 1989. He also received his master of divinity degree in 1994 and his doctor of ministry degree in 2003, both from the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, IL. He was ordained a priest on May 21, 1994 for the Archdiocese of Chicago.

As a priest, Father Hicks worked as associate pastor at Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Chicago from 1994 to 1996 and then at St. Elizabeth Seton Parish in Orland Hills, IL, from 1996 to 1999. From 1999-2005, he lived and ministered at St. Joseph College Seminary as the Dean of Formation.

In July 2005 with permission from Francis Cardinal George, Father Hicks moved to El Salvador to begin his five-year term as Regional Director of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH) in Central America. NPH is a home dedicated to caring for over 3,400 orphaned and abandoned children in nine different countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

From 2010-2014, Father Hicks served as the Dean of Formation at Mundelein Seminary. During that time, he also assisted with Masses on the weekend at St. Jerome Parish in Rogers Park.

Fr. Hicks was appointed vicar general of the Archdiocese of Chicago by Cardinal Cupich on January l, 2015.1t has been his practice to celebrate Mass in a different parish in the Archdiocese each weekend.

Reverend Robert G. Casey was born in Chicago, Il, on September 23, 1967. He is a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago and currently serving as pastor of St. Bede the Venerable Church in Chicago.

Reverend Casey received his B.A. in English from Niles College of Loyola University Chicago in 1989. He received his master of divinity degree in 1994 from the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, IL. He was ordained a priest in 1994 for the Archdiocese of Chicago.

As a priest, Father Casey was first assigned in 1994 as associate pastor to St. Ita Parish in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood. In 1998, Cardinal George appointed Fr. Casey as the associate director of Casa Jesus while serving in his last year at St. Ita. In 1999, Fr. Casey began his work with Casa Jesus as its full-time director.

In 2003, after completing a 40-day pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, Fr. Casey began his service as pastor of Our Lady of Tepeyac in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago. In 2008, Fr. Casey co-founded Taller de José, a sponsored ministry of the Congregation of St. Joseph that offers accompaniment to people in need.

In 2009, Fr. Casey became the pastor at St. Barbara Parish in Brookfield, IL. In 2016, Fr. Casey became the pastor of St. Bede the Venerable Parish in Chicago's Scottsdale neighborhood.

Fr. Casey currently serves on the Placement Board of the Archdiocese of Chicago, assisting with the assignment process of priests to parishes. He has also been part of the Priest Steering Committee for Renew My Church.

Reverend Mark Bartosic was born in Neehah, Wisconsin, on June 21, 196. He is a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago and is currently serving as pastor of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Chicago and director/chaplain of Kolbe House, Cook County Jail.

He was raised in Ashland, Ohio and attended St. Edward School and public schools. In 1983 he received a bachelor of arts degree in theater from Ashland University. He earned both a master of divinity degree in 1994 and a licentiate in Sacred Theology in 2001 from the University of St. Mary of the Lake.

He was ordained a priest by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin on May 21, 1994 at Holy Name Cathedral. His first assignment was as associate pastor of St. Agnes of Bohemia from 1994-2000. From 2001-2016 he served as pastor of St. Frances of Rome, and from 2009-2016 as pastor of Our Lady of Charity while maintaining his responsibilities as pastor at St. Frances of Rome. Since 2016 he has served as pastor of Assumption BVM and director of the Kolbe House Jail Ministry.

Bishop George Rassas was born on May 26, 1942 in Baltimore, MD. He graduated from Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary (1961) in Chicago, and then attended Niles College and the University of St. Mary of the Lake, from where he obtained a bachelor's degree in philosophy. After serving as a deacon at St. Thaddeus Church in Chicago for a year, he was ordained to the priesthood by John Cardinal Cody on May 2, 1968. He earned a master's degree in counseling psychology from Loyola University in 1974 and a doctorate in pastoral theology from St. Mary of the Lake in 1984. Rassas was pastor of the Church of St. Mary in Lake Forest from 1990 to 2004, during which time he also served as chairman of the Archdiocesan Presbyteral Council from 1999 to 2002. In 2004, he became vicar general of the Archdiocese of Chicago. On December 1, 2005, Rassas was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago and Titular Bishop of Reperi by Pope Benedict XVI.

Bishop Francis Kane was born on October 30, 1942 in Chicago and was ordained to the priesthood by John Cardinal Cody at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary on May 14, 1969.

He then served as associate pastor at St. John Fisher Parish until 1975, and was also named associate director of Center for Pastoral Ministry in 1973. He was associate pastor at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Parish from 1975 to 1979, and director of the Office for the Ministry of Peace and Justice (1979-1985) and of the Office of Evangelization and Christian Life (1983-1993). He was director of Catholic Relief Services from 1982 to 1987. From 1993 to his appointment as auxiliary bishop in 2003, Kane served as pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Wilmette. On January 24, 2003, Kane was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago and Titular Bishop of Sault Sainte Marie by Pope John Paul II. As an auxiliary bishop, Kane also serves as Episcopal Vicar for Vicariate II, and the Cardinal's liaison for the Annual Catholic Appeal and for the Office for Lay Ecclesial Ministry.

The Archdiocese of Chicago is comprised of 1,411 square miles in the state of Illinois and has a total population of 5,943,689 of which 2,199,000 or 37 percent are Catholic.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop Ronald Hicks, Bishop Robert Casey, Bishop Mark Bartosic, Bishop George Rassas, Bishop Francis Kane, Archdiocese of Chicago.

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200



PRESS CONFERENCE ADVISORY: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Delegation Visiting Diocese of Brownsville; Press Conference Immediately Following

WASHINGTON—On Monday, July 2, a delegation of bishops led by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, plan to meet with U.S. government officials and members of the Catholic community as part of a full day of visits with a focus on family unity. Immediately following the engagements, the bishops will hold a press conference to offer their reflections. The press conference will be held at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle – National Shrine. It will also be livestreamed on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7BNmQhJyMU.

The delegation of visiting bishops includes:

  • Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • Archbishop José H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles, Vice President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of the Diocese of Scranton
  • Bishop Daniel E. Flores, Bishop of the Diocese of Brownsville
  • Bishop Robert J. Brennan, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre
  • Bishop Mario Alberto Avilés, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Brownsville

On Sunday July 1, the bishops visited the Humanitarian Respite Center at Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, a short term hospitality center that serves families who have been processed by the Department of Homeland Security with immediate medical assistance, food, clothing and information about complying with immigration proceedings. The bishops also celebrated a Mass at the Basilica in San Juan.

WHAT:  Press Conference with U.S. Bishops Visiting Delegation on Family Separation

WHEN: Monday, July 2, 6pm CDT

WHERE: Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle.  – National Shrine at the Eugene De Mazenod Renewal Center – Conference Room


400 N Virgen de San Juan Blvd
San Juan, TX 78589

Please park on the south side of the Basilica parking lot.

Pre-registration for the press conference is required. Please contact:

Judy Keane
Director, Office of Public Affairs 
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
jkeane@usccb.org/202-541-3206

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Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Auxiliary Bishop Dominick Lagonegro of Archdiocese of New York

 WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend Dominick Lagonegro as Auxiliary Bishop of Archdiocese of New York. Bishop Lagonegro has reached the retirement age for bishops of 75.

The resignation was publicized in Washington on July 2, 2018, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Most Reverend Dominick Lagonegro was born on March 6, 1943 in White Plains, NY. He was ordained a priest at St. Patrick's Cathedral on May 31, 1969.

Since his ordination in 1969, Bishop Lagonegro was appointed to various parishes throughout the northern counties of New York and served on many commissions and committees throughout his ministry. In 1997, Bishop Lagonegro was appointed Vicar for the Vicariate of Dutchess County and on December 12, 2001 he was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of New York and Titular Bishop of Modruš.

The Archdiocese of New York is comprised of 4,683 square miles in the state of New York and has a total population of 5,904,416 of which 2,656,987 or 45 percent are Catholic.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop Dominick Lagonegro, Archdiocese of New York.

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200